As mobile money continues to gain traction in the country, recent data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) reveals that the value of these transactions have reached 56.8% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). It’s an increase from 48.7% witnessed in 2020 and its predicted to surge to 68% by the end of this year.
In 2021, mobile money transactions were valued at KES6.7tn ($61.6bn) against a GDP of KES12.1tn. During the period from March 2022 to October 2022, the number of Kenyans actively using mobile money increased by over 6.2 million. This growth was largely due to the introduction of free transactions, including the transfer of sums below KES1,000, which sparked a rise in the monthly volume and value of person-to-person transactions. These increased from 162 million transactions worth KES234bn to 440 million transactions worth KES399bn, representing growth of 171% and 71% respectively.
On top of person-to-person transactions, the monthly volume and value of transactions between mobile wallets and banks also saw significant growth. These increased from 18 million transactions worth approximately KES157bn to over 113 million transactions worth KES800bn, representing growth of 527% and 410% consecutively.
Kenya’s financial regulator – CBK, reintroduced charges for transactions made between mobile money wallets such as MPESA and bank accounts on 6th December 2022. This followed their removal in March 2020 as part of emergency measures introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19. Banks and payment service providers are however retaining the fee waiver on the transfer of sums below KES100. The move has raised concerns that it may drive people back to using cash and disrupt the cashless economy that has been growing in Kenya. Notwithstanding these concerns, many experts believe the rise of mobile money was a positive occurence for the country’s economy