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Mobile money use on the rise in West Africa

Olusegun Abolaji Ogundeji | May 19, 2014
Various strategies are being used to encourage use of mobile money services.

For example, in Kenya alone, M-PESA has over 23 million customers and 74 percent of adults in the country used mobile money services in 2013, Some-Mensah said.

Various approaches are being developed to encourage the use of mobile money services, in West Africa and elsewhere. For example, Airtel is offering a bonus for using its Airtel Money, including air time, and Orange has added international money transfer services to its mobile service.

Mobile money services are now becoming accepted as a form of payment in various areas West African countries, Mbongue noted. In some West African countries, mobile money services are being used to pay school fees. For example, Moov has partnered with the University of Togo to allow for mobile payments.

The use of mobile money services is likely to increase as mobile devices are used for all sorts of other services as well, Mbongue pointed out. Innovative uses of mobile services include the Môh Ni Bah birth registration service available in Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal, which allows for registration via SMS or mobile app, and election board services via mobile phone in Burkina Faso.

"The challenge now for the whole industry is to fast-track the adoption of mobile financial services," Some Mensah said. "This would come through educating and convincing customers about the value and benefits of mobile money; growing an ecosystem so customers can use mobile money in more ways and at more locations; and developing adequate infrastructures to support this market evolution."


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