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Other markets to rival Kenya for mobile money dominance

By , Journalist
Africa , 08 Dec 2015

Other markets to rival Kenya for mobile money dominance

Mobile money operators in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected to challenge Kenyan operators for dominance in the sector in 2016, riding on growth registered in 2015.

Kenya has been a frontrunner in the area of mobile money, with Vodacom's M-Pesa registering resounding success. However, regulators in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also opening up the industry to new areas, allowing interoperability and cross-border remittances through mobile money.

"In 2016, we can expect growth in three areas: firstly, while Kenya is often cited as the forerunner in mobile payment proliferation, this leadership is anticipated to be challenged by countries like Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, all of which have experienced significant growth in mobile payments," said Gareth Mellon, the ICT programme manager at Frost & Sullivan Africa on Monday.

He added that in the three markets, "other areas such as merchant payments and international remittances should show healthy adoption" and would help to expand "the broader mobile payments ecosystem" in these markets.

"Operators and banks have typically spearheaded mobile money development, but there are a growing number of actors seeking to grab a share of the market," Mellon says.

He added "the major Internet players – namely; Google, Facebook, and Apple – who, although not necessarily established in Africa, are leveraging their communication platforms to obtain access to customers' wallets".

Dr Emmanuel Manasseh, an expert with the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), said this month that about 35% of households in Tanzania had at least one registered mobile money user.

"As the number of users keep on increasing it is crucial for mobile money services stakeholders to consider commence providing consumer education regarding the service," said Dr Manasseh.

In June this year Alix Murphy, Senior Mobile Analyst at global mobile money services provider WorldRemit, said consumers in Zimbabwe have adapted quickly to the world of mobile innovation and, while there are more SIM cards in the Southern African country than there are people, users are leveraging the connectivity to the maximum - particularly in terms of mobile payment.

WorldRemit suggests that 78% of adults have sent money with their phone, 67% have received money on their phone and more than 5 million Zimbabweans have a mobile money account.

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