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Report: Africa leads the way for mobile money services

Several African mobile operators — such as Vodacom Tanzania and MTN Uganda — are now generating more than 10 percent of their revenues from mobile money.

New data from Juniper Research has revealed how service providers are benefiting from the boom in mobile money transfer services with $2 billion in revenues forecast for this year and $4 billion annually until 2018, according to a press release about the report.

The new research, "Mobile Money Transfer & Remittance: Domestic & International Markets 2015–2020," pointed to Africa as the leading market. Several African mobile operators — such as Vodacom Tanzania and MTN Uganda are now generating more than 10 percent of their revenues from mobile money, according to the report. Meanwhile, Safaricom’s M-Pesa service, the trailblazer in the sector, recorded mobile money revenues of more than $330 million in the latest financial year, making it the most successful mobile or online money transfer service worldwide.

According to the research, recent surges in both transaction volumes and values were being driven by increased implementation of both cross-border and intranational remittance interoperability. The research cited the traffic uplifts engendered by recent agreements between Safaricom and MTN (for the Rwanda-Kenya corridor) and by national interoperability agreements in markets such as Tanzania and Pakistan, according to the press release.

The research also highlighted a shift in service provider requirements, with the majority now seeking to deploy smartphone applications in tandem with unstructured supplementary service data)/interactive voice response mobile money solutions, thereby futureproofing them in anticipation of greater medium-term smartphone adoption.

However, the research cautioned that while inadequate regulation still constrained growth in a number of markets, in many cases low adoption or activity rates could be attributed to poor decision-making by service providers.

"There are too many instances where service marketing is inappropriate or incorrectly targeted; where the message simply isn’t reaching the desired audience," Dr. Windsor Holden, the report's author, said in a statement.