Market News

Mobile money deals rise 48pc


A mobile phone user makes an M-Pesa transaction. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Cash handled by mobile money agents grew 48 percent in the seven months to July, highlighting the ongoing economic recovery from the coronavirus-induced financial hardships.

Fresh data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that mobile money agents handled Sh3.8 trillion, up from Sh2.6 trillion in the corresponding period last year.

This means that the agents handled more than half-a-billion shillings per month on average, growing by Sh55.35 billion in July to Sh587.98 billion.

Kenya has slowly been easing restrictions imposed last year to curb spread of the virus, leading to a rise in demand for services and goods that in turn spurred the growth in mobile money deals.

The CBK in July said that the economy is on a steady recovery path from the pandemic economic troubles, which bodes well for trade and personal earnings that drive mobile money usage.

“The economy is expected to rebound in 2021, supported by the continued reopening of the services sectors including education, recovery in manufacturing, and stronger global demand,” CBK said in the latest sitting of its Monetary Policy Committee in July.

The growth has also been driven by the reopening of schools from March and ongoing recovery in other sectors like hospitality, construction and transport.

CBK’s push for cashless payments to curb spread of the disease also boosted the amounts that agents handled as individuals continue to minimise use of hard cash.

The transaction volumes for mobile money in the seven months to July represents the highest growth in similar period of a year since 2015.

The number of active M-Pesa, Airtel Money and T-Kash agents has also maintained a steady rise from 287,410 in January to 303,718 in July, underlining the growing demand for the outlets across the country.

Mobile money platforms were, in the formative years, used primarily for person-to-person cash transfers but are now used for payment of services and goods, a shift that has led to the growth in the amount of money moved through the wallets.