The current weakness of the banking sector, which the vast
majority of individuals and entrepreneurs do not have
access to, is no longer in line with the continent's growth
It even tends to suppress it by depriving the African
populations of the financial services indispensable to
economic development, such as banknote exchanges,
secure savings and bank credit. The predominance of the
cash currency in trade maintains the informal economy,
weighs on the competitiveness of enterprises and limits
the margin of maneuver of the states for the
implementation of the monetary and fiscal policies.
The current state of affairs can be explained in part by the
lack of national regulations encouraging citizens to be
banked, the lack of financial services adapted to the poor,
and the weak deployment of the network of banks outside
urban centers .
They have not sought to deploy on the vast rural territories
where the population is poor and human density is low,
causing Africa to miss the stage of the material agencies on
which the banking of industrialized countries is based. But the
continent may well have found a technological solution that
allows it not to reach this stage, but rather to jump it. This
solution resides in the mobile phone, which has been widely
adopted by African populations in the last decade, and offers
them the opportunity to access financial services adapted to
their needs and uses: mobile payment
The practice of mobile payment spreading across the
continent, or more precisely that of the electronic purse, that
is, the device for storing currency on an account associated
with the mobile telephone, and The device, money transfers.
Mobile payment, unlike mobile banking, does not imply that
the user has a bank account or has access to the Internet. The
service is developed by the telephone operators, not by the
We will study the impact of mobile payment in West Africa in
general more specifically in 4 countries of the sub-region.
As in other regions of the continent, West
Africa is experiencing a rapid development of
mobile payment, thanks to the increasing
adoption of mobile phone by the populations
in recent years. The process favors the
dematerialization of a growing share of
financial exchanges, in particular as more
complex financial products appear on the
Mobile payment is an electronic payment system that allows a user to make
financial transfers from his or her mobile phone. The operation requires that he
first opens a mobile account with his operator, to whom he provides a copy of a
piece of identification. The account is therefore associated with the mobile
number. The user can credit his account by giving cash to a representative
agent of the mobile operator, who delivers this service either in the agencies of
the operators or in a street kiosk. Once the money is transferred to the mobile
account, the customer can, from a menu accessed by USSD code, perform
several types of transactions, such as transferring money to another mobile
account, purchasing Telephone credits, payment of telephone and electricity
bills or the payment of a television and Internet subscription. The operator
charges this service by paying a commission, paid either by the sender or by
the receiver. This system is a success in Africa, as it allows users to solve the
problem of distance, in particular for money transfers between cities and
countryside, to secure some of the species and avoid long tail Waiting in the
places where the bills are settled. Moreover, the low cost of the agent network
system, which is estimated to be 1000 times lower than that of the material
agencies, ensures the increasing dissemination in the territories of the
infrastructure necessary for the development of mobile payment.
The activity of issuing electronic money begins to emerge in Benin through mobile banking
products. At the end of December 2014, according to the BCEAO data, the number of electronic
wallets was 1097,021 compared to 364,154 at the end of December 2013. Apart from the banks
(four banks are already authorized) Some microfinance players are also interested in electronic
money issuance activities.
The regulatory texts governing the activity of mobile financial services are for the most part
Community texts, some of which have been transposed into the national legal arsenal.
Transactions carried out through mobile financial services have grown significantly in 2013 and
2014, from $ 4.8 million in 2013 to $ 33.4 million in 2014. Reload and re- (72% in 2014), which
means that the primary use of mobile financial services is short-term savings. Other services
used include telephone recharges, person-to-person transfers and purchase orders.
Financial exchanges with foreign countries through these services were limited to the receipt
of funds, but in the second half of 2014, initiatives to send funds to other WAEMU countries
(Togo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ivoire) have been implemented. Efforts must be continued to increase the
public interest in these products and thus contribute to increasing financial inclusion. Indeed,
only 12% of the electronic purse accounts registered at the end of 2014 are active.
