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Maturing Global Mobile Money Market Hits $1.4tn in Transaction Value

19/03/2024

New GSMA report finds mobile money is fueling economic growth and expansion of financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

19 March 2024, London: Mobile money services, particularly in West Africa, have seen exponential growth, with registered accounts doubling over the past decade, according to the 2024 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money' prepared by the GSMA. In 2023, global money transactions increased by 14% year-on-year (YoY), equating to $2.7 million per minute.

The GSMA Mobile Money Programme, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, works to enhance the development of mobile money ecosystems for the underserved. The 2024 edition finds a 23% YoY increase in transaction volumes, reaching 85 billion annually. Between 2013 and 2022, countries with mobile money services saw a $600 billion higher GDP than those without, equivalent to mobile money increasing GDP by around 1.5%. However, while both transaction value and volume increased, the rates of growth were slower when compared with 2022, showing that mobile money continues to be used more frequently, but for smaller transactions.

Mobile money is boosting socioeconomic impact

Mobile money boosts financial inclusion and digital access, serving as a catalyst for achieving 15 out of 17 United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), up from 13 in 2019. As the mobile money market starts to mature, the use cases are becoming more sophisticated. More providers now offer adjacent financial products, such as credit, savings, and insurance. Credit is the most popular adjacent financial service offered by mobile money providers (MMPs), with a 73% increase in the number of credit products offered YoY

This diversification of use cases is empowering the underserved, including women and rural populations, to save money through mobile money accounts. MMPs tracking disaggregated data found a 98% increase in the cumulative number of unique female customers saving via mobile money, between September 2022 and June 2023. In addition, increased business adoption of mobile money saw average revenue per user grow from $2.2 in September 2022 to $3.2 in June 2023 - an increase of over 40%.

Mobile money accounts are on the rise

In 2023, global registered mobile money accounts reached 1.75 billion, a 12% increase from 2022. Although the YoY growth rate of registered mobile money accounts is slowing (from 15% in 2022 and 19% in 2021), this reflects the start of the industry's maturation. Growth has been pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa where the share of registered accounts has increased for two consecutive years to 47% in 2023, the highest since 2019. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for over 70% of the total growth in registered accounts in 2023, with South Asia contributing a fifth.

West Africa becomes mobile money's powerhouse

West Africa, particularly Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal has seen a 100% increase in registered accounts from 2013 to 2023, establishing itself as a leader in mobile money adoption. This growth, driven by enabling regulatory frameworks, has facilitated a shift to digital transactions, underpinned by a surge in international remittances and merchant payments. For instance, the West African Economic and Monetary Union1 (WAEMU) experienced significant growth in the use of mobile money adding over 110 million new mobile money accounts between 2018 and 2022. In turn boosting financial inclusion from 56% to 71% for a population of over 137 million, with 60% residing in rural areas2.

Significant barriers remain

Barriers to accessing mobile money include low mobile ownership, perceived relevance, digital skills, social norms, and trust levels. Lack of mobile ownership remains the biggest barrier; though the total number of registered mobile money accounts stands at 1.75 billion, a sizeable gender gap remains. Globally, women are 7% less likely than men to own a phone, this gap in mobile ownership exists in all survey countries, except Kenya.

Beyond addressing individual challenges, an enabling regulatory landscape is crucial for boosting global financial inclusion and mobile money uptake. Taxation remains an important regulatory challenge for many mobile money services. Mobile money taxation can be a convenient revenue-earning opportunity for many governments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Though, countries including Ghana and Tanzania have experienced the negative effects of taxing mobile money transactions.

Ashley Olson Onyango, Head of Financial Inclusion & AgriTech at GSMA, comments Mobile money has demonstrated its potential to transform economies and societies, driving financial inclusion and sustainable development worldwide. As the industry has started to mature, it is also clear that mobile money offers a sound commercial proposition. Between 2022 and 2023 the average revenue per user rose 40% validating the recent investment that the industry has seen. To ensure mobile money remains safe, accessible, and affordable, there is a clear need for governments and regulators to work with financial service providers to launch financial literacy programmes that can empower underserved populations and improve their financial decision-making.

-ENDS-

About GSMA

The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today's biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and in
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