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AfricaMoney | August 20, 2017

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Sub-Saharan Africa’s share in mobile money services dips in 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa’s share in mobile money services dips in 2013

At the end of 2013, 52% of active mobile money services were in Sub-Saharan Africa, following a decreasing trend – in 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa represented 56% and in 2011 it represented 58%. (Image: Stimson)

The percentage of active mobile money services in Sub-Saharan Africa will fall below 50% in 2014, according to the latest report on mobile money by the GSMA.

At the end of 2013, 52% of active mobile money services were in Sub-Saharan Africa, following a decreasing trend – in 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa represented 56% and in 2011 it represented 58%.

For a long time, Sub-Saharan Africa led the industry, with the vast majority of deployments, success stories, and best practices coming from the region, says the report, titled ‘Mobile Money for the Unbanked.’

Today this is changing, and innovative regional models are beginning to emerge from other pockets of the world such as Latin America.

Accordingly, mobile money has significantly expanded outside of Sub-Saharan Africa in 2013 with a majority of planned deployments being outside the region such as in Latin America where there are 19 planned mobile money launches.

Globally, the number of active mobile money users continues to grow rapidly each year, and, according to the latest GSMA report, there are more than 61 million accounts active in June 2013 compared to 37 million in June 2012.

With 219 services in 84 countries at the end of 2013, mobile money is now accessible in most developing and emerging markets.

Mobile money is becoming a mainstream product for a growing number of operators and 52 global markets have two or more mobile money services, thus intensifying competition.

“We will continue to track these tremendous developments and work with mobile operators and the broader ecosystem to expand the scope of services available and to extend services to more of the world’s population,” said Tom Philips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA.

The aim of the GSMA Mobile Money for the Unbanked Programme (MMU) is to share key findings and insights on the growth of the mobile financial service industry.

For the first time, the scope of the report has been extended to include mobile insurance, mobile credit and mobile savings together with mobile money.

Mobile money covers product offerings such as P2P transfer, bill payment, bulk payment, merchant payment, international remittance, airtime top-up, cash-in and cash-out.

Of these, the study shows that airtime top-up and P2P transfer remained the most extensively offered and used products in 2013.

As for the merchant payment and bulk payment, they are now offered by over 60% of service providers while another 30% are planning to add them to their product mix next year.

Bulk payment is the fastest growing product with transaction volumes increasing at a 617% annualized growth rate in 2013.

Mobile money allows people to make payments and gives access to financial services to those marginalized sections that lie beyond the reach of traditional financial institutions in many developing countries.

The report stated that at the end of 2013, nine markets already had more mobile money accounts than bank accounts in comparison to the last four years.

According to the report, over 53,000 merchants and 16,000 companies are using mobile money as a platform to accept and make payments.

From collected data on the gender of mobile money users, women in developing markets are an important potential customer base for mobile financial service providers because they are seen as active household financial managers.

As mobile money is clearly becoming a very important service for a growing number of providers, 70% of providers are planning to increase their investments in mobile money in 2014.

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