Africa Economy: Kenya's mobile money use on rise in 2015, hitting $28bln

GMT 16:20 2016 Tuesday ,23 February

Arab Today, arab today Africa Economy: Kenya's mobile money use on rise in 2015, hitting $28bln

Nairobi - Xinhua

Kenyans transacted 27.8 billion U.S. dollars on mobile money last year, with the East African nation consolidating its grip as the global leader on use of the technology.

The new high is an increase of 4.3 billion dollars from 23.5 billion dollars citizens moved on mobile money in 2014, new data from Central Bank of Kenya showed Tuesday.

The amount of money transacted on mobile money surpasses Kenya's 2015/2016 budget, which stood at 20.7 billion dollars, by 7.1 billion dollars, showing how crucial the sector is to the economy.

The highest volume of cash in 2015, according to the regulator's data, was transacted in December, a month Kenyans moved over 2.6 billion dollars.

Christmas and New Year festivities gave mobile money use a boost as during the holidays Kenyans normally send and receive various amounts of cash from their loved ones.

For some, the mobile money remittances have replaced the traditional Christmas and New Year gifts still active in some countries.

On the flipside, the least transactions during the period were carried out in February, with Kenyans moving 2.1 billion dollars.

On average, Kenyans monthly transaction stood at 2.3 billion dollars, up from 2 billion dollars in 2014, according to the CBK data.

Kenyans use mobile money to pay bills, traffic offence fines, loans, school fees, public transport vehicles fare, transfer money from their bank accounts to cell phones, and buy goods.

Mobile money is, thus, at the heart of each transaction Kenyans make, side-lining the use of plastic money although cash is still the king.

Meanwhile, during the period, according to CBK, the number of mobile money subscribers hit 31.6 million, up from 25.4 at the beginning of 2015.

Kenya has a population of about 43 million people.

Similarly, the number of agents grew to 143,946 from 125,826 in January 2015 as a sizeable number of Kenyans continued to earn a living through the service.

The CBK data paints a rosy picture of growth for the service that was launched in 2007, with the future, according to analysts, looking brighter, as competition stiffens in the sector.

There has been a rise in the number of players in the industry, from three to six, namely Safaricom, Airtel, Orange, Equitel, Tangaza and Mobikash.

The six companies have intensified promotion of their services and innovation that include partnering with banks and other financial institutions.

Source: Xinhua

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