The explosion of smartphones and feature phones on the African continent has been pegged as the biggest technology trend in Africa due to its impact on the everyday lives of people. It is therefore unsurprising that as Africa embraces these new technologies, the continent is fast gaining dominance on the mobile banking stage.
According to the GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association), Africa has experienced the fastest uptake of mobile device use in the world, with the number of mobile subscribers expected to rise to half a billion over the next five years. The Global Findex shows mobile banking may help historically unbanked regions in sub-Saharan Africa gain financial access.
Smartphones and feature phones have revolutionised the financial landscape in Africa with banking and payments across Africa by making banking more accessible.
In Kenya mobile money use has increased sharply over the years with nearly 70 percent of adults in Kenya reporting using their mobile phones for money transactions.
Businesses are also experiencing the benefits as more customers enjoy the ease at which they can make affordable and safe transfer of money or payments.
The well know example of this growing trend includes M-PESA in Kenya, which currently has more than 18 million active users and the popular Paga, based in Nigeria.
There is still room for growth - Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) revealed that between 90 million to 100 million Nigerians with mobile phones do not have bank accounts and also do not have access to financial services unlike fellow African countries like Kenya and South Africa who are embracing on the opportunity.
With new innovations in technology taking place almost every day, the African market place is becoming an industry without boundaries. Mobile phones therefore, are reshaping the banking landscape, as they can be used as a payment device which will empower the unbanked, allowing them to use their devices as payment platforms.