A new GSMA study reported that the global mobile money industry processed $1 trillion in transactions by 2021. According to the study, there are currently 1.35 billion registered mobile money accounts that process $1 trillion in transactions annually. That equates to nearly $2 million in transactions per minute, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The GSMA expects account growth in the coming years to come from both long-established mobile money markets and markets where mobile money services are still in their infancy, particularly in South Asia and Africa, particularly Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Angola. For example, Ethiopia launched a mobile money service led by a mobile network operator (MNO) in 2021, and Nigeria’s Central Bank granted Approval in Principle to leading MNOs to run mobile money services in the country.
Customers who use mobile money are also more active users, according to the report. Between 2012 and 2021, the proportion of accounts active on a 90-day basis increased from 26% to 38%, while the proportion of monthly (30-day) active accounts increased from 20% to 26%. In 2012, mobile money was primarily an East African phenomenon, with 84 percent of all active (30-day) accounts being in Sub-Saharan Africa. The mobile money map has been redrawn in 2021, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for just over half of active accounts and South Asia accounting for 20%, edging out East Asia and the Pacific (19 percent), reads the report.
The GSMA launched the Mobile Money Regulatory Index in 2018. (MMRI). 16 The MMRI identifies six key enablers of a successful mobile money service: authorization, consumer protection, transaction limits, KYC, agent networks, and the investment and infrastructure environment. Each enabler is weighted based on its contribution to the success of mobile money. In 2020, 14 countries reported regulatory environment improvements of 1% or more. Angola, Egypt, eSwatini, Ethiopia, Nepal, Pakistan, and the eight West African Monetary Union members were among them (WAMU).
Since its launch in May 2021, Ethio Telecom’s state-owned mobile money service, telebirr, has experienced rapid growth. Telebirr has 15.6 million registered users and has processed eight billion birr ($160 million) in transactions.
The GSMA study stated that ‘Another watershed moment for the industry occurred in 2021, when P2P transactions surpassed $386 billion, or more than $1 billion per day, for the first time.’
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