Mobile Money Grows In Africa But Hurdles Remain
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Industry players say a fragmented and tough regulatory environment is holding the mobile money industry back.
IT technician Mansour Diagne is one of the lucky few in Senegal to have a bank account, but when he needs to pay some bills or transfer cash to his sisters on the other side of the crowded capital Dakar, he reaches for his mobile phone.
Fewer than 20 per cent of adults in the West African nation have a bank account and 26-year-old Diagne says the charges for using his are too high anyway, so he keeps at least 40,000 CFA francs ($82) in his mobile money account for transactions.
Diagne said he goes to a near-by sales point for Orange Money – one of five operators of mobile money services in Senegal – and hands over cash. The vendor credits his account with mobile money which he can then use to top up his phone, carry cash in a “digital wallet”, pay his utility bills or transfer funds to other subscribers.
“It is like having cash on you but safer because you don’t have to carry the actual money on you all the time,” said Diagne, sitting behind the counter of his shop lined with stacks of old computers that he repairs and sells.