Financial technology in Benin: Mobile accounts exceed those opened in banks

The acquisition of smartphones, androids, etc. has sparked a debate in Benin about the rivalry between mobile phone companies and banks. Currently most Beninese users predominantly rely on mobile payments to send and receive money in their country. As a result, the use of electronic money has grown exponentially over the last five years in the country, and consequently, mobile money accounts outnumber those opened in the country’s banks.

As a matter of fact, mobile money is used to pay bills, receive salaries and pay for goods and services. This confirms the findings of the World Bank’s ‘World Development Indicators 2017’ report which states: “A traditional bank account may be inaccessible to most Africans, but the phone enables millions of people to have access to mobile services”.

Also, agreements between the Beninese government and GSM operators allow mobile money services to cover an even broader client base in the country. They include giving mobile money grants to beneficiaries of the EYP (Youth Employment Project), and giving microcredits to the poor (Micro Mobile Credit of the National Microfinance Fund).

To sum up, Benin is still more predisposed to taking advantage of technological innovation by facilitating access to financial services through digital technology. Fintech’s contribution to the mobilization of savings and other financial transactions is becoming more and more a reality that deserves particular attention of business and government leaders.