A man enters a customer's mobile cellphone sim card details on an MTN Group Ltd registration machine at a roadside kiosk in Lagos.  Picture: BLOOMBERG/GEORGE OSODI
A man enters a customer's mobile cellphone sim card details on an MTN Group Ltd registration machine at a roadside kiosk in Lagos. Picture: BLOOMBERG/GEORGE OSODI

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than half of all mobile money services worldwide, with 140 active products across the region, according to a report on Wednesday by mobile phone operators organisation GSMA.

The adoption of mobile money in sub-Saharan Africa has grown significantly over the past 10 years as it gives millions of people e-access to financial services for the first time.

GSMA director-general Mats Granryd said mobile operators in the region were using mobile money to create new financial ecosystems that could deliver a range of innovative new services across multiple industry sectors, including utilities and agriculture.

Mobile money platforms have evolved beyond money transfer to bill payments and international remittances, among other things. The volume of these new payments services almost quadrupled between 2014 and 2016 and now accounts for about 17% of all mobile money transactions, driven by a significant rise in the number of mobile-based bill payments. According to GSMA, there were 277-million registered mobile money accounts across sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2016, plus 1.5-million registered agents.

In SA, mobile money products have not been successful because of the country’s sophisticated banking systems.

However, innovative financial technology platforms have been introduced aimed at improving the banking experience. In some African countries, more than 95% of payments are still in cash, against the global best practice of 30%-40%, BankservAfrica and McKinsey said recently.

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