The conclusion of the annual gathering of the mobile industry in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC) saw even greater interest in solutions from Africa than in previous years according to the GSMA.
Several African innovators were among the 2200 exhibitors who took part in the 2017 edition of the event, which is organised by the industry body on a global scale followed by regional events like GSMA Mobile 360 Series scheduled to take place in Tanzania later this year.
Yasmina McCarty, Head of Mobile for Development at GSMA says the new partners will assist in getting innovative mobile solutions to reach the 3.6 billion people that now have access to mobile phones according to the GSMA.
“Mkopa from Kenya is just one example, in energy, of thirty-two other companies who are doing these kinds of solutions we are now showing to the world. More than two hundred million pounds are invested in energy and the innovation is showing great promise. A lot more people around the world who do not have access to reliable power can benefit from this solution using a basic handset. If a small business has access to a solar system like Mkopa they can stay open for an hour-and-a-half longer every day and that is an extra income or extra time of studying for kids in a home.”
McCarty believes that the success in rolling out mobile money around the world can be extended to reach sectors such as agriculture and health.
“What is exciting is that we now have half a billion mobile money wallets around the world now and about every minute you have thirty thousand transactions. Mobile money is in ninety-two countries now and processing 22 billion dollars in one month so it has become an industry in its own right and that is thanks to mobile technology. We have thirty-five mobile money services with one million active customers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but Africa continues to be the pioneer. It is an innovation that you can say Africa gave to the world as it has travelled beyond the continent.”
M-Pesa launched in Kenya exactly a decade ago with the aim of reaching unbanked members of the population who were without access to secure and affordable financial services.