farmer selling produce at a street market Unsplash photo by Alex Hudson

Cash-In / Cash-Out for Rural Agent Networks

What have we learned so far about building viable agent networks in rural areas?

CGAP identified global principles for building viable agent networks in rural areas. We then dug deeper into specific markets that had seen growth in agent networks to better understand how the principles had been applied.

Explore the full set of resources below to learn more.

Putting principles into practice for stronger agent networks

Global evidence shows that emerging agent network business models are improving agent viability in remote areas home to many of the world's poor, financially excluded populations. CGAP analysis has distilled six principles for achieving greater CICO network quality and reach in rural areas, home to many of the world's financially excluded populations.

Based on an analysis of the emerging agent network business  models, this Technical Guide details the six

principles for effective cash-in/cash-out agent networks at the last mile and highlights examples of where they are being applied throughout the world.

Digital financial services providers, policy makers, and regulators will find concrete recommendations for putting these principles into practice to advance financial inclusion.


Typical rural CICO agent network development journeys

Rural agent networks typically expand through three use cases: person-to-person payments, government-to-person payments, or e-commerce transactions.

3 journeys of agent networks


To understand how policy makers, regulators, and providers have expanded rural agent networks and to validate the principles identified, CGAP and its partners studied five financial markets: China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, and Kenya. Each of these countries has significantly expanded its rural agent networks despite very different contexts.

The optimal journey for a country depends on context, but the cross-country experience reveals common policy and regulatory levers. Policy makers and regulators should consider which of the three journeys is closest to their own context, and whether the policy and regulatory levers used in these journeys apply to them.

CGAP's Focus Note reveals the three distinct journeys country stakeholders have taken to extend the reach and quality of rural agent networks.

For further detail, view the detailed country analysis slide decks that provide the detailed analysis which served as the basis for the Focus Note. 

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Collaborator highlight

BCG logo

BCG has launched a research initiative to fully understand the role of cash-in/ cash-out services in advancing financial inclusion. Based on assessments in 9 countries, the initiative clarifies the size of the CICO coverage gap, the economics of CICO networks and proposes possible interventions that could enable the establishment of new CICO networks. For more information see here.

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