Mobile money has become the primary financial instrument in Somalia and Somaliland, reaching a penetration rate of 73% among Somalis above 16 (83% in urban areas, 72% in IDP camps and 55% in rural areas). Given the depreciation of the local currency and lack of other satisfying and accessible alternatives, people and firms rely heavily on mobile money for their daily money transfers, and mobile money services have been acting as a virtual dollarized currency.
Mobile money penetration rate is the highest in Puntland (82%), closely followed by Somaliland (78%). South Central with a 69% penetration rate exhibits high heterogeneity of mobile money penetration among its Federated Member States.
Each zone is dominated by a single mobile network operator. Somaliland is dominated by Telesom’s Zaad, Puntland by Golis’ Sahal and South Central by Hormuud’s EVC-Plus. The lack of interconnectivity across services sometimes requires users to use multiple mobile money services to stay connected.
Younger, literate, more educated and wealthier people tend to subscribe more to mobile money than other sub-groups. Men and urban populations were initially quicker to adopt mobile money, but women and rural populations are progressively catching up.