Africa, the continent housing mobile money’s biggest success stories, has reached the half a billion mobile subscriber mark, according to the latest annual GSMA mobile economy report on the region.
“At the end of 2015, 46% of the population in Africa subscribed to mobile services, equivalent to more than half a billion people. The region’s three dominant markets – Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa – together accounted for around a third of the region’s total subscriber base”
Despite slowing subscriber growth rates that look to converge with the global average, recent events suggest that the African mobile money ecosystem is set to expand and diversify.
The M-PESA model in Kenya has continued to grow with recent development into Tanzania, a country with an already impressive mobile money count transacted each month, while mobile credit services are also gaining popularity, as KCB-MPESA reports this month that around 18% of Kenyans are borrowing between SH 25-30 million daily. The Bank of Ghana not long ago authorised the payment of interest on mobile money deposits across the country, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved 11 international money transfer operators to enable remittance channels in and out of Nigeria.
Other key findings from the GSMA 2016 Mobile Economy report:
- Over the next five years, an additional 168 million people will be connected by mobile services across Africa, reaching 725 million unique subscribers by 2020.
- Mobile internet adoption in Africa continues to grow rapidly; the number of mobile internet subscribers tripled in the last five years to 300 million by the end of 2015, with an additional 250 million expected by 2020.
- The mobile ecosystem has added more than $150 billion in economic value to the African economy
Image: Michael Pollak/flickr.com