Kampala. The amount of money transacted through mobile money payments or mobile banking grew by Sh8.5 trillion in the year 2015.
This demonstrates that the platform is now the fastest growing means of payments and Ugandans have continued to embraced it over the years.
Bank of Uganda (BoU) director financial stability, Dr Charles Augustine Abuka, in a recent interview with Daily Monitor said: “The amount of money transacted through mobile money in the year ended December 2015 was Sh32.5 trillion, an increase from Shs24 trillion in the previous year.”
The growth in mobile banking has been phenomenal. Dr Abuka said as at December 2015, there were 21.1 million registered customers on mobile money. “This is an increase from 18.8 million registered customers in December 2014,” he said.
Computed statistics at BoU show that in 2014, the average monthly number of transactions in the last quarter was 46 million, worth Shs2.1 trillion. The Central Bank said mobile money therefore has a high potential to foster financial inclusion in Uganda.
Growth in mobile money has surpassed that of the traditional banks in terms account holders. And according to Dr Abuka, as at December 2015, Uganda had 25 licensed commercial banks with a total of 581 branches and 850 ATMs
In a separate interview, senior manager PricewaterhouseCoopers in Uganda Martin Bamukunde said the growth of mobile money compared to commercial banks is not unique to Uganda or East Africa for that matter.
Mr Bamukunde added: “Particularly, the growth in mobile money in Uganda can be compared to the success of M-Pesa in Kenya. Mobile money provides basic financial services including deposit, withdrawal, remittance delivery and bill payment and has especially been successful in reaching low-income earners and the rural poor.”
The growth in mobile money is a combination of both technological innovation and an explosion in the number of access to mobile phones in Uganda.
“The enormous amounts of money that are transacted through mobile money (over 30 per cent of GDP) will continue to be of interest to commercial banks,” Mr Bamukunde said, adding that both the number of account holders and the amount of money being transacted through mobile telecommunication is ever growing.
In April 2015, the World Bank said as per its 2014 Global Index from 2011 to 2014, 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions, or mobile money service providers, and the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped 20 per cent to 2 billion adults, globally.