Many African firms made moves last year to expand into mobile money services. For example, Kenyan and South African telecom companies Safaricom and Vodacom acquired the M-Pesa brand and its product development and support services from the UK’s Vodafone, offering opportunities to expand M-Pesa into new African markets. Airtel Africa entered a partnership with MoneyGram, enabling Airtel Money customers to receive MoneyGram transfers directly into their mobile wallets from more than 200 countries across the world.

While the Covid-19 pandemic may have been a catalyst for digital transactions on mobile platforms in 2020, mobile money providers have not necessarily reaped the commercial benefits of this development, the report says. Consumer spending, the major driver of mobile money revenues, has reduced, and many mobile money services offered fee waivers to reduce handling of cash during the pandemic. M-Pesa’s half-year revenue for April to September 2020 dropped by 14.5%, for instance.

Still, the report states that “having proven itself resilient in the face of sudden and unpredictable change, the industry will emerge from the pandemic more active, integrated, and collaborative.”

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