Kenya’s increased usage of mobile money has cut carbon emissions by 22 kgCO2 per subscriber per year, according to a report by global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.
Calculating the reduction against 6.5 million subscribers who use mobile money transfer daily, this means that Kenya has reduced its carbon footprint by 143 million kgCO2 annually – in terms of fuel that could have been used in transit of money across the country.
The report says that in Africa large amounts of emissions are caused when customers travel around seeking banking services in a continent where infrastructure remains wanting, leading to more fuel consumption.
According to Ericsson’s vice president and head of communications for Africa Mwambu Wanendeya, this is because mobile phone networks have proved more reliable than other financial institutions in the continent.
“Mobile network providers play an active role in fostering the adoption of mobile money to contribute to emission reduction. Network providers have proven to be more accessible than banks; they are in a better position to leverage mobile money as a way to positively impact the environment,” he says.
The report encourages such innovations for the continent, stating that Africa could reduce emissions by 3.55 metric tons of carbon dioxide if the whole continent was to achieve the penetration currently in Kenya with mobile money consumers reaching 161.3 million consumers.
Globally, the consultancy group says greenhouse emissions can be reduced by up to 16.5 percent or 9.1 Gigatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), following proper use of ICT thus saving world economies up to $1.9 trillion annually.
“The potential for information technology to reduce global carbon emissions has been underestimated until now, and that the abatement potential of ICT is seven times the size of the ICT sector’s own carbon footprint,” report stated.