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Nigeria, Others Lead Mobile Money Adoption Rate Across Sub-Saharan Africa

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Mobile Money adoption on the rise in Sub-Saharan African

CEM REPORT, FINANCE | Mobile money has become a powerful tool for financial inclusion and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), according to a recent report by the GSMA, the global association for mobile network operators. The region boasts the highest mobile money adoption rates globally, solidifying its position as a leader in this innovative financial technology.

Surging Growth in West Africa

The report, titled “The State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money (2024),” highlights the significant growth of mobile money in West Africa. Since 2013, the number of registered mobile money accounts in the region has doubled, fueled primarily by the success stories of Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal. This surge has positioned Sub-Saharan Africa as the central hub for mobile money, holding nearly three-quarters of all registered accounts worldwide.

“Mobile money is often considered an African success story, and in many ways, it is,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA. “Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest levels of mobile money adoption in the world.”

Massive Transaction Volumes and Economic Impact

The report paints a clear picture of the immense scale of mobile money transactions in SSA. As of 2024, a staggering 1.75 billion registered accounts process a mind-boggling $1.4 trillion annually, translating to roughly $2.7 million in transactions every minute.

Breaking down these figures geographically, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for a whopping $912 billion of the global transaction value in 2023, with West Africa contributing a significant $347 billion. While East Africa remains the region’s largest mobile money market with a transaction value of $488 billion, West Africa’s rapid growth is undeniable.

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The impact of mobile money extends far beyond just transaction volume. The GSMA report estimates that mobile money contributed a staggering $600 billion to the GDP of countries with active mobile money services between 2012 and 2022. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, mobile money is estimated to have increased GDP by more than $150 billion or 3.7% between 2013 and 2022.

“Today, millions of users are making or receiving payments, taking out productive credit to meet short-term financing needs, paying for government services or accessing savings and insurance products to protect themselves from shocks,” Granryd elaborated.

Overcoming Pandemic Challenges and Agent Network Growth

The report acknowledges the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mobile money industry. However, it highlights a positive trend: transaction values and volumes surpassed pre-pandemic forecasts in 2021, indicating a resilient and recovering market.

The growth of mobile money has also led to a surge in mobile agents, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. As of 2023, the region boasts a staggering 18.6 million registered agents, with 8.3 million actively facilitating transactions. These agents play a vital role in bridging the digital divide, acting as crucial access points for individuals who may not have smartphones or internet connectivity. According to GSMA, mobile agents were responsible for digitizing over two-thirds of all funds entering the mobile money ecosystem in 2023, processing a staggering $307 billion – a 12% increase from the previous year.

Nigeria: A Case Study in Mobile Money Inclusion

The rise of mobile money penetration is closely linked to improved financial inclusion and access to digitally enabled services in countries like Nigeria. The GSMA report indicates a positive correlation between the emergence of more mobile money providers and the growth of digital payment usage in the nation.

Looking Forward

The mobile money landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa is a dynamic and thriving ecosystem. With continued innovation, agent network expansion, and an increasing focus on financial inclusion, mobile money is poised to play an even greater role in driving economic growth and empowering millions of people across the continent.

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