Mobile money revolutionises banking in rural Africa, experts say
Several reports highlight sharp improvement in access to finance in these regions.The mobile money market has been evolving quickly and the African region is witnessing the emergence of mobile banking services including savings, credit and insurance, according to a new report.
Led by market research company Big Market Research, the report states that mobile money services has a "huge potential ", owing to relatively low penetration of banking services (29 per cent of the population).
Meanwhile, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates wrote in a note that digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives and by 2030, two billion people who don't have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones.
Although the continent is suffering from poor infrastructure, most people now have a cellphone.
"In some of the least developed regions, such as parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, there are much higher levels of mobile access compared to other basic service, such as electricity, sanitation and financial services," according to trade association GSMA's 2014 Mobile Economy report seen by the Zimbabwe Independent.
In Nigeria, 56 million people live without access to electricity and 38 million live without access to clean water, but around 90 per cent of the population has access to cell network coverage.
This leads analysts to forecast a strong growth for the industry in the next four years. According to new data from US-based marketing analysis firm Frost & Sullivan, the mobile money market in Sub-Saharan Africa could be worth as much as $1,3 billion (€1.2 billion) by 2019, up from $655,8 million last year.