Zim shines on financial inclusion rankings

HARARE - Zimbabwe has been ranked sixth in the world as the economy with the highest number of residents with a financial account who use mobile banking, data from the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database shows.

According to the World Bank (WB) figures, Zimbabwe is on sixth position with 35,6 percent account holders making a transaction using a mobile phone in the 12 months prior to the collection of the 2014 data.

The data shows the percentage of financial account holders, aged 15 or older, who made a transaction using a mobile phone in the previous 12 months.

Botswana is ranked number one in the report after the country registered the highest number of residents with a financial account who use mobile banking.

In Botswana, just under 45 percent of account holders used a mobile phone to transact during the year.

Following Botswana in second place is Kenya, where 39,7 percent of account holders reported making a mobile transaction.

On third place is Uganda, completing an African top three on the list — 38,5 percent of Ugandan account holders have made a transaction on a mobile.

Tanzania came fourth, with 37,7 percent of its mobile phone owners having transacted using the devices in the past year, closely followed by Côte d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe.

After Zimbabwe is South Korea which has 53,3 percent and the United States of America with 34,3 percent of mobile transactions as Sweden and Australia complete the top 10.

A WorldRemit analysis found that remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa are projected to reach $33 billion in 2015, with growth in the region expected to be at 0,9 percent.

While central bank statistics indicate that the country’s unbanked money currently stands at $3,3 billion.

After the hyperinflationary period of 2008/9 many Zimbabweans shunned the formal banking system when their monies were devalued and locked in banks.

There are 13 countries worldwide where 10 percent or more of adults have a non-bank mobile money account, and they are all in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 700 million people leaving the ranks of the “unbanked” in the past three years, according to a WB survey.

In five countries — Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe — more adults have a mobile account than a traditional one, according to the WB.

However, the 140-country WB survey of 150 000 adults conducted last year and also released last week, highlighted the huge challenges that remain in meeting a goal of getting universal access to financial services by 2020.

Twelve percent of all adults in sub-Saharan Africa use their phones for non-bank financial transactions, by far the highest rate of any region in the world, according WB report.

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