Mobile money has become a ubiquitous feature of the global financial services ecosystem. According to the GSMA, 277 mobile money services currently exist worldwide, spread over 92 countries and covering two-thirds of low and middle-income countries. Every month, billions of mobile money transactions are processed.
In Africa, the statistics are just as telling. Indeed, more than 40% of the adult population in seven countries (Gabon, Kenya, Ghana, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe) is actively using mobile money. Not only has mobile money facilitated P2P and P2B payments on the continent, it has also enhanced financial inclusion, by making formal financial services accessible to the unbanked, and stimulated the development of a cashless economy.
Furthermore, its contribution to the economic development of the countries in which it is in use is soaring. For example, according to the Bank of Uganda, US$ 12 billion were transacted via mobile money in the country in 2016, which is the equivalent of nearly 50% of the GDP. The performance of mobile money services is just as impressive in Tanzania and Kenya, and the growth that has been recorded in Ghana suggests that the country is well on its way to catch up with, and maybe even surpass, its East African counterparts. The table below provides convincing statistics pertaining to the evolution of mobile money transactions, in percentage of the GDP, for five African countries from 2012 to 2016.
Mobile money transactions: value (in % of GDP)
Due to its financial potential, mobile money has been identified as a new revenue stream for governments. The popularity and revenue potential of mobile money services – there are 100 million active mobile money accounts in Africa today – have even motivated some banks to compete with mobile network operators for customers. They has also convinced governments and regulatory bodies that mobile money had to be harnessed, with a view to enhancing the abovementioned benefits, and, at the same time, to mitigating the risks associated with its increasingly widespread use in Africa. Indeed, if left unmonitored, mobile money services are likely to become a support for money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a potential source of revenue leakage and a conduit for fraud.
In order to support the governments and the relevant regulatory bodies in the regulation and control of their own mobile money market, Global Voice Group S.A. (GVG) has developed the very first independent electronic mobile money watchdog, the Mobile Money Monitoring (M3) system. The M3 system provides governments with total visibility over the mobile money ecosystem, thus helping them ensure its integrity and security, reap its benefits as a means for financial inclusion and generate additional income.
From a technological point of view, it does so by yielding comprehensive and reliable data that can be used to audit mobile money platforms, effectively oversee all related transactions and protect consumers against issues related to security, quality of service and billing. From a regulatory point of view, the M3 system allows the authorities to monitor and enforce compliance with the relevant laws and regulations, such as the Anti-money laundering laws (AML), the Fight against terrorism financing (CFT) standards and the Know your Customer (KYC) guidelines. It also provides the information needed to better inform the decision- and policy-making process related to the regulation of mobile money.
Mobile money has transformed the lives of millions of people for the better in developing and emerging countries, despite the associated risks and vulnerabilities. Through its M3 solution, GVG gives governments the technological and regulatory means to make mobile money count when it comes to facilitating financial inclusion and enhancing security and integrity of the mobile financial ecosystem.
More information on the state-of-the-art M3 solution can be found here.