Sub-Saharan Africa has 48.8% of the world’s total active mobile money accounts.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), in one of its previous mobile research activities in five African countries, has reported a sharp increase in the African population using mobile devices to access the Internet.
A recent GSMA report – The 2018 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money (PDF) – also reiterates the importance of mobile in the sub-Saharan African region, particularly with regard to mobile money.
According to the report, there are 395.7 million mobile money accounts registered in the sub-Saharan African region in December 2018, representing 45.6% of global figures. The region is followed by South Asia with 33.2% and East and Pacific with 11%.
Of the 395.7 million registered mobile currency accounts in sub-Saharan Africa, 145.8 million are active. Compared to the 298.7 million global accounts, this represents 48.8% of active accounts worldwide.
It should be noted that a total of 17.5 million new active mobile money accounts were added in the region in 2018. And beyond that, the value of mobile money transactions in the year for the region amounts to $26.8 billion out of the $40.8 billion worldwide.
For new active accounts, it can be deduced that Nigeria has added a significant percentage since the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System figures show that the country’s mobile money market had a total of 8.5 million customers in December 2018, compared to 3.84 million in 2017, or 4.66 million new customers in one year.
Although the region has added millions of new active users, the mobile money activity rate has not increased since it still maintains the same percentage with 2017 at 36.8%.
In addition, more than a third of adults in countries such as Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe are active users of mobile money.
With smartphone penetration expected to reach 66% in 2025 in the sub-Saharan African region, the share of mobile money accounts in the region will certainly continue to increase.