by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE adoption and use of mobile money has grown exponentially, with a record $1 trillion (R15.6 trillion) processed annually.
The Global System for Mobile Communication (GSMA) disclosed the figures for 2021 in its tenth annual “State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money.”
The industry enjoyed a substantial increase in the number of registered accounts, up 18 percent since 2020, reaching 1,35 billion globally.
The volume of person-to-person transactions were up to more than 1,5 million every hour.
The report reveals that one of the most significant drivers of growth was merchant payments, which almost doubled year on year.
It also highlights how mobile money continues to act as a core pillar of financial and economic inclusion, particularly for women.
Merchant payments were instrumental in the growth of the mobile money industry in 2021.
The value of merchant payments almost doubled, reaching an average of $5,5 billion in transactions per month.
“2021 was the year mobile money started to diversify to B2B services,” said Max Cuvellier, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA.
“Beyond traditional person-to-person transactions, such as transferring money to family or friends, the industry is now central in helping small businesses operate more efficiently, and serve their customers better.”
Meanwhile, with the gender gap in mobile money account ownership ranging from 7 percent in Kenya to 71 percent in Pakistan – some barriers to vulnerable people benefitting from mobile money remain.
Overall, 143 million fewer women own a mobile gadget than men.
Additional barriers to mobile money access include a lack of awareness of mobile money and a deficit in perceived relevance, knowledge and skills.
– CAJ News