Africa

Where is ‘mobile money’ being used the most?

A woman looks at Nigerian banks apps on a smart phone in Abuja, Nigeria.

Mobile money users can pay for day-to-day shopping and more without the need to connect to a bank account. Image: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Florian Zandt
Data Journalist, Statista
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Africa?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Africa is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Africa

This article is part of: Sustainable Development Impact Summit
  • Mobile money has become highly prevalent in so-called under- or unbanked areas like the majority of Africa.
  • It enables users to pay for electrical bills and day-to-day shopping with their mobile phone, without the need to connect it to a bank account.
  • The sub-Saharan section of the African continent heavily relies on mobile money, with 548 million registered accounts across 157 providers.
  • North Africa, Europa and Central Asia, only have a combined seven million active mobile money accounts and a transaction value of roughly $15 billion.
  • In 2020, Africans exchanged $490 billion using mobile money providers alone.

By raising 200 million U.S. dollars in its Series A round, Senegal-based fintech startup Wave has become the fourth unicorn on the African continent. It is now valued at 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, becoming the second freshly-minted fintech unicorn out of the continent in the span of only two weeks after Nigeria's OPay. As our chart indicates, the rise of mobile payment providers in sub-Saharan Africa is unlikely to stop anytime soon.

According to the 2020 report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), the sub-Saharan section of the African continent heavily relies on mobile money, with 548 million registered and 159 million active accounts across 157 providers. North Africa, Europa and Central Asia, on the other hand, only have a combined seven million active mobile money accounts and a transaction value of roughly 15 billion U.S. dollars. Sub-Saharan Africa easily dwarfs this number: In 2020, Africans exchanged 490 billion U.S. dollars using mobile money providers alone.

Have you read?
a chart showing the prevalence of mobile money in different regions of the world
Mobile money has become highly prevalent in under or unbanked areas. Image: Statista
Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing about digital trade?

Mobile money describes payment services operated via a mobile device instead of credit or debit cards, cheques or cash. It has become especially prevalent in so-called under- or unbanked areas like a majority of Africa and large parts of Asia, enabling its residents to pay everything from electrical bills to day-to-day shopping with their mobile phone, without the need to connect it to an existing bank account. The growth expectations of this market have attracted public and private funding by organisations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Mercy Corps, among others.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
AfricaFinancial and Monetary SystemsDavos Agenda
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

$400 billion debt burden: Emerging economies face climate action crisis

Libby George

April 19, 2024

2:06

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum