Africa drives mobile money with 277 mn users and 1.5 mn agents

Africa Mobile money account adoption
Sub-Saharan Africa had 277 million mobile money accounts and 1.5 million agents in 2016, said mobile money report prepared by GSMA.

Though mobile money users have been concentrated in East Africa, home to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the latest data suggests that user growth is being driven by other markets in the region, notably West Africa.

Almost 29 per cent of active mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa are now based in West Africa, compared to 8 percent five years earlier.
Africa mobile money accountsThe number of live mobile money schemes in the region had reached 140 across 39 countries at the end of last year, accounting for more than half of the 277 mobile money deployments worldwide.

The new study points to a decade of growth in mobile money services in the region following the launch of M-Pesa in Kenya in 2007. There are now seven markets in the region where more than 40 per cent of adults are active mobile money users: Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Africa mobile money adoption“Mobile operators in the region today are using mobile money to create new financial ecosystems that can deliver a range of innovative new services across multiple industry sectors, including utilities and agriculture,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA.

Mobile money market in Africa has evolved from primarily being used to top-up airtime and make person-to-person (P2P) transfers to becoming a platform that enables additional financial services, including bill payments, merchant payments and international remittances.

The volume of these new types of ‘ecosystem payments’ almost quadrupled between 2014 and 2016 and now accounts for about 17 per cent of all mobile money transactions, driven by a significant rise in the number of mobile-based bill payments.