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Tanzanians Overtakes Kenyans As Top Mobile Money Users In East Africa
By Kevin Mwanza Published: July 3, 2014, 02:31am
Tanzania has overtaken Kenya as the top mobile money user in East Africa despite Kenyans having used the service for longer a survey by the GSM Association showed on Wednesday.
Mobile money relies on, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), a simple, text-based data-transfer protocol used on mobile networks. And it is being used for everything from day-to-day transactions to tax payments, and from insurance to savings.
GSMA, a trade association of mobile carriers, ranked Tanzania ahead of Kenya with a mobile money use among its adult at 44 percent in 2013, higher than the 38 percent of adults who used the service in Kenya.
Kenya’s pioneer mobile money transfer service M-Pesa, by telcom service provider Safaricom, is now just one of 242 mobile money providers in over 89 countries, which now support over 203 million mobile money accounts, GSMA said.
Tanzania’s increased use of mobile money stems from the fact that only 14 percent of the country’s adult population have bank accounts compared to over half of Kenyan adults. In December alone, Tanzanians conducted 99.9 million transactions worth a combined total of $1.8 billion), CIO East Africa reported.
The GSMA further notes that mobile-money accounts now outnumber bank accounts in nine African countries, namely Cameroon, DRC, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Leo Mirani, a writer for Quartz, said mobile money is getting more traction faster in Tanzania than in Kenya due to it being used for more than just its primary function of sending and receiving money.
“Mobile money isn’t much if all it’s being used for is money transfer. Businesses should be able to accept mobile money payments–all they would need is a mobile phone,” writes Mirani.
“But integrating mobile payments into business accounting can be a hassle. And several mobile money providers restrict the service to within their own networks, so you can’t pay someone who uses a different service.”