Why mobile money uptake is low in Africa

By Kokumo Goodie, Cape Town, South Africa

Why is  the uptake and adoption of mobile money slow and sluggish in Africa? An expert has given insight into the reasons, stressing that unless these challenges are addressed, the situation will remain so.

Group Vice President, Executive Business Line, Mobile Authentication, Glesecke and Devrient, Wolfgang Decker identified the absence of a global regulatory standard, trust and low awareness as some of the factors inhibiting the adoption and wider penetration of mobile money services in Africa.

Speaking at the International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa, venue of the just concluded annual AfricaCom, Decker said though the future of financial inclusion is hinged on mobile money, a lot still needed to be done to put the continent on the global limelight.

He spoke on Securing the Future of Mobile Money, and stressed that while banks manage cash inefficiently, there is high level of economic uncertainty arising thereto.

In what he described as impossible world, he said proactive regulation, traceability, low influence on economic uncertainty, fragmented identity were the order of the day.

He said traditional payment models, fees for payment, disoriented system for services payment and the predilection to hold liquidity were also the features of the impossible, adding that the cloud world where money moves round in real time through the internet is the best.

He said the success of mobile money services in some countries has thrown up the issue of security. "The increasing success of mobile financial services also leads to increasing fraud potential from cyber space for consumers and services providers," he said, adding that the growing number of users/mobile devices, growing number of mobile channels and growing number of mobile money solutions were challenges confronting the mobile money on the continent.

He also blamed the growing level of transaction without a concurrent growth in standards and regulation as other challenges.

He said the advent of mobile money marked a turning point as it threw up agents to manage cash real time, brought about transparency, adding however that global harmonisation, pricing/cost were still opaque without fraud-less tolerance level.

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