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Mobile money payments hit Sh3.7trn in 12 months

mobile money

Mobile user transacts on the M-Pesa platform. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Cash transacted via mobile phones hit Sh3.7 trillion in the 12 months through March.

This was helped by rising uptake of mobile loans, amidst concern that a lot of the advances go into the fast-growing gambling industry.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) numbers indicate the volumes transacted between April 2017 and March 2018 increased by Sh219 billion from Sh3.48 trillion in a similar period a year earlier.

Upswing in mobile commerce, including growing popularity of easily accessible but relatively expensive mobile loans, has in recent years driven growth in mobile payments.

The CBK does not break down the share by mobile operators but Safaricom’s M-Pesa controls more than three quarters of the transactions.

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National wealth

The payments in the period are equivalent to nearly half of Kenya’s national wealth – gross domestic product (GDP) – which stood at Sh7.75 trillion last December.

“M-Pesa is the tail that wags the dog, and it’s being felt everywhere in the world today,” former CBK governor Njuguna Ndung’u said last month.

“It has generated a very vibrant economy.  Even the taxes are being designed using that payment platform, and even government revenues are being directed to specific targeted areas (via mobile money platform).”

March posted the highest ever monthly value at Sh337.11 billion, representing a Sh16.93 billion rise over a year earlier.

Transactions value

That pushed the value of transactions in the first three months of the year to nearly Sh960.95 billion, an increase of Sh61.89 billion compared with Sh899.05 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

Mobile payment accounts rose to 39.34 million in March 2018 from 33.92 million a year earlier while agents increased to 196,002 from 157,855.