The diversification of the use of electronic wallets by widening the scope of acceptors to major
billers such as tax administrations, electric and water companies, telecom operators, should
contribute to the development of these products .
Economic growth is consolidated in 2015 through reforms aimed
at improving the business climate and increasing investment.
• Economic growth in 2015 is, however, confronted with a risk of
a slowdown in activity, linked to the holding of legislative and
• The activity of issuing electronic money emerges in Benin.
Diversification of the use of electronic wallets will be important
to increase the interest of the populations and contribute to
their financial inclusion
Economic growth is consolidated in 2015 through reforms aimed
at improving the business climate and increasing investment.•
Economic growth in 2015 is, however, confronted with a risk of a
slowdown in activity, linked to the holding of legislative and local
elections.• The activity of issuing electronic money emerges in
Benin. Diversification of the use of electronic wallets will be
important to increase the interest of the populations and
contribute to their financial inclusion
Mobile payment has grown in Burkina Faso from 2013.
Transactions are handled by two operators, namely Airtel
Burkina and Telmob owned by ONATEL, the historical
telephone operator. In 2014, total mobile banking
transactions amounted to CFAF 392 billion, representing
6.2% of GDP. These transactions essentially correspond to
shipments and withdrawals of securities. One of the last
significant changes in the system is the possibility for users
to carry out international transactions with Côte d'Ivoire,
in the framework of international exchanges and inter-
operators. Transactions in bill payments, government
transactions, market payments and wages represent barely
6% of the total transactions. It is these operations that
participate in financial inclusion.SO, the margin for
deepening the mobile payment system remains important.
The potential is considerable considering the country's
banking rate of 13%, which is one of the lowest in the
UEMOA. At the end of December 2014, the total number of
active service points (at least one transaction in the last
90 days) was 5,768. In any case, this figure represents as
many direct jobs created by mobile payment.
Title: Distribution of mobile banking transactions in value in 2014
person tu person transfers
Mobile financial services have grown slowly but rapidly. Orange was
the first operator to implement mobile payment in 2008, followed
by MTN the following year, followed by Celpaid in 2011 and Moov,
Qash Services and Wari in (50% in 2014). These operators are now
competing, although the market is largely dominated by Orange
and MTN, which rely on a large mobile phone customer base.
Growth in mobile financial services accelerated from 2011 onwards.
It was fostered by the return of stability following the 2010 crisis, a
high mobile phone penetration rate (95% in 2013) and the strategies
Operators, who have invested in product promotion and the
development of agent networks. In 2013, the number of users stood
at more than 6 million, of which 2.1 million active users, and the
total value of their transactions amounted to more than 1200
billion FCFA. More than 12,000. Floating agents were deployed on
Basic transactions such as deposits, withdrawals and transfers
accounted for 98% of mobile payment transactions in 2013. More
complex services are emerging such as the payment of remote bills,
the payment of wages in the administration and the purchase of
insurance premiums. In addition, clients can now make
international money transfers with several countries in the region
(Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin).
Senegal has seen a marked improvement in its broadband connection over the
last ten years and is positioning itself as one of the countries with high and
stable flow in Africa.
High-speed subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased from 0.01 per 100
inhabitants in 2002 to 0.76 per 100 inhabitants in 2013, compared with 0.09 for
the West Africa region and 0.75 for Africa. The progression is even stronger for
the cell phone. The number of single subscribers increased from 12 per 100
inhabitants in 2005 to 47 per 100 inhabitants in 2014, compared with 44 in West
Africa. Similarly, the percentage of individuals using the Internet rose from 1%
to 20.9% over the same period.
The rate of formal banking in the strict sense remains low. It reaches 5.8% on
average, with a large disparity between the urban environment, where it
reaches 9%, and the rural environment, where it rises to 4.5%. On the other
hand, the disparity is lower between men and women, as it is 6.23% for men
and 5.45% for women according to ADB data.
