24 August 2009

Africa’s mobile banking revolution

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M-Pesa
Millions of Africans are using mobile phones to pay bills, move cash and buy basic everyday items. So why, asks the BBC, has a form of banking that has proved a dead duck in the West been such a hit across the continent?

“However, the mobile phone revolution continues to leave large parts of the continent behind.

While countries like Kenya, South Africa and much of North Africa are approaching 100% mobile penetration, in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, and Rwanda it is less than 30%.

Low incomes, illiteracy and large signal black spots are all obstacles to the sale and use of mobile phones. Taxes, which can be as high as 30% in countries like Tanzania and Uganda, are also a disincentive.

Telecoms experts say that many African markets remain too risky for mobile phone companies, which have targeted more stable and wealthy countries first. “

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