Mobile Money ecosystem in West Africa with Alix Murphy

Mobile Money in West Africa
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Watch a webinar recording with Alix Murphy to find out how to take international payments for your West Africa startup and how to take advantage of the mobile money ecosystem for your startup’s success.


  • Getting money from one business to another or collecting from clients is a major challenge.
  • The financial infrastructure is not developed at all in Africa.
  • Businesses across Africa hold a lot of cash in hand.
  • The market for mobile payments is for most of the economy but especially the income people that don’t have bank accounts.
  • Mobile money is also used by the big and established firms – while they have access to bank accounts, their clients or partners might not.
  • Businesses use mobile money in their day-to-day operations, for example when an employee is sent to the market to buy some goods but dosen’t have enough money with him he can get a transfer from the office. Paying with cash also brings other inconviences – carrying large bundles of cash.
  • Nigeria has the 5th fastest growing mobile penetration rate in the world.
  • Most of the internet in use in West Africa (ECOWAS) is 2G and even in 2020 it’s expected that only 40% will be 3G in West Africa.
  • There are more than 270 mobile money services. These are pre-paid mobile money accounts that are linked to a mobile number.
  • For the users of mobile money, the entry barriers are very low – users don’t need a bank account or a smartphone.
  • The services are not run by banks or micro-finance institutions but rather by telecoms operators.
  • Mobile money is mostly P2P, however there is growth seen now in other areas too, such as direct in-store payments, bill payments, school fees and a whole range of other services.
  • There has been a massive global growth in active mobile money users:
    • 2012 had 30 million users
    • 2014 the number was at 103 million
    • Latest figures from 2015 reveal 134 million active mobile money users
  • West Africa has seen an enormous growth in agents where people can top up the accounts and also West Africa has seen the most growth in P2P mobile money usage on the continent.
  • Mobile money is now linked to 19.6% of the connections in the West African region
  • The regions needs to be viewed individually by each country, Nigeria for example has not picked up yet in the adoption of mobile money.
  • Governments are also starting to see the benefits of mobile money and are creating initiatives. A great example is the Ivory Coast secondary schools that take school fees by mobile money.
  • Mobile money solves all kinds of on-the ground Africa specific problems.
  • Mobile money is a regulated sector, it depends on the exact country, some fall under mobile regulations.
  • Nigeria has lacked behind in the use of mobile money in comparison to the rest of Africa due to the regulation giving the initiative to the banks instead of the telecoms. This is changing now and Alix expect interesting things to start happening in Nigeria soon.
  • West African governments are looking at collecting taxes utilizing these type of services.
  • West Africa is seeing a lot of development in cross border remittances.
  • WorldRemit hasn’t seen much challenges in accessing the market – the demand for remittances is massive.

About Alix Murphy Senior Mobile Analyst, WorldRemit

A leading Mobile Money specialist, Alix helps build and support commercial relationships with telecoms operators all over the world. Before WorldRemit, Alix was at the GSMA, where she analysed trends in Mobile Money and digital identity, and consulted mobile operators on revenue opportunities.

She has on-the- ground expertise of the telecoms sector in regions as diverse as sub- Saharan Africa, Latin America, North America, East Asia and South East Asia. In her early career, Alix spent several years in international development, including at the Grameen Foundation and Aga Khan Foundation.

Find out more about WorldRemit here.

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