9/30/2020
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Somalia’s mobile money penetration high, data costs lowest in Africa- Report


Tuesday July 28, 2020
by Vanessa Murrey

Hormuud telecoms, one of the largest telecommunication companies in Somalia, has revealed its aim to reach 100 per cent of the population with its mobile money financial solution.

Over the last 10 years, the telecommunications industry in Somali has grown substantially to accommodate about 11 different providers in the market. Due to the healthy competition, the average cost of 1GB data bundles have fallen to the lowest levels in Africa and the Middle East.

Despite the long history with civil unrest, Somalia seems to have gotten a good grip on its business community.
 
Mobile money penetration in the country’s urban centres stands at over 80 per cent and at 55 per cent in the rural areas. A 2018 world bank report showed that almost three-quarters of the population above 16 years old use mobile money. In comparison, Nigeria, which is the continent’s largest economy, had only 39.7 per cent of adults with mobile money accounts in 2018.

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Mobile money has withered various challenges in the country, including the widespread notion that 95 per cent of the country’s local currency, the Somali shilling, is thought to be counterfeit. The adoption of electronic money has provided a strong foundation for business in the country. It has created employment, propelled a steep rise in local investments and narrowing of the gender gap in the financial market.

A recent report by the World Bank also showed that with the availability of faster internet services in Sub Saharan Africa, the probability of an individual landing a job improved by between 7 and 13 per cent.

Estimates also suggested that the faster the internet, the higher the employment rate even for those who did not complete primary school.

“It’s an incredible achievement that Somalia has one of the lowest data costs for countries in Africa. And it’s a testimony to the huge strides that the country has taken to increase our digital infrastructure, making it easily accessible and affordable to the most vulnerable members in our communities,” said Hormuud’s CEO, Ahmed Muhamud Yuusuf.

“As CEO of Hormuud, we will challenge ourselves daily to achieve this target, providing the best services and prices to our customers. The next step in our journey is to reach 100% of mobile money penetration. We know that mobile money is vital to Somalia’s post-COVID development, allowing urban and rural communities to flourish, empowering the most vulnerable and widening financial inclusion.”

“More recently we’ve also seen how incredibly important access to telecoms and internet has been to public health during the COVID-19 outbreak.”



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