After decades of being referred to as the Dark Continent, Africa is fast shedding that tag and emerging as a key player and stakeholder in the global digital economy.
Thanks to tech savvy youthful population, liberal markets and friendly tech policies, Africa is embracing mobile money technology fast and in a big way.
Mobile Money is a digital financial service that lets people store, send and receive money on a basic mobile phone, without requiring a bank account.
Over the years, however, mobile money has evolved and is no longer just about the traditional cash-in and cash-out transactions. It has grown to include paying bills, saving money, lending and enabling cross-border remittances.
According to GSMA 2017 State of the Industry Report, about $1 billion is now transacted via mobile money daily, backed by an estimated 690 million registered users worldwide.
Africa is dominating the world in the mobile money business, accounting for about 80 percent of global mobile money transactions volume and over half of global transaction value.
According to GSMA’s mobile money metrics interactive tool, there are currently 135 live mobile money services in Sub Saharan Africa out of 276 worldwide.
Out of 5.3 million registered mobile money agents worldwide, 1.8 million are in Africa.
There are 338.4 million accounts in Africa out of 889 million worldwide and 1.2 billion mobile money transactions valued at $19.9 billion are conducted in Africa compared to 1.8 billion worldwide valued at $31.5 billion worldwide.
And that is without any serious adoption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.
668 miles away from Nigeria, mobile money is not only bigger and growing but a way of life.
Nearly one in five Ghanaians are active users of Mobile Money, more than double the total a year ago.
In June 2016, the Central Bank of Ghana released figures showing that Mobile Money transactions in Ghana had grown 20 percent since the end of 2015, reaching 679.17 million Ghanaian Cedi ($177.9 million).
In Kenya, one of global leaders in mobile money technology, things are even more impressive. Cash transacted via mobile phones hit Sh3.7 trillion in the 12 months through March.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) numbers indicate the volumes transacted between April 2017 and March 2018 increased by Sh219 billion from Sh3.48 trillion in a similar period a year earlier.
To fully understand the impact of mobile money in Africa, one needs to venture out of the noisy crowded urban area and travel to rural areas where for years millions of unbanked people were condemned to a life of poverty living from hand to mouth.
With the entrance of mobile money however sky is the literary the limit.
Nowadays, millions of farmers have multiple mobile money services at their fingertips providing all manner of services from providing instant loans, daily market and weather updates to selling their produce all at the comfort of their farms.