Mobile Money Landscape in the 12 SADC Countries using FinScope Survey Data

There is no doubt that mobile money is bringing the under-served and the excluded population into the main stream financial services corridors. Based on the FinScope surveys, mobile money is becoming one of the enablers of financial inclusion. In an increasing number of developing countries, a number of poor people are using basic mobile phones to transfer money, paying for goods and accessing some basic financial services. According to the World Bank, mobile financial services are amongst the most promising mobile applications in the developing world. Although FinScope results show that mobile money usage is relatively low (23%) in the SADC region, the trend of usage is coming up fast. FinScope results show that close to 7 in 10 mobile money users are using it as a remittances/money transfer vehicle while 54% for buying airtime. It is encouraging that about 7 million adults (24% of mobile money) store value or save money in their mobile money accounts. Some barriers to mobile money relate to: affordability, perceived cost of mobile money, lack of understanding of mobile money/lack of awareness and no access to cell phones. Besides these barriers, mobile money is becoming a game changer for the landscape of financial inclusion in the SADC region.