• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Mobile money: Telcos lead as Nigeria, others processed $490bn

Mobile money: Telcos lead as Nigeria, others processed $490bn

Nigeria and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa accounted for the largest share of mobile money transactions last year as $490 billion was processed.

Sub-Saharan Africa has continued to lead the rest of the world in mobile money transactions due to increased investment by telecom operators in the digital banking segment.

The global mobile money industry set a new record of $1 trillion processed in 2021, according to GSMA’s State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money released on Wednesday. South Africa was second with $131 billion, and East Asia and Pacific followed with $111 billion.

The report noted that one of the major drivers of growth was merchant payments, which nearly doubled from the previous year. Merchant payments reached an average of $5.5 billion in transactions per month.

Read also: MTN mobile money ahead across Africa, awaits Nigeria license

This was a demonstration by providers such as MTN and Safaricom that they can attract businesses to their platforms with better incentives, such as efficient remote onboarding processes. For example, the report noted that since Safaricom’s Mpesa began allowing companies to register for an account online in Kenya, more than 18 percent of new merchants are self-onboarding.

“2021 was the year mobile money started to really diversify to B2B (Business-to-Business) services. Beyond traditional person-to-person transactions, such as transferring money to family or friends, the industry is now central in helping small businesses operate more efficiently, and serve their customers better,” said Max Cuvellier, head of mobile for development at GSMA.

MTN’s MoMo overtook Safaricom’s Mpesa earlier this year as the largest mobile money service on the continent. MTN now has over 57 million mobile money users in Africa, compared to Safaricom’s 52 million users as of March.

Cedric NGuesson, head of fintech strategy and product at MTN Group, said the company had expanded its mobile money services to 16 countries and also diversified its offerings to include insurance, remittances and lending.

While East Africa has dominated the mobile money market since its inception, the GSMA report finds that West Africa is beginning to catch up.

Experts also noted that the growth in East Africa is beginning to slow down and could yield to other regions in the near future if more investments are not made.