Mobile financial services in sub-Saharan Africa could generate $1.5bn in fees by 2019

Eight of the 10 countries that make most use of mobile financial services are in Africa

The use of mobile financial services to pay utility bills and send money to relatives could produce an estimated $1.5bn in fees for mobile-money providers in sub-Saharan Africa by 2019.

This is according to a report, Africa Blazes a Trail in Mobile Money: Time for Banks and Mobile Operators to Devise Strategies, produced by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The report also found that sub-Saharan Africans are looking for more secure ways to borrow and save money, and are open to other financial products delivered using mobile phones, including loans and insurance.

Although mobile financial services are emerging all over the world, sub-Saharan Africa’s unique circumstances – a combination of a mostly ‘unbanked’ population and heavy mobile-phone penetration – have turned the region into an early adopter of mobile banking and a test bed for the technology’s potential.

Eight of the 10 countries that make the most use of mobile financial services are in Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of active accounts (43%).

Commenting on the report, BCG principal and co-author of the report Michael Seeberg said that mobile financial services are “a way for African banks to drive and capitalise on the trend towards financial inclusion”. He added: “Failing to come up with a strategy could erode a bank’s existing customer base, as even traditionally banked Africans increasingly turn to the simpler and cheaper mobile offerings.”

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