It’s early days yet for mobile money, the payments technology that Africa has taken to new heights in the 12 years since it debuted on the continent. By 2017, 87-million people in Sub-Saharan Africa were active monthly users of the technology, which is largely synonymous with Safaricom’s M-Pesa. That’s more than half the world’s total users, according to data from industry body GSMA. But Africa’s large unbanked population means the continent is fertile ground for much bigger things. In another five years, mobile money could evolve into a pan-African ecosystem akin to China’s ubiquitous WeChat app, says MTN group CEO Rob Shuter. WeChat, a prized asset of Naspers associate Tencent, is a messaging, social media and payments app with more than 1-billion active users. It’s become so deeply entrenched in that society that even street vendors and busking musicians prefer mobile payments to cash — an increasingly obsolete currency. "We’re still at the very early stages of that because the e...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now