The story behind Kenya’s dominance in mobile money_ Imara Africa Securities team

Kenya has more cell phone subscriptions than adult citizens and more than 80% of those with a cell phone also use mobile money. The world has approximately 60m mobile money users and almost one in every three is a Kenyan. Half of all mobile money transactions are taking place in Kenya where annual transfers have now scaled the US$10bn level.

The impact on the social and economic front has been equally remarkable. Of note is the impact to macroeconomic policy. Mobile money helped move cash from the mattresses into the formal market providing the central bank a better handle on the money in circulation, which is a major challenge especially in sub-Saharan Africa were a significant portion of economic activity is in the informal sector.

Brilliant as this may be, what baffles many is why mobile money has not yet taken off in other countries, especially those where money transfers from urban to rural areas are enormous even by Kenyan standards. Hillary Clinton for instance could all but wonder why such a “brilliant innovation” was not available in the USA. Read More

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