MENA: expanding financial inclusion via the operability of mobile money services

The GSMA, representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide, recently announced that nine mobile network operators, including Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Group, Millicom, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange, STC Group, Vodafone Group and Zain Group, have committed to work together to accelerate the implementation of interoperable mobile money services across Africa and the Middle East regions.

Collectively, these operators account for 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people in lower to middle income countries lack access to financial services and cannot adequately invest in their livelihoods, protect their assets nor mitigate shocks that cause them to fall deeper into poverty.

However, it is estimated that 1.7 billion of these people have a mobile phone.

Sub-Saharan Africa is widely recognized as a pioneering market for mobile money and is home to 52% of all live mobile money deployments worldwide.
In the MENA region, although there are a number of regulatory challenges that have slowed down the growth of mobile money, the number of mobile deployments those last few years, highlight the global potential of the region.

At the end of 2013, mobile money in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa regions showed significant growth with:

• 58% of the world’s 218 mobile money deployments
• 66% of all registered accounts and 73% of active accounts
• 341 million transactions totaling USD $5.7 billion (77% of global transaction value)

Sources : Business Wire, GSMA

Tags: mobile money, GSMA, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile network operators, financial inclusion, MicroWorld, Pi Slice, mobile deployments