The primacy of Kenya in mobile banking


Wednesday, August 19, 2015 9:50 AM / FBN Capital Research

Parallels between West and East Africa in terms of mobile banking are so often drawn that we are today citing the relevant data from Kenya.


Our chart shows the steady increase in mobile money moved from KES192bn at the start of the series in Q3 2010 to KES639bn in Q4 2014. Total transactions last year of KES2.37trn (US$27.0bn) were equivalent to 44.2% of GDP, while the number of mobile money users (25.3 million) represented 58.7% of the population.


When we look at the structure of electronic payments in January-April 2015, the Central Bank of Kenya shows mobile transactions at KES864bn, card payments at KES428bn and ATM transactions at just KES3bn.

There is also a crossborder aspect to the segment in East Africa. Safaricom customers in Kenya can transfer money by their mobiles to and from Tanzania.

According to one figure, which we are unable to corroborate, about 30% of active mobile money users globally are based in Kenya.

The story in Nigeria is somewhat different. Electronic payments in H1 2014 amounted to N1.95trn. (GDP for the full year was N89.0trn.)

The structure of those payments highlights the extent to which Nigeria is lagging Kenya in this field. ATM transactions totalled N1.64trn (US$1.0bn), and mobile payments only N140bn (US$90m).

Not surprisingly, investment in information and communications technology (ICT) is lagging in Nigeria. The chief executive of Etisalat Nigeria quoted a figure of 2.6% of GDP in June, which he compared to 5.5% in unspecified peer countries.

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