Mobile Money Ecosystem in Somalia

Mobile Money Usage

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.

Geographic differences

  • Urban users tend to use more mobile money services, than their rural counterparts.
  • Puntland and Somaliland lead in the usage of mobile money services.

Withdrawing funds

  • 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.

Percentage of subscribers using the service to
Frequency of use and transfer volumes per mobile money service
Total number of mobile money transactions per month, for all mobile money services
Withdrawing once an important amount is transferred into the account
Mobile money mostly received from…
Distance to the nearest mobile money agent