By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. March 7, 2013: The recent Global Mobile Money Adoption survey conducted by the GSM Association (GSMA) has indicated that Africa is leading the way in uptake of mobile money services across the globe as figure showed there are now more mobile money accounts than banks in several countries across the continent.
The GSMA report analyses the state of the mobile money industry in 2012 and illustrates key findings from the programme’s Mobile Money Deployment Tracker, a database that monitors the number of live and planned mobile money services for the unbanked across the globe.
The report reveals that Africa has more mobile money agents outlets than banks branches in at least 28 countries.
With over 520,000 registered agent outlets, there are now as many mobile mobile money sites as Western Union points of sale, says the report which underscores rapid growth underway in the sector.
There are 56.9 million registered customers in sub-Saharan Africa and in June 2012, there were twice as many mobile money users as Facebook users in the region, the study shows.
In terms of geographical spread, more than half of all countries in sub-Saharan Africa have live deployments and 37 per cent of the 166 mobile networks operators in the region have already launched mobile money service.
Furthermore, the study shows that the total value of mobile money transactions is worth a significant proportion of some countries’ overall wealth which is equivalent to more than 60 per cent of GDP in Kenya last June; more than 30 per cent in Tanzania and 20 per cent in Uganda.
Information obtained within the report gives an interesting insight into the contribution of mobile money to financial inclusion globally revealing the number of active customer accounts is now growing rapidly. This is a positive sign indicating that customers are realising benefits from mobile money services.
According to GSMA, mobile money services are available in 34 of the 47 countries in the region and penetration will continue to grow in the region since majority of planned deployments are also in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to evidence from 78 mobile money deployments in 49 countries, 30 million people carried out more than 224 million handset-based transactions worth $4.6 billion during the month of June 2012 alone.
This exceeds the 196.3 million transactions performed by customers of electronic payments giant PayPal on average each month during the third quarter of last year.
The study shows that the mobile money industry is growing at an unparalleled rate driven largely by the developing world. There are 150 live services for the unbanked, 41 of which were launched in 2012. In addition, the industry is also becoming competitive with 40 markets now having at least two different services available.
The report also identifies six services with more than one million active customer accounts, three of which passed the milestone in the last 12 months.
Chris Locke, MD, GSMA mobile for development, says that, “as the mobile money industry is maturing, we can expect to see both the social and financial benefits of mobile money increase and will continue to track this fantastic progress.”
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide with footprints across more than 220 countries, the industry group unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.
They include handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities.