Kenyans made mobile money transactions totaling Ksh.6.24 trillion between January to November 2021, the Central Bank of Kenya has revealed in fresh data released January 10.
This represents a 20 percent increase in mobile money transactions when Kenyans moved Ksh.5.20 trillion via phones same period in 2020.
The surge in transactions came despite the government removing COVID-19 subsidies at the onset of 2021.
When coronavirus hit Kenyan shores in March 2020, the government made all mobile money transactions worth Ksh.1, 000 and below free as well as bank and mobile transactions.
This boosted usage and saw eight million subscribers join the service as cashless transactions increased.
Upon removal of the subsidies, usage of the service was expected to decline or slow down but the opposite has happened.
Kenyans shied away from hard cash, in strict compliance with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 health protocols to avoid contracting the deadly virus which has so far claimed over 5,400 lives in the country.
During the 11 months, the highest ever mobile money transaction in a month was recorded in November at Ksh.623.24 billion as the number of agents hit a high of 299,053 and subscriptions at 67 million.
According to the Central Bank Supervision report published in 2017, the total number of banking agents in Kenya stood at some 61,290, with the top three banks accounting for 90 percent of the agents. Equity Bank had the largest number of agents at 28,663 at the time more than twice that of KCB with 14,466.
M-Pesa has over 160,000 agents across the country.
In the same year, Safaricom’s M-Pesa revenue surged 48.5 percent to record a whooping Ksh.13 trillion up from Ksh.9 trillion.
By the end of 2018, there were 456 million unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa – an increase of 20 million over the previous year and representing a subscriber penetration rate of 44 percent.
Around 239 million people, equivalent to 23 percent of the population, also use the mobile internet on a regular basis.
Kenya’s mobile penetration grew 11 percent between January 2020 and January 2021, to 59.24 million mobile connections or a penetration rate of almost 109 percent.