More mobile phones than bank accounts in Uganda

Uganda is a unique country in many ways. This landlocked East African republic is bordered by no less than five other nations: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Tanzania. While its official language is English, Uganda boasts several vernacular ones and a wide range of ethnic groups, which all come together in a population of nearly 38 million.

Natural resources and agriculture are among the biggest drivers of the rapid economic growth and development experienced by Uganda in recent times, yet just 29 percent of the adult population has access to financial services such as bank accounts. Uganda is alone among Sub-Saharan African countries in this sense – its inhabitants are extremely open to using mobile money services rather than banks.

Stepping stones to financial inclusion
As mobile phone usage is more widespread in Uganda than possession of bank accounts, mobile financial services can act as stepping stones for the 71 percent of the country’s population to become financially included.

The number of people in Uganda currently using mobile money services is about 38 percent, with 21 percent considering themselves satisfied users. 62 percent said they are aware of mobile money and its benefits and 45 percent said they know how it works on some level. However, only 40 percent have tried to use mobile money services.

While issues pertaining to the preconditions of mobile money exist, such as the fact that around 16 percent do not own a SIM card and there are considerable concerns over network performance, we detected mainly positive impressions associated with mobile money based institutions.

Mobile network providers are seen as the top preferred service provider as a mobile money agent; a stand-alone kiosk the preferred mobile money agent. 24 percent told us that say that they would prefer to save in a mobile money account.

Read more about Uganda and ways to encourage mobile money usage in the Ericsson ConsumerLab report Financial Services for Everyone with data based on the responses of 6,215 participants aged 17–59 years.

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Today we feature a post first published on the Ericsson’s Mobile Services blog.


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