News Business Mobile Money Boosts West Africa's Economy: A $150 Billion Surge
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Mobile Money Boosts West Africa's Economy: A $150 Billion Surge

By Chinenye Anuforo

Published on 3rd April 2024

Introduction

The GSMA’s 2024 State of the Industry Report on mobile money reveals a remarkable impact: mobile money has become a driving force behind West Africa's economic transformation. Over the past 9 years, it has contributed more than $150 billion to the region's gross domestic product (GDP).

Sub-Saharan Africa's Growth

In sub-Saharan Africa, mobile money has been a game-changer. Between 2013 and 2022, it boosted the overall GDP by 3.7%. However, the real story lies in East and West Africa, where mobile money adoption is at its peak.

West Africa Takes the Lead

West Africa, particularly countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal, has witnessed a 100% increase in registered mobile money accounts from 2013 to 2023. In fact, over a third of new registered and active 30-day accounts globally in 2023 hailed from West Africa, surpassing all other regions.

Factors Driving Growth

What fuels this surge? Enabling regulatory frameworks have paved the way for a shift to digital transactions. International remittances and merchant payments have surged, propelling West Africa's vibrant mobile money ecosystem.

Financial Inclusion and Sustainable Development

Mobile money isn't just about numbers; it's about impact. Financial inclusion has risen significantly, especially in rural areas. For instance:

  • The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) added over 110 million new mobile money accounts between 2018 and 2022.
  • Financial inclusion increased from 56% to 71% for a population of over 137 million, with 60% residing in rural areas.

Mobile Money's Broader Impact

Mobile money aligns with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the industry matures, providers now offer adjacent financial services like credit, savings, and insurance. Diversification empowers underserved populations, including women:

  • Mobile money providers (MMPs) have seen a 73% increase in credit products offered year-on-year in 2023.
  • Female customers are saving via mobile money, with a 98% increase in cumulative unique female savers between September 2022 and June 2023.

Mobile money isn't just a transaction; it's a catalyst for transformation.

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