The GSM Association has released a state of the industry report under the umbrella of the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme. The report tracks the progress of the mobile money industry each year and provides historical context. This year’s report indicates some interesting information on the success of mobile money in Africa.

Globally, the industry is growing and expanding across more regions. At the beginning of 2014, nine markets already had more mobile money accounts than bank accounts compared to just four markets a year before. At the end of 2013, mobile money was available in most developing and emerging markets with the majority of services remaining in Sub‐Saharan Africa. In this region, mobile money is available in 36 out of the 47 countries that make up the region; this could be easily estimated at a 77 percent penetration.

Kenya is a household name as far as mobile money is concerned but the success of mobile money in Africa transcends Kenya. In Tanzania, for instance, 90 percent of the population had access to mobile financial services by September, 2013 all the way from 1 percent in 2008. 43 percent of the adult population was actively using the service in September, 2013. According to the report, the National Bank in Tanzania played a key role in working with mobile operators to expand mobile financial services.

Mobile Money has proven to be a veritable driver of Financial Inclusion in Africa as it extends access to payments and financial services beyond the reach of traditional financial institutions. As more mobile financial services develop, service providers will be able to deepen financial inclusion by offering financial services beyond mobile money transfer and payment. Such emerging mobile financial services include mobile insurance, mobile credit and savings.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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