Financial Services in Ivory Coast: Women to drive mobile money growth for telcos post-pandemic.

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

May 19th, 2021, 10:00 AM-

  • COVID-19 boosted financial product usage in Ivory Coast especially mobile money.

  • Surprisingly, women are driving the increase in Mobile Money use in the country

  • While COVID-19 acted as an accelerant for financial products, focusing on women can drive sustained growth for telcos post-pandemic.

COVID-19 boosted financial product usage in Ivory Coast especially mobile money.

According to a Kasi Insight survey on the impact of COVID-19 on consumers in the Ivory Coast during the pandemic, the usage of financial products (investment products, insurance products, loans, credit cards, day-to-day banking, savings account/products, savings pocket, and mobile money) increased. The monthly survey that tracked over 4390 respondents from April 2020 to December 2020 reveals that a vast majority of Ivorians use mobile money and its usage has increased significantly during the pandemic.

During the first year of the pandemic, usage of mobile money increased by 12%. In April 2020, 76.51% of respondents surveyed were looking to increase or maintain mobile money usage. By December 2020, that percentage had increased to 88.08%. This is no surprise as Sub-Saharan Africa has long been the crown jewel of mobile money. At the end of 2018, there were almost 400 million mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa, more than anywhere else in the world, making up almost 50% of consumers. The pandemic poured fuel on the fire as risk aversion towards cash increased due to health concerns and social distancing measures.

Most telcos, including MTN Cote d’Ivoire, specifically waived mobile money transaction fees and subsidized internet services during the pandemic to support consumers during the pandemic. Furthermore, Orange Bank launched an Orange Bank Africa in Cote d’Ivoire in 2020, allowing more Ivorians to access mobile money options.

Interestingly, Women are Driving the Increase in Mobile Money Use in the country.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile usage was lower amongst women with 70% saying they will maintain or increase their use of mobile money, compared to 79% of men. The usage of mobile money amongst women has grown consistently from April to December 2020 reaching a peak of 89.42% in August before settling down to 88.13% in December.

While the increase of usage amongst women was more pronounced and steadier, mobile money usage among men increased but to a lesser extent. It increased slowly to reach a peak in December 2020 at 88.06%.

Between April to December 2020, 18.13% more women used or increased their use of mobile money, while only 9.06% more men did.

While COVID-19 acted as a booster for financial products, focusing on women can drive sustained growth for telcos post-pandemic.

As of the end of last year, our research shows that women are now on track to surpass men when it comes to mobile money use. This is a significant development for the telcos as we are heading towards recovery and the post-pandemic. Why are women the driving force behind mobile money usage? It’s not just women, it is women entrepreneurs. Mobile money plays a significant role in financing and operating for women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to World Bank research, there is evidence that the “positive relationship between mobile money use and investment is largely driven by women-owned firms and is statistically insignificant for men-owner firms”.While there has been an expansion of women using mobile money due to the pandemic, there are still barriers and difficulties for women to access and use mobile money. Therefore, telecommunication companies should focus their resources on removing those barriers and supporting women’s access to mobile money post-pandemic.


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