Africa’s mobile money industry is on an upward swing according to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) in its report: State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2023. The GSMA is an association representing the interests of mobile operators and the broader mobile industry worldwide.
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Mobile money is now considered a mainstream financial service in many countries including those in Africa influenced majorly by challenges of COVID-19 which limited physical contact and made mobile money a reliable option to millions of people.
The report notes that digital transactions are increasing as the use of
cash slows down. Transaction values grew by 22% between
2021 and 2022, from $1 trillion to around $1.26 trillion globally
During the same period, Africa’s mobile money industry processed USD 836.5 billion in transactions, a 22% increase year-on-year, the GSMA report notes.
Global daily transaction values are exceeding predictions, says the GSMA.
“In 2020, global daily transaction values exceeded $2 billion. The State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2021 (covering data from 2020) suggested this could reach $3 billion a day by the end of 2022. This figure has been surpassed, with $3.45 billion transacted daily via mobile money in 2022.”
East Africa still leads the region’s mobile money industry ramping up on its 2021 record of accounting for mobile money transactions in excess of USD 403.4bn and registered mobile money accounts in excess of 296m in the same period where total value of mobile money transactions in entire Sub-Saharan Africa was USD 697.7bn
The increase in transaction value, number of registered accounts and deployments observed across Africa as well as other parts of the globe significantly exceed industry expectations, GSMA notes in its State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2023.
The report shows the volume of transactions processed in Africa in 2022 stood at 44.9 billion, representing a 21% increase from the previous year, while the number of registered accounts grew from 648.23 million in 2021 to 781 million in 2022.
The East Africa sub-region leads with a transaction value of $491.8 billion, West Africa follows with $277 billion, before Central Africa $57.6 billion, Southern Africa $5.3 billion and North Africa $4.7 billion.
According to Statista quoting quoting Petroc Taylor , “mobile money is undergoing rapid growth in Africa, driven by improved access to technology, difficulties accessing traditional financial services and an increase in contactless payments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Provided by telecommunication companies and supported by a network of licensed agents, mobile money services allow registered users to deposit cash into a virtual wallet, and use those funds for payments and purchases, including peer-to-peer (P2P) payments.”Mobile money has become big business for telecommunication providers in Africa. Approximately 144 mobile money providers operate in Sub-Saharan Africa, with two companies such as, M-Pesa, MoMo and Orange Money accounting for a significant share of the market.
M-Pesa, managed by Vodafone and Safaricom and operating in seven countries, has seen significant growth in recent years. The service attracted an additional 12 million users from 2017 to 2020, reaching 41.5 million users by 2020. M-Pesa users made 12.2 billion transactions in 2020, generating 784.36 million U.S. dollars in revenue for parent company Safaricom. MoMo – MTN Group’s mobile money offering – has enjoyed similar growth, reaching 35.1 million active customers in March 2020.
The effect of underbanking on the use of mobile money can be seen in Southern Africa, where banking services are easier to access. Mobile money has gained less of a foothold in that region, suggesting that unless another solution to financial exclusion in parts of Africa is discovered, that the use of mobile money in Africa is set to grow well into the future.