Between then and now, that number has doubled, beating the forecast off by about 150 million.. 50% mobile penetration: a critical mass with years of growth ahead
Only 20% of Africans have a bank account. Which is scary for a continent with a 1.2 trillion GDP. But as we’ve seen, 50% of Africans have a mobile phone. These extends beyond just putting banking on their mobiles. We needed to think of how the mobile could include Africans in all forms of civic, cultural, social and financial infrastructure.
How Mobile Overcomes the Limitations of Emerging Market Environments How? Mobile empowers individuals to overcome the infrastructural and environmental limitations/drawbacks of where they live. 1. If you think snail mail is slow compared to email in your country - come to Africa! It’s even slower. Which gets serious when families need to be notified on time sensitive events, for example, a wedding.. or a funeral. Slow mail excludes members of society from a society that’s working and planning faster every year. However, getting your mail eventually is one problem - but living in a rural area that doesn’t have roads is another. No roads mean you don’t have an address. No address means you can’t get mail, even very slow mail.. SIM cards have literally become the de facto postal addresses in the Least Developed areas of the emerging world. 2. Rural and community areas in Uganda don’t serve the growing population of 22 million - a phenomena not uncommon in emerging markets. As a result, trade and society have come to rely on the humble bicycle (Boda Boda) transport that can take on the treacherous paths that go where roads as yet do not. But if consumers can bank, trade and purchase over a wireless broadband platform - citizens can take part in the country’s economic boom even if the road to their house doesn’t exit yet. (ironically, the Boda Boda service absorbs school dropouts - thus bad roads have a more complex causal relationship with decreasing literacy than previously expected - which brings us to the third point) 3. Africa still has a very low literacy rate, and without it one cannot read instructions or use cost effective means of communication, like SMS or Whatsapp. Worse, it holds innovation back because until critical masses adopt a technology nothing moves forward fast. The good news is few devices are optimised for low literacy like a mobile phone with voice activation as its core reason for being. The reason for Mobile Money’s remarkable penetration rate of 50% into a continent of 1 billion people is because it solves daily challenges of living in an emerging market.
Remote mobile payments , where the phone acts as a “store of value” wallet and money is transmitted over the mobile network from one wallet to another, without the sender or receiver needing a bank account.