Exploring Kenya's active mobile money users

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

The report, which was done by the Helix Institute of Digital Finance, was recorded based on data collection in September and October 2013.

Its findings were that while Kenya’s number of mobile users was vast, local agents earn less than their counterparts. Kenyan agents also generated the highest number of transactions per agent.

“The number of transactions per day is provided for by M-Pesa, Airtel or in other countries, maybe MTN, and it is very high in Kenya, [at] 46 per cent versus 31 per cent in Tanzania. But when you look at profit, Tanzania takes it because of multiple revenue streams,” Mike McCaffrey, head of digital financial services at MicroSave Africa, told CNBC Africa.

According to another report by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kenya is also the global leader in mobile money, where mobile network operator Safaricom launched M-Pesa in 2007.

There are approximately 16 million users of mobile money in Kenya, conducting over two million transactions every day. Other operators are Airtel, Orange and Essar.

“A lot of the leading roll outs here have really done a lot on the operational level to make [mobile money] a success. Everything from providing high levels of support to the agents, to understanding the evolution of how they evolve over time,” McCaffrey explained.

In Uganda, 63 per cent of agencies offer MTN services, and in Tanzania 55 per cent offer services for Vodacom, making Safaricom the most dominant provider with regard to agency in East Africa at 90 per cent.

“After seven years of market development, Kenya continues to be dominated by one strong provider with an army of exclusive agents. These agents are well supported, and generate very high transaction levels, but only offer a limited suite of products and have fairly low profits,” the Helix said.

Tanzanian agents earn 95 per cent in revenue from multiple providers, due to high levels of non-exclusivity.  Ugandan agents report higher revenue than Kenyan agents at 78 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

There are more than 74,000 mobile money agents in Kenya, according to the Communications Commission of Kenya.