OPINION: Is mobile money the key to Africa’s cashless society?
Monday, October 6, 2014
As the story of the mobile phone and its contribution in bridging the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa unravels, the device’s revolutionary role in facilitating transactions and wealth distribution in the region is shaping up in an unprecedented way.
The speedy penetration of mobile telephony and the exclusion of most people from the formal financial system because of the existing socio-economic challenges seem to be the largest contributors to the mobile money wave. For, although only about 10 percent of people with primary or no education have bank accounts, compared with 55 percent of those with tertiary education, the share number of people using mobile in Africa is the highest in world, according to a recent study on financial habits by the Gates Foundation, the World Bank and Gallup World Poll.
But the mobile-money wave is not purely accidental. For their part, mobile telecom players, such as Airtel Africa, are investing millions of dollars in infrastructure, consumer education and awareness to broaden mobile-money propositions and drive financial inclusion.