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Mobile money transactions in Africa hit $836.5bn

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Africa , 19 Apr 2023

Africa’s mobile money industry processed US$ 836.5 billion in transactions in 2022, recording a 22% increase year-on-year, according to a report published on Tuesday by the telecoms industry organisation GSMA.

The increase in transaction value, number of registered accounts and deployments observed across Africa as well as other parts of the globe significantly exceed industry expectations, GSMA notes in its State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2023.

The report shows the volume of transactions processed in Africa in 2022 stood at 44.9 billion, representing a 21% increase from the previous year, while the number of registered accounts grew from 648.23 million in 2021 to 781 million in 2022. 

The East Africa sub-region leads with a transaction value of $491.8 billion, West Africa follows with $277 billion, before Central Africa $57.6 billion, Southern Africa $5.3 billion and North Africa $4.7 billion.

At the global level, the total transaction value jumped from US$ 1 trillion to US$ 1.26 trillion between 2021 and 2022, while daily transactions through mobile money peaked at US$ 3.45 billion, far above the US$ 3 billion predicted in 2021.

In addition, mobile money-enabled international remittances grew by 28% year-on-year to US$ 22 billion in 2022, according to the report. 

This, GSMA says, was driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns which pushed many diasporas to send more funds to friends and family using mobile money than ever before. 

The report notes that senders preferred mobile money for its “efficiency, speed, safety and cost-effectiveness”.

Also, the report indicates that the world now counts 315 live mobile money deployments, with peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers and cash-in/cash-out transactions still among the most popular use cases.

“Bill payments using mobile money grew by 36% year-on-year – faster than any other use case - and the industry continues to focus on use case diversification, playing an important role in digitising economies,” the report states in part.

According to Director General of the GSMA, Mats Granryd, mobile money services are growing very fast across the world.

“While it took the industry 17 years to reach the first 800 million customers, it took only five years to reach the next 800 million, and of that, 400 million accounts were added over the course of the pandemic. Today there are 1.6 billion registered mobile money accounts,” Granryd notes.

Max Cuvellier, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA, says it is comforting to see the continued growth of mobile money worldwide, which has offered many millions of unbanked and underserved people in low- and middle- income countries access to digital financial services, for the first time.

Despite the significant growth of mobile money, he says there is still a long way to go to bring those services to over a billion people worldwide who remain unbanked.

“The GSMA is therefore encouraging governments worldwide to keep developing the enabling policies that can support mobile money deployments and further boost the growth of this crucial ecosystem. Doing so helps accelerate the digitization of national economies and build financial resilience, allowing communities to support themselves in uncertain times,” says Cuvellier in a statement.

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