Kenya and Nigeria Leaders in Mobile Payments

Kenya and Nigeria are the top two countries in Africa to adopt mobile payment technology, according to Standard Bank. “As a percentage of the population, Kenya and Nigeria, are really leading the way in terms of the adoption of mobile payment systems in Africa,” said Standard Bank head of cash management products Sachin Shah. He said that both countries are well placed to leverage this growth potential and the associated benefits.

“Multinational corporations operating in Africa are increasingly looking at ways to eliminate the risk of carrying and transporting cash and the use of mobile wallets to facilitate cashless payments is a cost-effective and efficient way of doing this.” He said Kenya has 1 500 bank branches countrywide compared to more than 40 000 mobile payment agents that facilitate the exchange of mobile money for cash and vice versa. The bank said the number of payments to mobile wallets in Kenya on behalf of its clients increased by 300% in 2013.

In Nigeria, Standard Bank together with two clients launched a mobile payments pilot project. It facilitated over 4bn naira worth of payments this year, putting it at the forefront of the country’s central bank policy of promoting a cashless society. Standard Bank is establishing partnerships with telecommunications companies across the continent, said Shah, adding that the bank is helping to facilitate the adoption of mobile payment technology. Shah said that multinational corporations in the fast moving consumer goods sector are particularly interested in rolling out mobile payment solutions. He said it allows them to distribute products in remote areas without having to take the risk of transporting cash.

CFC Stanbic Bank’s product head for cash management in Kenya Wayne Cook said that mobile payment is becoming a valid substitute for carrying cash in many parts of Africa. “We’re even seeing foreign aid agencies utilising this payment method to conduct their day to day activities. “It’s an easy and safe way to ensure that funds reach their intended recipients, which make it an ideal solution for companies that have large workforces requiring weekly or monthly wage and salary payments.”

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