One in every 10 mobile money transactions in the world is done in Kenya highlighting Nairobi’s stature as the cradle of mobile cash.
Kenyans made a total of 1.52 billion mobile money dealings last year — peers’ transfer, sports betting, and paying for shopping and utility bills — out of 14.8 billion transactions carried out globally, according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya and mobile industry lobby GSMA.
The number of mobile cash transactions in Kenya has grown at a cumulative average of 28.65 per cent annually in the last five years, thanks to increased usage of mobile money platforms to include loan disbursement, receiving dividends and diaspora remittances.
“Mobile money is ubiquitous in Kenya where growth was explosive from the start. As more users joined the system, Safaricom #ticker:SCOM began to increase its value by launching new products and services, and expanded the ecosystem through diverse partnerships,” GSMA said in a statement.
“GSMA research has shown that mobile money has become an intrinsic part of people’s lives in Kenya and will remain so,” the lobby told Business Daily.
Kenya’s share of global transactions has, however, fallen from a high of 22 per cent in 2011 to 9.5 per cent in 2015, but rose to 10.3 per cent of worldwide mobile cash deals in 2016, attributed to growing uptake of mobile money services across the world.
Safaricom launched M-Pesa in Nairobi on March 6, 2007 and the service recorded astronomical growth, which attracted rival telcos to join the fray.
As at December 2016, Kenya had 34.95 million mobile money users who transact on six major mobile money platforms— M-Pesa, MobiKash, Airtel Money, Orange Money, Tangaza, and Equitel—backed by a network of 165,908 agents, according to the latest CBK data.
GSMA data shows that in terms of amount moved, Kenya is estimated to account for nearly a fifth of total cash wired globally through mobile platforms last year.
Kenyans moved Sh316.77 billion via mobile cash out of the $22 billion (Sh2.2 trillion) sent across the globe in December 2016, the only data that GSMA made available. This works out to Kenya lately controlling 14.4 per cent of global volumes.
In total, Kenyans moved Sh3.35 trillion via mobile cash in 2016, compared to Sh16.32 billion in the inaugural year of 2007.