Blog: Advans Côte d’Ivoire launches its third-party agent network in rural areas

At end of October 2019, Advans Côte d’Ivoire launched Advans Point, its third-party agent network in rural areas, allowing its clients to make banking transactions close to their businesses or homes. The institution began by putting in place a pilot program with five Advans Points in partner cocoa cooperatives, located in the country’s eastern region with the objective of creating 20 active points by the end of 2020. The latest Advans Point was inaugurated in June 2020 in Hermankono Garo, close to the city of Divo.

Advans’ commitment to financial inclusion

Lead by the Agricultural and Rural Digital Financial Inclusion team, this project aims at reinforcing financial inclusion in rural areas by facilitating the access of cocoa farmers and other clients to their Advans accounts, as well as promoting the digitalisation of payments in the cocoa ecosystem. The Advans Point project is part of the subsidiary’s long-standing commitment in these areas, catered towards cocoa producers and cooperatives, through loans and other dedicated financial services.

A tailored customer experience

In order to respond to the specific needs of rural clients and create tailor made solutions, a field study with cocoa farmers and cooperatives was conducted prior to Advans Point’s launch. Cocoa cooperatives were specifically chosen for the project due to their proximity and relationship of trust with clients. In return, cooperatives also see significant benefits in offering this service for the increased attractiveness of the cooperative, the enhanced financial inclusion for farmers and securing cash through the digitalisation of payments. In Advans Point, our customers can make deposits, withdrawals, transfers and check their account balance, assisted by the third-party agents. In order to perform this service, our third-party agents rely on a dedicated USSD menu, accessible even in areas with limited connectivity.

Encouraging pilot results

Three months into launching the first 5 Advans Points, the team carried out a 360 assessment. The results confirmed producers and cooperatives’ interest in the service with nearly 500 deposits made per month. Furthermore, 70% of farmers said that they save more thanks to Advans Point, with 98% of producers surveyed very satisfied with the service.

Deployment and strengthening of the omni-channel

Following these promising results, expansion of our third-party agent network in rural areas continues: more than 20 Advans Points are planned by the end of 2020. This new channel is part of Advans Côte d'Ivoire's omni-channel approach, complementary to its 18 branches, third-party agent network Advans Proxi, the Mobilité service allowing transfers with Mobile Money accounts, and the USSD banking Mobilité service for consulting balances, transfers and access to emergency credit. This model is part of the Advans Group's high-tech high-touch strategy, where digital and physical channels complement each other, based on customers' needs and profiles. The early successes of Advans Point, designed to promote financial inclusion in rural areas, demonstrate the merits of this approach.

Our blogger: Ekaterina Diakonova, Alternative Distribution Channels Expert, Advans Group

Ekaterina Diakonova joined Advans in 2018 as Alternative Distribution Channels Expert. Her focus areas include omni-channel strategy, monitoring and support of the Advans’ subsidiaries in the implementation of local initiatives.