(Ecofin Agency) - With the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, the Kenyan government waived fees on mobile money transactions over a certain amount. Now, although these incentives have been lifted, people have kept their MoMo habits.
Mobile money transactions reached KSh6,246 billion ($55.1 billion) between January and November 2021. The Central Bank reported 1.9 trillion transactions on 67.15 million active accounts.
The value of mobile money transactions over the first eleven months of 2021 is nearly 20% higher than that over the whole year 2020 (KSh 5,213 billion). The number of transactions also grew by about 19% compared to the 1.6 trillion in 2020 for 66.01 million active accounts.
According to the Central Bank of Kenya, October recorded the highest number (190.06 million) and value (KSh 618.14 billion) of transactions. In 2020, December was the biggest month with KSh605.29 billion in value and 181.37 million transactions. The increase in the volume of mobile money transactions has continued in Kenya despite the removal of Covid-19 subsidies. On March 16, 2020, a series of emergency measures were adopted by the Central Bank of Kenya to facilitate mobile money transactions during the lockdown. These measures included waiving fees for mobile money transactions of up to KSh1,000, waiving transfer fees between mobile money wallets and bank accounts. These exemptions were lifted on January 1, 2021.
During the exemption period, service providers deplored a decrease in revenues. For example, in its FY2020 financial report, Safaricom reported a 2.1% YoY drop in M-Pesa revenue, with a 14.5% YoY decline in the first half of the year. The company announced a recovery later, in the first half of 2021, after the exemption ended.