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Social affairs Updated: 08 Sep 2018

Electronic money is being used more in developing countries

According to the Global Findex (2014) report, only 15% of adults worldwide use electronic money, and a lot of them live in developing countries.

Low-income countries account for 70% of total mobile accounts in the world (15%). It is an illuminating piece of data, which displays a map showing who opts for this type of electronic money, according to data from Global Findex (2014).

Sub-Saharan Africa is the geographical area in which the use of electronic money is most widespread, and represents almost 80% of the existing electronic money accounts.In second place, and trailing quite far behind, is Latin America and the Caribbean, with 12%.

But what characterizes them and conditions the use of this kind of money?


1. Electronic money, which became operational in Kenya and spread throughout the region from there, operated in an uncharted regulatory territory. Was the issuer a financial institution or a telecommunications company? Although Safaricom operated as a telecommunications company, a mutual relationship with financial regulators immediately ensued, which served as a prototype for other countries in the region.

2. The lack of a broad financial sector to meet demand for financial services.

3. The heavy reliance on domestic and foreign remittances from the region may also have been a good reason for electronic money to succeed

Besides these geographical differences, gender inequalities also emerge in this report. More men have a mobile account than women:17% vs. 12% respectively.

Another of the gaps is in education. Level of studies as well as income does make a difference: people who have completed secondary education or higher studies have double the amount of mobile accounts (20%) than those with primary education or below that level (10%).

Referring to income, 18% of the richest people have a mobile account, compared with 10% of the poorest people

However, age does not seem to be an obstacle as there are not many differences among users who are mature adults compared to younger adults