and large fees encumber transactions. Instead, she makes frequent trips to the bank.
“I plan my life well,” she says. “When I need money, I go withdraw and carry out my transactions. [I] don’t have to carry large sums of money on me.”
In rural areas, a large part of the population is unbanked because they distrust electronic services or their communities lack available structures, Nkwi says. Some remote villages don’t have banks or even electricity, which means workers who collect their pay in larger towns nave no choice but to keep cash.
“At the end of the month they travel to towns and collect their salaries from these banks,” Nkwi says. “When they travel back to their villages, where there are no banks or even electricity to run cashless bank services, they have to keep this cash at home, which makes them vulnerable to thieves.”
Nkwi says that the government, private banks and financial institutions must work with the public to ensure money security, not just from thieves, but also from ants, weevils and rain. They should also provide financial services in rural areas, including ATMs, checks and, in the future, credit cards.
“These services should also consider the needs of our rural populations,” he says.
Some business professionals have started to use money wire transfers, the police official says.
But Nkwi says a cashless economy won’t replace certain aspects of Cameroon culture.
“For example, no one pays dowry – bride price – with a check,” he says. “People want to touch and feel the cash. For basic cultural necessities, physical cash will still be needed.”