The use of mobile money has surged in Africa significantly in the last couple of months as Africa too, along with the world fights to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The widespread use of mobile money has stopped the use of cash in Africa, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) flagged as a conduit for the spread of the coronavirus.
In Kenya, leading telecom operator Safaricom has waived all service fees related to its mobile money platform M-Pesa. Earlier, Safaricom announced that all person-to-person (P2P) transactions under 1,000 Kenyan Schillings would be free for the next 90 days. M-Pesa will also allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to increase their daily M-Pesa transaction limits from 70,000 Kenyan Schillings to 150,000.
After Kenya entered a state of lockdown in the month of March, a million new users joined M-Pesa, taking its total subscribers count to 25 million. Ghana too, recently started pumping stimulus to at least 100,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) using mobile money. According to the central bank of Ghana, mobile money transactions reached a record high in the month of March.
According to many experts, mobile money has also played a big role in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Africa. Not only that, mobile money also facilitated the continued functioning of the African retail sector by allowing its citizens to shop digitally. As mobile money provides an easy way of completing a financial transaction, it also led to a rise in online shopping in Africa amid the lockdown.
Mobile money also has the potential to accelerate financial inclusion in African nations. What mobile money can do is tap into those underbanked or unbanked Africans which the banking sector failed to bring under their financial umbrella. The growth of mobile money in Africa is also expected to help the continent tackle its unemployment problem. With the issue of more licences, more players will enter the mobile money market and will lead to the creation of various jobs within the sector.