Africa continues to dominate world mobile money trade


AFRICA is projected to maintain its impressive streak as the global leader in mobile money services, a result of the steady adoption of no-contact payments and more recently the fear of contracting COVID-19, according to a report by the Global System for Mobile Communications, or GSMA.

In 2020, Africa made up more than half of the total live mobile money services globally, recording 548 million mobile money wallets, of the total 1.2 billion registered accounts globally. Out of 310 live mobile money services, 157 operate in Africa, representing 50.7% of the world total, according to the latest report by GSMA, the custodian of mobile network operators worldwide.

In the period under review, money transactions in Africa grew by volume at 15 percent and by value at 23 percent, representing a staggering 490 billion US dollars.

Growth in 2020 spiked worldwide as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed more and more people into the mobile economy.

“In 2020, the number of registered accounts grew by 12.7 per cent globally to 1.21 billion accounts – double the forecasted growth rate,” according to the GSMA report.

Growth in Africa, however, was not only due to COVID-19.

“Apart from changes in consumer behaviour, this impressive uptake was due to regulators implementing more flexible Know Your Customer (KYC) processes and relaxing on-boarding requirements to make it easier to open an account.”

GSMA Director General Mats Granryd, GSMA said the COVID-19 pandemic gave mobile money penetration new impetus as people pursued cashless ways to pay for food and other life essentials. As more consumers became apprehensive about handling cash, many turned to mobile money to purchase food, clothing, and other essential goods and services.

Meanwhile, GSMA forecasts the value of global mobile money transactions to hit 1 trillion US dollars from the current 700 billion US dollars, by 2023, with the bulk of those transactions happening in Africa.


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