Botswana reports massive mobile money uptake


from THABO LEWANIKA in Gaborone, Botswana
Botswana Bureau
GABORONE, (CAJ News) – BOTSWANA’S mobile money market has grown phenomenally, with more than 69,5 percent of the population having active such accounts.

Statistics Botswana reports over 1,6 million mobile money accounts are active, in a population of close to 2,3 million citizens in the Southern African country.

The value of mobile money transactions last year equates to about P36,4 billion (US$2,7 billion), making mobile money transactions an increasingly significant alternative in banking, financial intermediation and access.

The banking sector, like other industries, has over the years undergone disruption to adopt and merge with inventions like the mobile phone.

Botswana telecommunications service providers are on a heated contest to dominate the mobile money market, which close to a decade ago was nonexistent.

Orange Money, offered by Orange Botswana leads the sector. Myzaka by Mascom telecommunications is second.

Statistics Botswana, through its ICT Tracker, reports that the mobile money market has been on a growth trajectory.

“Mobile money subscriptions have been fluctuating over the years,” the agency added.

It noted in the first quarter of (Q1) 2023, mobile money subscriptions stood at 1 811 036 compared to a registered to 1 685 072 in Q4 2022.

“Comparing Q1 2023 to the same quarter of the previous year, mobile money subscriptions are surely gaining traction,” Statistics Botswana stated.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), through its financial access survey, revealed that the number of mobile money accounts per 1 000 adults had grown from 1 115 in 2017 to 2 973 in 2022. The report which was released last month, depicted that the share of mobile money banking to GDP has significantly risen now tracking towards 14 percent of Botswana’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Financial Access Survey also shows that the average number of mobile money agents per 1 000 square kilometers grown from 2,38 in 2017 to 23,.03 last year, further underscoring the sector’s growing significance and uptake among consumers.

The Bank of Botswana projects that the mobile money disruption will spill over to other sectors such as retail.

“The change in the retail payment landscape is driven by technological advancement that responds to increasing demand for faster, more convenient, safe and flexible means of payments and comes with differentiated financial products that meet consumer needs for savings, investment, insurance and credit delivery,” the central bank projected.

– CAJ News


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