The mobile currency, the beginnings of the bank of the future in Africa?

Digital changes the rules of the game in all sectors of activity: emergence of new business models, new players, new products and services. The banking and financial sector is no exception; It is particularly concerned with the rapid development of mobile money, especially in Africa. Does mobile money prefigure tomorrow’s bank in Africa? Will non-agency banks take precedence over existing ones? Will all types of financial services with mobile phone range and accessible to all be seen to make financial inclusion an achievable goal in the short term? The M-PESA service in Kenya, which makes Africa the continent of choice for mobile money, paved the way: by 2014, almost 60% of adults have mobile accounts; In 2013, total M-PESA transactions accounted for more than 40% of Kenya’s GDP. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global market for mobile money was estimated at $ 12.34 billion and is expected to reach $ 78 billion by 2019.

According to a World Bank study on access to banking services published on 15 April, one third of holders of monetary accounts in sub-Saharan Africa have a virtual purse associated with their mobile phone. In Africa, mobile penetration reaches or exceeds 10% in 13 countries; In 5 of them (Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe) mobile accounts exceed traditional bank accounts. Today, money transfer services using the mobile phone are the most important and are developing all over Africa: banks, mobile operators, money transfer operators and new players Compete to control this market. However, many other services are already available via the mobile phone: bill payments (water, electricity, telephone, other businesses), access to micro-insurance, micro-credit, and micro- Savings, etc. It seems therefore reasonable to think that the most important tool for financial inclusion in Africa will be the mobile phone: around 840 million mobiles by the end of 2013 with a penetration rate exceeding 60%. Nevertheless, there are problems that can hamper the development of mobile money and finance.

First, the multiplicity of actors and solutions does not favor the interoperability of systems. And the lack of interoperability does not simplify the lives of people who use these solutions, which can be a barrier to rapid adoption and penetration. Second, the risks of criminal use are real: fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing remain scourges against which appropriate and internationally recognized mechanisms must be put in place. Clearly and more broadly, all regulatory and regulatory issues are worthy of scrutiny and scrutiny in order to create a secure and conducive environment for the rapid development of reliable and universally accessible banking and financial services. Beyond these considerations, it is important that at the political level, financial inclusion strategies take into account the mobile phone as an essential vector of access to banking and financial services for a major part of the population. There are therefore many questions about the evolution of the banking and financial systems and the role that the various actors could play there: what role for mobile operators and for other non-banking players? The strategic responses to these questions will help set the stage for a move towards the banking and financial systems of the future; They will be open, reliable and accessible to all segments of the population. Samba Sene, April 2015 WISS AFRICA Sambasene@wissafrica.com