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East Africa leads globally in mobile money services says AU

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Africa , 26 Feb 2021

East Africa is the global leader in mobile money services, according to a new report released by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

According to the report, Africa’s Development Dynamics 2021 the region has the highest mobile money penetration rate in the world currently standing at 1, 106 registered mobile money accounts for every 1, 000 adults. This is compared to 600 for the whole of Africa, 533 for Asia and 245 for Latin America and Caribbean.

Additionally, in East Africa most adult subscribers own more than one mobile account.

Research shows that in 2018, Africa had over 300 million mobile money accounts - more than any other continent - and that today there are more than 500 companies providing technology-enabled innovations in financial services in the region.

The report lists several East Africa member states, including Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, that it says lead globally in mobile money transactions - mainly because policymakers and regulators took on the risk to invest early in innovation and this has made the financial sector more inclusive.

Mobile money innovation is identified as a key enabler and driver of digital innovation and adoption, leading to increased productivity and job creation in key sectors such as healthcare, education and agriculture. It references the rise of start-up companies and their impact on these sectors.

An excerpt from the report reads: “They are turning digital technologies and Africa’s specific needs to their advantage to deploy fast-growing business models. For example, Kobo360, a Nigerian startup founded in 2017, is looking to revolutionise the country’s domestic transport and logistics sector as well as to link Nigerian farmers with buyers all over the world.”

AUC chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said: “The AUC and OECD are committed to supporting their members’ to make the digital transformation a vector of sustainable human, economic and social progress on the continent.”

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