Forty percent of adults in 7 African countries now have active mobile money accounts

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Mobile money in Africa has grown over the past decade to having 40% of the continent’s adult population owning an active mobile money account.

This is according to the latest GSMA ‘State of Mobile Money in Sub-Saharan Africa’ report released this week pointing to a decade of growth in mobile money services in the region following the launch of M-Pesa in Kenya in 2007.

The report highlights that Sub–Saharan Africa contributes to more than half of all mobile money services worldwide and that the number of active mobile money organisations operations in the region had reached 140 across 39 countries by the end of 2016, accounting to more than half of the 277 mobile money programs across the globe.

In Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, 40% of adults have an active mobile money account.

“Mobile money is now achieving mass-market adoption in all corners of Sub-Saharan Africa, enabling millions of people to access financial services for the first time and contributing to economic growth and social development,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “Mobile operators in the region today are using it to create new financial ecosystems that can deliver a range of innovative new services across multiple industry sectors, including utilities and agriculture.”

Most users have historically been concentrated in East Africa, home to major mobile money markets such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. However, the latest data suggests that user growth is now being driven by other markets in the region, notably West Africa. Almost 29% of active accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa are now based in West Africa, compared to just 8% five years earlier.

Sub-Saharan Africa also happens to have the smallest mobile money gender gap in the developing world at 19.5%, compared with other developing regions.

To download the latest ‘State of Mobile Money in Sub-Saharan Africa’ presentation, please visit the GSMA website.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Radarmax]