REPORT: Nigeria to lead mobile payment sector by 2017

Africa has led the world into the forays of mobile money. A new report by Juniper Research shows that Nigeria will be leading in mobile payments by 2017, by having 54 percent share.

M-Pesa has been a focal point when talking about mobile payments especially in East Africa. The service now boasts of nearly 20 million users.

The proliferation of mobile phones in Africa has fuelled this drive. Mobile payment also brings together the Near Field Communication has seen other services being launched in Africa.

Beba Card, a transport payment card launched by Google in Kenya, hopes to disrupt fare payment through physical means. Already, one major bus company in Nairobi has embraced the service.

Nigeria’s mobile payment space has been filling up with players including MTN Mobile Money, U-Mo Mobile Money and PocketMoni. The huge market that is represented by the most populous country in Africa makes for a breeding ground for mobile applications such as mobile payments.

The report by Juniper Research notes that, “14 mobile payment operators licensed in August 2011 recorded 35,971 transactions valued at N227.92m (US$1.4m) in January 2012. This is expected to grow geometrically as awareness increases.”

According to industry analyst in Nigeria, approximately 20 million people in Nigeria will be introduced into the formal banking system through mobile money. This is expected to happen over the next three years.

In November last year, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that Africa had 40 million mobile money users. This number is definitely expected to rise as even banks embrace mobile money transfer.

Back in January this year, Emmanuel Okogwale, principal consultant, Mobile Money Africa, told Business Day, that Nigeria would be a force to reckon with in terms of Mobile money payments. The research by Juniper confirms this.

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