The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) will lead consumers and traders in the country in celebrating this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) on Tuesday 15th March, under the theme “Fair Digital Finance”. The theme, which is also this year’s international theme, highlights the growing importance of digital finance.
According to Consumers’ International, digital technologies are reshaping payments, lending, insurance, and wealth management everywhere, and becoming a key enabler for consumers of financial services.
Digital financial services and financial technology have driven significant changes across the world:
- By 2024, digital banking consumers are expected to exceed 3.6 billion (Juniper Research, 2020).
- In the developing world, the proportion of account owners sending and receiving payments digitally has grown from 57% in 2014 to 70% in 2017 (Findex 2017).
- 39% of companies are making Fintech adoption a high priority, highlighting the worldwide demand for a more innovative financial landscape (JDSpura, 2020).
Although there has been considerable increase in the access to digital finance, consumers in the country are still experiencing a number of challenges on the market. These include high transaction costs, fraud and financial scams, service downtime, and information asymmetries between consumers and service providers.
During the week beginning 14th March, 2022, the CFTC will conduct a number of activities aimed at raising awareness about consumer rights specifically on digital finance. The activities will include radio programmes, market inspections, consumer surgeries, and road shows. The activities will also include consumer surgeries where consumers and traders will be able to lodge complaints to the Commission.
On 24th March, CFTC will hold the main event in Mchinji which will start with a consumers’ and traders’ parade from Mchinji Puma Filling Station, to Mchinji Police Station and thereafter, to Bua Primary School Ground where the main sensitisation event will be held.
Main speakers will be officials from the CFTC, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Reserve Bank of Malawi, COMESA Competition Commission and Mchinji Town Council.
The WCRD falls on 15th March every year and is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. Participants observe the day by promoting the basic rights of all consumers and demanding that those rights are respected and protected.
Historically, on March 15, 1962, President John F. Kennedy presented a speech to the United States Congress in which he extolled four basic consumer rights, later called the Consumer Bill of Rights. The United Nations through the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection expanded these to eight rights, and thereafter Consumers International adopted these rights as a charter and started recognising March 15 as World Consumer Rights Day.
ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR