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By Sharon Karuga Kinyanjui
As we enter into a new decade, sub-Saharan Africa still holds the crown for the largest number of transactions via mobile phones than anywhere in the world.
With 395.7 million mobile money accounts sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 48.8% of the total active mobile money accounts globally (Techpoint Africa) – with a vast opportunity for growth.
The World Bank reported estimated remittances to sub-Saharan Africa grew by almost 5% in 2019 to an estimated total value of USD $49 billion.
WorldRemit launched a mobile money service in Africa in 2018 and have seen exponential growth in the use of this service.
With the success of mobile money and in light of the large number of Africans that have and continue to migrate to key African growth markets, more Central Banks within African countries are giving the green light to cross-border remittances via mobile money.
While digital transformation is helping the flow of money and connecting more people in Africa, we are also seeing growing collaborations and partnerships between money transfer operators, mobile operators, banks and fintechs to improve the remittance infrastructure and maximise the potential of digital technology.
In 2019, digital money transfers to the continent grew, with remittances to Uganda growing at 48%.
This was the fastest growth in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2020, at WorldRemit, we expect to see a further rise in digital transfers to Uganda.
In addition to cross-border remittances and a strong diaspora drive to do more than send monies to families but also to invest in their native countries, we are confident that we will experience a rise in digital remittances at the start of this new decade.
Other factors which support our projections include better value for money as remittance charges via digital platforms are more than 50 percent cheaper than using global money transfer operators; and increasing smartphone ownership – across the continent smartphone penetration is expected to rise to 66% by 2025 (Techpoint Africa 2019).
Mobile money is king – usage of mobile money services is not going anywhere and as the fintech industry continues to boom, we are seeing more and more ways in which consumers are integrating digital into their everyday lifestyle
Financial inclusion is still a big challenge across the continent and digital remittances remain a key platform to bridge the gap.
At WorldRemit, we are excited about the prospect of digital money remittances in 2020 as we continue to foster strong relationships and partnerships to provide safe, secure, reliable and fast money transfer services to our customers globally.