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Use of mobile financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa more than tripled in the past six years

On more than one occasion we have heard that Africa is a sleeping giant in terms of technological capabilities, especially in the context of the power of mobile.

While there are several obstacles laying in the way of that vision coming to fruition, the latest report from Ericsson shows that mobile financial services have grown significantly over the past decade.

To that end, telecommunications specialist’s latest report, titled Mobile Financial Services on the Rise, looks at how the adopting of these services has increased over the past six years, more than tripling in that time.

The report research, which was conducted by Ericsson Consumer & Industry Lab in early 2021, surveyed 3 200 consumers across six Sub-Saharan African countries – Senegal, Angola, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Ethiopia – to assess the growth of mobile financial services in light of technology and infrastructure gains across the region.

One of the key contributing factors, apart from the general propensity to gravitate to mobile-focused solutions across Africa, is the impact of the pandemic. So much so in fact, that the aforementioned reports says 54 percent of consumers have noted that they use mobile financial services transactions more now.

“About 70 percent are more positive towards mobile financial services as a preferred contactless alternate to cash,” adds the report.

“The report highlights that users list faster transactions as the number one factor that would encourage them to use mobile money services more often in the near future. About 70 percent believe that faster transactions would encourage them to use mobile money services more while 51 percent highlighted higher security,” Ericsson continues.

Mobile financial services are currently enabling basic financial services such as withdrawing, transferring and storing money, Ericsson has found, as well as advanced services such as microfinance and insurance also coming to the fore of late.

These solutions are naturally gaining more visibility in the region too, as the company cites the fact that most non-users are now aware of said services, with as many as eight in 10 saying they are very interested to start using it.

“This new research underlines the significant empowering role that mobile financial services play in Sub-Saharan Africa, both in combating the impact of the pandemic and in fuelling economic development across Africa through the transformational potential of expanded and affordable access to financial solutions,” explains Lucky La Riccia, VP and head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa.

“Our aim is to support the digitalisation of Africa through technologies such as mobile broadband. Ericsson’s mobile financial solutions support this aim as we accelerate financial inclusion,” he adds.

As such, those businesses that are not embracing mobile solutions and services, could stand to lose ground and lose out to the competition, with this rate of adoption showing no signs of declining any time soon.

To download (PDF) and read the report for yourself, head here.

[Image – Photo by David Dvořáček on Unsplash]

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