Exciting times are ahead for the M-Pesa system, as Vodafone has announced their plans to expand the service to Ghana in the near future. It comes as no surprise that Ghana would be at the top of the priority list for mobile payment providers, as over 6 in 10 people have no access to a bank account.
M-Pesa Expanding To Other Countries
It is not the first time M-Pesa is expanding its services to a new country. At the time of publication, Ghana marked the 11th country of operations for the mobile payment service provider. By September 30, 2015, M-Pesa accounted for 23.4 million active users on the platform, which is a clear indication of why these alternative financial options are so important.
Vodafone did not choose Ghana by accident either, as the company conducted a successful trial run in the country earlier this year. Furthermore, there is the potential for adding 15 million M-Pesa users to their growing customer base over the next few months. Obtaining a bank account, or access to financial services through other means, is all but impossible.
M-Pesa will operate under the “Vodafone Cash” banner in Ghana. By reducing the need – and risk – for citizens to carry around cash at all times, the mobile payment solution puts users’ minds at ease. As is the case in most African countries, There are more Ghanaians who have access to a mobile phone compared to the number of people owning a bank account.
As part of this expansion, Ghanaians will be able to send and receive money through their mobile devices in the country, but international money transfers might be coming soon. M-Pesa international transfers are possible between Tanzania and Kenya, creating the first “cross-border’ use case for residents.
M-Pesa statistics indicate a strong uptrend in the number of transactions made on the platform. Compared to the numbers of last year, there were 26% more M-Pesa transactions in the six months prior to September 2015. A total of 2 billion individual network transactions has been recorded during this period.
Is It Good or Bad For Bitcoin Adoption?
That question is rather difficult to answer. Despite being an obvious candidate to bring financial services to the African continent, there seems to be very little interest in Bitcoin itself right now. Mobile solutions, like an M-Pesa, are far more favorable, because it’s easier to use for real-life purchases and expenses.
Bitcoin still has a long way to go in Africa, although there is a sliver of hope to be noted as well. As more and more citizens become accustomed to the concept of mobile payment systems, Bitcoin could eventually be embraced in its mobile wallet format. After all, Bitcoin transactions will work cross-border no matter what, as long as there is some form of Internet connection.