Mobile money and financial inclusion in Africa: Emerging themes, challenges and policy implications

Ellis L.C. Osabutey*, Terence Jackson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Mobile money is purported to promote financial inclusion. The growing number of studies have largely focused on transactions and related benefits with limited attention to emerging challenges, policies and initiatives that address the relative needs of different stakeholders. Consequently, little has been done to probe the ‘bottom-of-the-pyramid’ paradigm that underpins these assumptions. There has been inadequate endeavour to examine ways that empirical research could shed more light on these challenges and how to overcome them. To address these gaps, this study reviews the emerging literature on mobile money that explores both benefits and challenges. From our study three main themes emerge that suggest areas where challenges to the efficacy of the mobile money-financial inclusion link still appears not to have been adequately addressed by policymakers: ensuring integrity, privacy and security; addressing resource and infrastructure constraints; and integrating stakeholder benefits. Yet we suggest merely addressing these challenges does not go far enough in safeguarding the needs of local communities, as major stakeholders. Evidence from our study suggests little direct benefit to the poorer sections of local communities, only to the strata above and to elites and external stakeholders. This has implications for development and social change through technology adoption.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123339
Number of pages13
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume202
Early online date22 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2024

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