In Africa the percentage of mobile money users is increasing at a rapid rate. According to the GSMA, Africa has been the continent with the fastest growing mobile market in the world with almost 20 percent annual growth over the past five years.
Both feature phones and smartphones are being used for money transfers, eCommerce payments and more advanced financial activities such as credit, savings, and insurance. Mobile money transfers are expected to exceed $200 billion by 2015-world bank.
According to the World Bank there are over 40 million mobile money users worldwide and almost half of those are in Kenya, a country with more cellphones than adults. Mobile banking is creating opportunities for the unbanked to have access to the wider financial services sector in developing countries in Africa and elsewhere.
Tanzania is leading in m-commerce (mobile money services) across the Sub Saharan African markets, followed by South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria and Uganda, according to a research released by Ericcson. Tanzania also leads in mobile payments — airtime top ups, merchants, bills and salary payments — by 60 percent, followed by South Africa 19 percent and Ghana by 6 percent.
Financial service innovations in mobile money such as Jipange KuSave, M-Kopa, Kilimo Salama, products built on the M-PESA plaform — are emerging, based on next-generation business models that required a relatively low-cost technology.
Financial services via mobile phones may either be for payments- i.e. charging your mobile account with cash or what some experts call (mobile wallet) and using the phone to make payments or to receive payments; mobile banking services- normal services banks offer their customers, account activity reports and account balancevia SMS texts, making payments to the bank etc.; or mobile microfinance- raising loans, making payments on the loan. These examples are not exhaustive but so far seem to be the main services categories in Africa. There iso much more mobile banking can do for the unbanked in Africa and other developing countries.
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania air-travel customersare able to purchase their tickets via mobile transfer service after Precision Air signed an agreement with Vodacom Tanzania.Vodacom Tanzania has the largest network of mobile money transfer service dubbed M-pesa.The partnership agreement would enable customers to save time as they make the payment via M-pesa and receive an e-ticket for their journey.
Nigeria’s Central Bank has recently licensed 16 mobile operators to participate in the mobile banking program-voanews