M-payments in Zimbabwe total over $6bn

Mobile financial activities in Zimbabwe totalled $6.1bn between 2009 and the end of 2014.

The figures are attributed to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) director of supervision.

In terms of numbers of transactions, it stood at 299 million as of December 31st 2014. The total electronic money balance stood at $60m as of July 24th 2015.

The central bank also believes that electronic payments are expected to reach $50bn by the end of the year as the country’s mobile money sector grows in value and volume.

Norman Mataruka, RBZ’s director of supervision, told a conference on Monday that mobile money industry has grown in leaps and bounds since 2009.

He said: “Mobile phone technology has drastically changed the financial landscape in Zimbabwe. The mobile phone has become a critical service delivery tool and innovation access channel for the banking system.

“The mobile money industry has provided the possibility of outreach, vastly beyond traditional banking networks and at significantly lower costs due to the mobile phone characteristics of ubiquity, convenience, speed, security and lower cost.”

However, Mataruka warned that digital payments need to be secure to continue being successful and have been at risk of ‘money-laundering, fraud, and financing of terrorism’.

He concluded: “The fact that access to mobile financial services cuts across the generality of the population calls for the need to ensure adequate laws and regulation as well as the protection of consumers of digital financial services.”

In other mobile money news, the World Bank found that Kenya had the largest percentage of adults using a mobile phone for money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

68% of Kenyan adults reported using a mobile phone for money transactions, followed by Sudan (52%), Gabon (50%), and Algeria (44%).

The report also found in Sub-Saharan Africa, where traditional banking resources are not widely available due to several problems with infrastructure, mobile banking has expanded to 16% of the market.