ICT sector jumps 13pc on mobile money, Internet

A safaricom subscriber uses MPESA money transfer platform in Nairobi. (Courtesy)

Kenya’s ICT sector expanded by 12.9 per cent over the past year boosted by increased uptake of mobile banking and Internet.

Data from the 2019 edition of the Economic Survey indicates the economy and consumers continue to reap benefits of billions in digital infrastructure investments that service providers have made across the country.

“In 2018, the... ICT sector expanded by 12.9 per cent to Sh390.2 billion supported mainly by growth in the digital economy which includes mobile telephony, uptake of e-commerce and penetration of internet,” said the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Value added in the sector rose by 6.6 per cent from Sh109.9 billion in 2017 to Sh117.2 billion with the country’s total exports in the sector growing 10 per cent from Sh1.26 billion to Sh1.38 billion.

Mobile continues to be the driving force of the sector as network operators ramp up investments in new base stations and fibre network rollout to rural and peri-urban areas of the country.

Mobile money transfers grew by 9.5 per cent from Sh3.6 trillion in 2017 to Sh3.9 trillion in 2018 and is on course to cross the Sh4 trillion mark in the fourth quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year.

Subscriptions for mobile money services on the other hand increased marginally from 30 million in 2017 to 31.6 million in 2018 with the value of mobile commerce transactions rising by 87.2 per cent to Sh6 trillion.

This has contributed to widening financial access with latest industry data indicating Kenyans’ access to the formal financial sector has more than doubled in the past decade.

According to the 2019 edition of the FinAccess Household Survey, the number of Kenyans excluded from formal finance has reduced to just 11 per cent of the population.

Formal financial inclusion now stands at 82.9 per cent, up from 26.7 per cent in 2006, while complete exclusion has narrowed to 11.0 per cent down from 41.3 per cent in 2006.

The marked success in bringing more Kenyans into the formal financial system has been attributed to increased partnerships between mobile service providers (ISPs) and commercial banks that has fuelled the growth of mobile banking.

“The ICT sector is characterised by major infrastructure investments, notably deployment of network technologies to facilitate use of fixed and mobile voice and data services,” says KNBS in the survey.

“The value of investment by the telecommunication operators increased by 7.3 per cent to Shs41.5 billion, while that of Internet service providers increased by 73.3 per cent to Shs2.6 billion.” [Frankline Sunday]

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