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African Mobile Payment Landscape Report


African mobile payment landscape report
Mobile money is increasingly seen as the core facilitator of payments in Africa

Mobile payments have become increasingly popular in Africa, where traditional banking systems are limited and often inaccessible to many people. Mobile payments allow individuals to transfer money, pay bills, and make purchases using their mobile phones, making financial services more accessible and affordable to a wider population. This report aims to provide an overview of the current status of mobile payments in Africa, including trends, challenges, and opportunities.


Trends in Mobile Payments

Mobile payments have been rapidly adopted in Africa in recent years, driven by the growth of mobile technology and the need for affordable and accessible financial services. According to a report by GSMA, the global trade association for mobile operators, there were over 481 million mobile money accounts in Africa at the end of 2020, representing a 12% increase from the previous year. This growth is expected to continue, with the number of mobile money accounts projected to reach 623 million by 2025.


One of the key drivers of mobile payments in Africa is the widespread use of feature phones, which are affordable and accessible to many people. In countries like Kenya, where mobile payments have been particularly successful, feature phones account for the majority of mobile phone usage. Mobile payments are also often used to pay for everyday expenses like groceries, utilities, and transportation, which makes them an essential part of daily life for many people.


Another trend in mobile payments in Africa is the adoption of digital wallets, which allow users to store and manage their money using their mobile phones. Digital wallets are particularly popular in countries like Nigeria and South Africa, where they are used for a wide range of transactions, including online shopping, bill payments, and money transfers.


Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the growth of mobile payments in Africa, there are still a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to fully realize the potential of this technology. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of interoperability between different mobile money systems, which can make it difficult for users to transfer money between different providers. This is particularly problematic in countries like Ghana and Tanzania, where multiple mobile money providers operate but do not necessarily allow cross-platform transactions.


Another challenge is the lack of regulatory frameworks to govern mobile payments. In many countries, mobile money providers are not subject to the same regulations as traditional banks, which can make it difficult to ensure that they are providing safe and reliable services. This is particularly problematic in countries like Somalia, where mobile money providers have been accused of facilitating money laundering and terrorist financing.


Despite these challenges, there are also significant opportunities for mobile payments in Africa. One of the biggest opportunities is the potential to reach the unbanked population, which represents a significant market for financial services. According to a report by the World Bank, over 60% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to formal financial services, creating a significant opportunity for mobile payments providers to fill this gap.


Another opportunity is the potential for mobile payments to drive financial inclusion and economic growth. By providing access to financial services, mobile payments can help individuals and small businesses to save money, invest in their future, and grow their businesses. This can, in turn, contribute to the overall economic development of African countries.


Conclusion

Mobile payments have become an essential part of daily life for many people in Africa, providing affordable and accessible financial services to millions of individuals. While there are still challenges to be addressed, such as interoperability and regulation, there are also significant opportunities for mobile payments providers to expand their services and reach new markets. With the continued growth of mobile technology and the increasing demand for financial services, mobile payments are likely to play an increasingly important role in the economic development of Africa in the years to come.


Looking to tap the rapidly growing African market? Get in touch today.


References:

GSMA. (2021). State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2021. https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment

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