One Entrepreneur Jean Claude Bastos De Morais Says The role of mobile financial services in achieving financial inclusion in Africa
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Africa is at the forefront of mobile banking. It is also one of the continents with the lowest levels of financial inclusion. Because of the penetration of the mobile phone in the telecommunications sector, mobile banking has taken off successfully in some parts of Africa, especially in eastern and southern African regions.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 36 countries out of 54 have mobile banking services. These include for example, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
With roughly 2.5 billion people globally in lower- to middle-income countries who have no access to banking services, the potential is clear. According to a 2016 GSMA study, more than half a billion people across Africa are now subscribed to mobile services, adding more than US$150bn in economic value to the African economy.
Over the last decade, Africa has witnessed high mobile telephony penetration and high uptake of mobile financial services in a number of countries. Mobile telephony has reduced geographical constraints, transaction costs as well as assisting commercial banks to have a cost efficient expansion strategy. A number of factors such as mobile phone penetration, financial and conventional infrastructure development, population density, regulation, and the appetite of private players to pursue the opportunity, tend to drive variation in mobile financial services.