The value of mobile money transactions hit the 2 trillion shillings mark for the first time, even as mobile penetration shot to the 100 percent mark according to the first quarter sector statistics report for the financial year 2018/2019 by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).
The report released in December 2018, covering July-September 2018 indicates that 730.2 million transactions valued at 2.027 trillion shillings were recorded during the period up from 611.3 million transactions valued at 1.9 billion shillings the previous quarter.
The number of registered mobile money agents grew by 5.6 percent from 206,904 in Q4 (April – June 2018) to 218,495 in Q1 (July – September 2018). The number of active mobile money transfer subscriptions grew by 0.4 percent in Q1 to reach 29.7 million from 29.6 million in Q4. This implies that 64 out of 100 inhabitants had access to and used mobile money transfer services during the period.
M-Pesa money agents had the largest share of the total registered mobile money agents with a 74 percent share. Airtel money agents came in second with a 12 percent share while T-Kash and Mobile Pay agents had 9 percent and 3 percent shares respectively.
Of the 2 Trillion shillings valued in money transactions for the period Q1, 78 percent of the value was through M-Pesa transactions. Equitel money contributed to 21 percent of the total value of mobile money transactions while Airtel money, T-Kash, and Mobile Pay amounted to a total of 1 percent value.
Mobile money has been transformational in Kenya and has the potential to similarly benefit the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. A study conducted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science found that increased access to mobile money has reduced poverty in Kenya, particularly among female-headed households.
The rapid expansion of mobile money has lifted an estimated 2% of Kenyan households (some 194,000) out of extreme poverty. It has also enabled 185,000 women to move out of subsistence farming and into business or sales occupations.