ABUJA - The rate of growth in new and active mobile money accounts in 2023 slowed down compared with the two years before, but sub-Saharan Africa strengthened its status as the global leader for its adoption.

More than half of the world’s 435 million active mobile money accounts — those used at least once in 30 days — are in sub-Saharan Africa, a report by the GSM Association, which tracks such data, said.

East Africa’s share of active accounts was down to 27% in 2023 from 58% a decade earlier while West Africa’s share rose to 19% last year from just 7% in 2013.

Regulation has been a key boost in West Africa. In Nigeria, for example, regulators have licensed companies that are not mobile network operators, like the Chinese apps Opay and PalmPay, to compete with services from telecom giants MTN and Airtel.

This has also been done in Senegal, leading to “significant growth in use cases,” and international remittances, the report said.

In the West African Economic and Monetary Union region, the 60 million accounts opened since 2021 have increased financial inclusion from 56% in 2018 to 71% in 2022, GSMA said.