Faced with the low rate of banking and the availability of broadband
connections, mobile payment offers an unprecedented opportunity for
The transactions concerned are diversified, including both invoice payments
and remittances. At the moment it is essentially the fact of the telephony
operators and minus the banks
Although mobile payment offers more complex financial services than simply transferring
money, such as paying bills for example, the transition to mobile banking still faces a low
penetration of the bank and the Internet.
First of all, the bank is generally not very developed, as shown by the region's banking rate,
which corresponds to the number of people who have subscribed to an account in a formal
financial institution. The analysis of these rates in these countries of West Africa where these
data are available reveals the low penetration of banking services. It is less than one in ten
people in Senegal.
This means that a large majority of people in the region always use cash for payments and
The second factor limiting the emergence of mobile banking is the low Internet penetration,
which is measured by the percentage of individuals using the Internet within a country. This
rate is growing rapidly in the region, but access to the Internet remains low compared to
access to mobile telephony. Between 2001 and 2013, the Internet recorded an average annual
growth of 44% in West Africa, where it reached a regional rate of 21% in 2013. This growth was
accompanied by the growing adoption of Smartphone connected to High-speed Internet. The
penetration rate of 3G and 4G mobile Internet remains low compared to other regions of the
world, but reaches significant levels in some countries. In Côte d'Ivoire, for example, it rose
dramatically from 0.2% at the end of 2012 to 7.3% at the end of 2014. The expansion of
telephones connected to the Internet paves the way for the appearance of products Of banks.
Although the conditions for the growth of mobile banking are not met, several banking operators are
putting in place strategies in this area, in particular by relying on mobile payment experiences.
Financial institutions and mobile operators are putting in place ingenious systems to integrate
unbanked populations into the formal economy via mobile phones. This is the case, for example, with
the Pan-African group Ecobank, which has partnered with Airtel, MTN and France's BNP Paribas, and
BIAO, through their subsidiaries in Africa Of the West, with Orange, MTN and Airtel respectively. For
commercial banks, the main advantage of mobile telephony lies in its ability to penetrate all
environments and to be able to be reached from anywhere. Mobile banking is a powerful tool to offer
savings services to the billions of people around the world who have a mobile phone but do not have a
bank account. Because it is free of geographical constraints, mobile banking has advantages over
traditional banking. It is also immediate, safe and effective. It also modifies the economic model of
the service, in particular by reducing the costs of financial transactions. That is its strength. Not
surprisingly, this type of service is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa. Mobile banking is a powerful
tool for offering savings services. The mobile phone can serve as a virtual bank card and safely store
information about the customer and the financial institution. The SIM2 card present inside most GSM3
phones is actually a smart card similar to a bank card. The PIN4 code and bank account number can be
stored on this SIM card to perform the same functions as a bank card. The mobile phone easily
reproduces the functionality of a point-of-sale terminal: it can be used to obtain a transaction
authorization from a financial institution. The mobile phone can also be used as an automated teller
machine. In fact, it can serve as a point of deposit and withdrawal of cash. Finally, the mobile phone
can be used as an online banking terminal. This provides two basic customer services: instant access
to any account and the ability to make payments and remote transfers. Through these initiatives, the
aim of which is to encourage mobile users to open a bank account, mobile payment participates in the
1- Territorial coverage still inadequate
The enthusiasm for mobile payments in West Africa should
not mask the efforts that still need to be made to expand
coverage in underserved areas. The margin for growth is
significant, as mobile penetration rates, although high at
the regional level, are actually lower in rural areas and
among the poorest populations, which are more difficult to
reach . The market in these four countries is dominated by
four operators (Orange, MTN, Etilasat and Airtel), which
alone account for 65% of the market. The importance of
entry costs, in particular the cost of investments and Of
licensing, the fact that few operators are from the
continent and a strong concentration remains. In order to
favor the development of telecommunications, the
authorities must initiate reforms to better harmonize the
regulation and taxation of the sector.
2- Agent networks: a limited mode of distribution
The expansion of the network of agents allows operators to
extend their services to unserved areas.
