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Uganda's digital finance growth better than Africa’s average says regulator

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Uganda , 03 Aug 2021

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) says the country’s mobile money market is growing faster compared to other markets in Africa.

According to a report by the regulator, the number of active mobile money accounts in Uganda stood at 20.3 million as at the end of March 2021.

This represents 66% of the 30.5 million registered mobile money accounts in the country, adding that the 66% active mobile money accounts amounts to double the African average of 30% account activity.

In Uganda, as is the case in other countries in Africa, mobile financial services have continued to grow, propelled in part by COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

To streamline service delivery and capitalise on growth in Uganda, the UCC said it in its report that two telecommunications operators MTN and Airtel have been given the all-clear to separate their digital financial business (mobile money) from the cellular network operations.

“These no objections are in partial fulfillment of new regulatory obligations instituted by the National Payments Systems Act of 2020 and the Uganda Communications Pricing and Accounting Regulations 2019,” the report stated.

According to the report, in Africa, as at the end of March 2021, the total mobile money accounts on the continent had grown to 562 million, translating into a penetration rate of 40 lines per 100 inhabitants.

Additionally, the total number of active accounts had grown to 160 million, translating into an account activity ratio of almost 30%, with Vodafone, MTN and Airtel jointly accounting for more than 50% of this account base.

By March 2021, MTN, Airtel and Vodafone mobile money outfits were valued at almost US$20-billion.

Commenting on the UCC report, Alfred Zulu, a senior telecommunications researcher at the Computer Association of Zambia said: “African governments are pushing for financial inclusion and people themselves are seeing the benefits of mobile money.Therefore, we expect a sustained growth of mobile financial services as more and more people will be coming on board because mobile money is easy to access, it’s convenient, transactions can be done anytime and transaction charges are low compared to traditional banks.”

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