There are more mobile money subscribers in Kenya than the actual population that was revealed by the Census 2019 data.
Data from the Census 2019 conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the Kenyan population is currently at 47.5 million but Mobile Money subscriptions data have revealed something totally different.
According to an EFG Hermes survey, about 58.4 million Kenyans are Mobile Money subscribers which are about 10 million more as compared to KNBS’ 47.5 million.
EFG Hermes report revealed that the number of Mobile Money Subscriptions have increased significantly over the last ten years.
Concurrently, mobile money transactions have also increased hitting 1.8 billion shillings in 2019 up from 2.5 million shillings in 2007. The gross values increased to 4.3 trillion shillings from 14.8 billion in 2007. This represented 44 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product.
The increase of Mobile Money subscriptions and transactions can be attributed to a couple of factors including the increased smartphone penetration in Kenya.
A report in 2019 revealed that Kenya is the leading African country when it comes to smartphone users as the country has 91 percent of mobile subscriptions as compared to Africa’s 80 percent.
Communications Authority of Kenya identified Safaricom as the main contributor to the mobile money subscriptions and transactions through its mobile money platform M-Pesa.
Almost every minute, there is an M-Pesa transaction taking place be it sending or receiving money, paying for goods and services, withdrawal of money from M-Pesa agents countrywide and this has led M-Pesa to be named as the leading mobile money service in Kenya.
“While M-Pesa continued to dominate digital payments, it has had to share the digital credit space with a number of banks and non-bank lenders,”said CA.
Safaricom’s M-Pesa boasts 88 percent of Kenya’s mobile money subscriptions, despite having a 75 percent share of mobile money agents.
Non-bank lenders have also increased in recent years with Kenya Financial Sector Deepening (FSD Kenya) revealing that over 100 mobile lenders are currently in the country.
Some experts, however, point out that most users of the digital lending apps are low income earners with the high interests charged on the loans barring most people from going for them.
The Central Bank of Kenya is still considering whether it should allow the Digital lenders to self-regulate themselves or not.Meanwhile,Majority of Kenyans have been complaining that the digital creditors are overcharging loan interests on them and are calling for the regulator to take prompt actions as soon as possible.