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Rules favoring banks said to curb mobile money growth in Africa

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Africa has a reputation for being on the vanguard of mobile money services, but regulations forcing mobile operators to partner with financial institutions are strangling further growth in the sector, say industry players and market analysts.

Recent remarks by Airtel Nigeria CEO Segun Ogunsanya sparked a new round in the debate over mobile money regulations. Ogunsaya has called for a review of mobile money rules in the country, saying expansion of mobile financial services has been slow in proportion to the jump in mobile data traffic. The problem, he said, is that the services are being led by banks instead of telecom companies.

Ogunsanya wants regulators to lift restrictions on telecom firms’ involvement in mobile money and allow the sector to be led by telecom companies. This will allow the market to reach its full potential, help expand retail banking and drive financial services for the large population of people who do not have bank accounts, he said.

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