The proximity of agents favors financial inclusion and is an
alternative to a shortage of banking networks. However,
this model remains artisanal in its implementation and is
not extensible indefinitely.
The development of networks of agents is hampered by
the need to maintain a sufficient income for those already
operating in the area concerned.
Moreover, the remoteness of agents in isolated areas poses
a problem of cash management and the supply of
electronic money in these areas. This sometimes results in
the unavailability of occasional "credits" to the agent,
which can ultimately discourage customers and raise
doubts about the reliability of the system.
3- interoperability system
Interoperability is defined as the possibility for telecommunication
operators to operate on different networks in terms of information
exchange but also in terms of interconnection between customers.
In general, it is a state regulatory agency that must ensure compliance
with the rules of operability in order to ensure quality service and promote
competition. While the exchange of data between operators is generally
difficult, the conditions for doing so are problematic.
4- the cost of implementing innovative solutions
Administrative procedures are generally complex and lengthy.
This is why paying bills online or by telephone, setting up online
companies, virtual one-stop-shop when setting up a company or official
acts, tele-tax reporting, paying wages and Payment of dues are virtual
services that could revolutionize the public administration in West Africa
and change its relations with users. This process of dematerialization of
administrative acts and public services requires substantial funding which
the budgets of the States of the region can not bear. Nevertheless, the
resulting benefits appear to be more important than the cost of
implementing it. Particularly in terms of governance.
5-An imprecise regulation
The rise of mobile payment services highlights the need for a legal framework
guaranteeing the protection of users and clearly defining the responsibilities of
operators. This need for regulation lies at several levels.
At the operational level, rules should govern payment services like banks. On the
other hand, the prudential rules applicable to banks must also be extended to
telecommunications operators once they provide a financial service.
The storage and use of data collected by operators must take place within a
regulatory framework that guarantees the right of consumers, since the risk that
these data are used for litigious and illegal purposes is great. This risk is magnified
by the fact that these services reach a larger proportion of the population than the
banks. For this reason, the challenge faced by regulators in the region is to
encourage the development of these services to allow for greater financial
Finally, mobile payment services can be diverted from their use and used as a
transit channel for the financing of criminal activities and money laundering
because the purchase of the SIM card is not By the provision of an identity
- Financial Inclusion
Mobile payment, as a gateway to banking, is a financial inclusion
factor for the most marginalized populations in West Africa.
Indeed, as in other fields of social life, the rate of banking
reveals inequalities related to the socio-economic variables of
gender and place of residence. The number of women with an
account in a formal financial institution is, in the region, on
average 20% lower than that of men. In some countries, the gaps
are even larger. For example, the differential is more than 30% in
Burkina Faso. The rate of banking also varies according to the
place of life, with strong inequalities in access to banking
services that exist between urban and rural areas.
In most countries, the gap is on average double for urban
The fact that women and rural populations do not have access to
banking services has an impact on the development of countries
in the region. This situation is not conducive to the
empowerment of women and the modernization of the rural
economy, which are major challenges in the fight against poverty.
Mobile payment, based on technology already available locally,
could gradually strengthen the financial inclusion of these
2- Possible declines in the financial services of other economic
Mobile payments already offer more complex services than
simple deposits and money transfers. However, many
opportunities remain to be exploited in the next phase of
sophistication in which East Africa has already entered. These are
financial products for unbanked people. The MasterCard and
Airtel foundations have set up the credit card service associated
with the mobile account in all four countries. This product will
allow mobile payment users to make purchases both on the
Internet and in stores, but also to withdraw money from the ATMs
of unbanked partner banks for access to a banking-type service.
It reduces the boundary between the bank and mobile payment.
Ultimately, it is expected to revolutionize trade between
producers and consumers (B2C), but it also offers new
opportunities for relations between economic actors(B2B)
3- Mobile as a tool for improved governance
Mobile payment can also contribute to improving the economic governance of African
Particularly in the relationship between governments and citizens (G2P). In several
countries in the region, for example, the salaries of public sector employees are
transferred to a mobile account
4- Support for regional integration
Mobile payment in West Africa first developed on a national basis. Given the importance
of intra-regional financial flows, notably through migratory remittances, this framework is
however insufficient and deserves to be extended to a framework regional.
