NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyans transacted a record 36 billion U.S.
dollars on mobile phones in 2017, defying jitters arising from
two elections held in August and October.
were an increase of 3 billion dollars from 2016, latest Central
Bank of Kenya figures showed Thursday. In 2016, mobile money use
stood at 33 billion dollars.
The east African
nation had a lengthy electioneering period in 2017, with
political activities stifling business.
The general election
was held on Aug. 8 last year, but President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win
was annulled by the Supreme Court and a fresh poll called on
affected business and consequently movement of money in the
economy but the Central Bank data showed use of mobile money
The highest mobile
money transactions in the entire 2017 were recorded in December,
where they stood at 3.3 billion dollars, thanks to Christmas
The period is
characterized by vibrant spending, with Kenyans using the
service to send money to their loved ones, shop and pay bills,
During the entire
2017, monthly mobile money use averaged 3 billion dollars, with
the least transactions, 2.7 billion dollars, recorded in
The number of people
employed as agents by the several mobile money service providers
surged considerably in 2017, peaking at 182,472 in December,
having risen from 150,000 in January, the Central Bank said.
money subscribers hit 37.4 million at the end of 2017, having
grown by about 4 million people during the period.
Monthly mobile money
transactions, on the other hand, hit a record high of 139
million, from 130 million in January.
“The growth of
mobile money in Kenya is unprecedented,” said Ernest Manuyo, a
business management lecturer in Nairobi. “A number of reasons
can be given, which include intense sports betting and banks
taking their services on mobile phone as they seek to cut
“At 36 billion
dollars, I believe we are almost hitting the peak before use
stagnates. This can be at 40 billion dollars,” Manuyo said.