Mobile money is widely used across the Somali peninsula. Mobile Network Operators have developed mobile money services that fit well Somalia’s cultural and socio-economic context. Mobile money in Somalia has indeed filled a more traditional banking need; Somalis use mobile money as e-wallets, holding money in the system and saving it for other purchases or transfers, in essence acting as a bank account.
Prevalence, frequency of use and transfer volumes
- Sending and receiving money domestically, purchasing goods, transferring airtime and paying bills are the most commonly used services.
- Salary disbursements and international remittances are less prevalent, but generate important volumes of transactions.
- For purchases between USD 2-300, mobile money are more widely used, while cash remains the main method for smaller transactions.
- Half of mobile money subscribers perform less than 15 transactions per month.
- About 26% of users use mobile money on average at least once a day.
Origin and destination of transactions
- Transactions mostly originate from urban areas. For respectively 89% and 80% of the IDPs and rural populations, the majority of incoming mobile money transfers is sent from urban areas.
- Urban users tend to use more mobile money services, than their rural counterparts.
- Puntland and Somaliland lead in the usage of mobile money services.
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of users do not immediately withdraw or transfer all funds from their accounts once a transfer is received, but rather transfer the money over time for different uses as and when needed.
Availability of agents (focus on subscribers)
- The distance to the nearest mobile money agent is less than 30 minutes for 64% of subscribers. 22% can reach the nearest agent in 30 minutes to 1 hour.