Faced with these constraints, mobile payment operators intend to make the transfer
operations more competitive, and some have already positioned themselves on the West
African market for migratory remittances. This is the case, for example, with the Orange
Group, which launched Orange Money International in 2013.
This service enables clients residing in Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal to make instant
international transfers between the three countries.
In 2015, the French group developed a partnership with Airtel Money, leader in Burkina
Faso, to extend the service. Thanks to the interconnection of their mobile money
platforms, customers of both brands can make international and inter-operator transfers
between Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. By 2014, MTN and Airtel had already set up a
similar system between the two countries, which form the largest migration remittance
corridor in the WAEMU zone (in 2012, almost $ 300 million was transferred between Côte
d'Ivoire Ivory and Burkina Faso). By reducing transaction costs and delays in these
financial flows, mobile payment offers significant support for the dynamics of regional
Mobile payment also offers new opportunities for extra-regional migratory remittances
5- From mobile payment to mobile banking
Mobile payment could evolve towards that of mobile banking, thanks to
the development of the Internet in the region and the learning of
populations, who are increasingly mastering cellular technology. But things
could change in the near future, in particular under the impetus of the
private sector, which seeks to strengthen Africans' access to the Internet.
World groups as Facebook and Google have already expressed their wish to
contribute to it and are looking for innovative solutions to achieve this,
such as the use of drones to serve as relay antennas in remote areas. At
the level of mobile telephony as well, companies in the sector intend to
accelerate the advent of the Internet, not at the level of networks but of
hardware. Indeed, several operators are involved in smart-phone
promotions in the region, selling low-cost offers in partnership with
manufacturers. More recently, Orange has launched alongside Alcatel and
the Mozilla Foundation, a Specially designed for its African markets, which
includes a smart-phone and a 6-month communication and data exchange
package for less than $ 40. These dynamics, if they reach their goal of
digitization of West African companies, would offer new prospects for
mobile banking via the Internet.
Mobile financial services are an effective
tool to fight poverty and promote inclusive
economic growth in West Africa.
Development partners should provide
financial support to States in the region in
extending the networks needed for wider
dissemination of mobile financial services.
For their part, states should put in place
incentives for private actors who are
willing to invest in infrastructure
Regulators should seek to preserve the
benefits of competition in the sector. It is
therefore necessary to anticipate possible
market dysfunctions, to avoid a slowdown in
current dynamics, to protect the interests of
stakeholders (States, consumers, operators)
and to encourage the dissemination of
innovations to sophisticate products.
The regulation of mobile financial services is a
complex equation, due in particular to the
plurality of actors involved (banks, telephone
operators), possible regulators (sector
regulators, competition authorities, central
banks) Sector. The regulation of the activity
requires a prior analysis of the stakes and the
forces involved, without which unforeseen
obstacles could be erected. It also involves
identifying who is the most relevant actor in
developing, implementing and enforcing it.
To increase the economic and social benefits
of mobile financial services, it is desirable to
encourage the development of more complex
solutions, such as invoice payments, m-
commerce and mobile financial products. This
upgrading involves technological innovations
that need to be encouraged. For example, the
region's states and development partners could
create an investment vehicle dedicated to
financing innovative companies in the sector.
Given the efficiency gains that mobile
financial services provide in economic
exchanges, it is desirable that governments
take ownership of technology to improve
their relationships with citizens.
The regional dimension of the financial flows
of mobile payment, which goes far beyond the
national framework of countries, calls for the
establishment of a regulation on the scale of
Suri T. et V. Jack, “Reaching the Poor: Mobile
Banking and Financial Inclusion”, Slate.com,
Demirguc-Kunt A., Klapper L. et D. Singer (2013),
“Women and Financial Inclusion”, Findex Notes, n°9