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Q1 mobile money agent deals hit Sh1.8trn as low spending slows growth


Mobile money accounts hit a new record of 70 million in May, according to new Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Cash handled by mobile money agents in the three months to March grew at a slower pace of 7.2 percent compared to the previous quarter amid increasing prices of consumer goods depressing spending.

The latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) show agent transactions in the period rose by Sh122.7 billion to Sh1.82 trillion from Sh1.69 trillion in the same period in 2021 which had recorded 56.1 percent growth compared to the same quarter in 2020.

March recorded a record high value of transactions to Sh664.3 billion.

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.

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The eased up growth in the quarter follows high prices of fuel, food, imported raw materials, and industrial goods due to the effects of the Russia and Ukraine war.

Over the period, the value of card payments dropped by 4.6 percent to Sh174.18 billion compared to Sh182.64 billion in the same period in 2021.

According to Stanbic’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in March, the pressure of higher prices saw many customers in March was choose to reduce their spending, leading to a much slower increase in sales across the private sector.

However, there was increased business activity as firms rushed to increase their supplies on worries that prices could worsen.

“On the flip side, input purchasing continued to increase sharply as firms looked to stockpile goods amid worries that supply could worsen. A further improvement in vendor performance helped inventories to rise at the fastest pace since November 2020,” PMI stated.

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The CBK’s data also shows the number of active agents under M-Pesa, Airtel Money, and T-Kash mobile money services in March was 302,837.

This means 2,994 agents closed shop from a record high of 305,831 in September last year.

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