Mobile Banking Usage is Very High in Africa


Most people associate moving money around from your cell phone with tech-heads of the modern world, but new research shows that sub-Saharan African countries are actually some of the most active users in the world. This region is the only area where more than 10% of adults report having a mobile account with the World Bank.

The survey was conducted by Global Findex, an international project by Gallup and the World Bank to determine how people save and access their money.

To be specific, 12% of the Sub-Saharan region’s adults have mobile accounts with the World Bank, compared to the global average of 2%.

45% of respondents only have mobile accounts to transfer money to other users. In places like Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe, more adults have mobile accounts than actual bank accounts.

Interestingly enough, there is no gap in mobile banking usage between rich and poor adults in Kenya and Tanzania, even though the rich are significantly more likely to have an account at a bank. This may largely be due to the limited access to banks in rural communities as well as the growth of mobile phone usage in developing countries.

The increase in mobile banking could balance gender equalities in Sub-Saharan Africa, where women are often left out of financial decisions. The survey indicated there was no noticeable difference in the use of mobile banking between males and females.

“It allows a woman for the first time not to come home with money in her pockets, but to come home with the money on her phone,” Leora Klapper, Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group, told BuzzFeed.

A recent study from Pew Research showed that 15% of Africans own a smartphone compared to 65% who own a basic cell phone. These numbers are practically reversed in the United States, where 64% own a smartphone and 25% own a basic cell phone.