October 07, 2010

African mobile money transfers will exceed a total value of $200 billion in 2015, accounting for some eight percent of the continent's gross domestic product, according to a report released Wednesday by Pyramid Research.

As user trust in mobile money systems grows, and more products become available, the market grows, says Pyramid's report, "Mobile FInancial Services in Africa: MBO Business Models and Market Forecast." A preview of the report is available online.

"In many developing regions, including Africa, the availability of formal financial services is limited to certain geographic and income ranges, often leaving the majority of the population to rely on unreliable and costly informal channels," says Jan ten Sythoff, Analyst at large for Pyramid Research. "Key market players, banks and mobile operators in particular are keen to address this opportunity."

The report analyzed 65 live networks in 14 countries, and Pyramid expects 42 of them to have launched a mobile money service by 2013. By 2015, Pyramid forecasted, there could be as many as one in five African people registered for mobile money services.

Regulations vary country by country and impact which services can be offered, by whom and in which way," ten Sythoff says. "Low literacy rates, which can also be a determinant of text usage, can also impact adoption, and lastly, the existence of widespread and low-cost alternative money transfer services is also a factor."