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How has Mobile Phone Penetration Stimulated Financial Development in Africa?


  • Asongu Simplice

    () (Yaoundé/Cameroun)


In the first macroeconomic empirical assessment of the relationship between mobile phones and finance, this paper examines the correlations between mobile phone penetration and financial development using two conflicting definitions of the financial system in the financial development literature. With the traditional IFS (2008) definition, mobile phone penetration has a negative correlation with traditional financial intermediary dynamics of depth, activity and size. However, when a previously missing informal-financial sector component is integrated into the definition, mobile phone penetration has a positive correlation with informal financial development. Three implications result: there is a growing role of informal finance; mobile phone penetration may not be positively assessed at a macroeconomic level by traditional financial development indicators and; it is a wake-up call for scholarly research on informal financial development indicators which will oriented monetary policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Asongu Simplice, 2012. "How has Mobile Phone Penetration Stimulated Financial Development in Africa?," Working Papers 12/026, African Governance and Development Institute..
  • Handle: RePEc:agd:wpaper:12/026

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simplice A. Asongu, 2015. "Law,Finance, Economic Growth and Welfare: Why Does Legal Origin Matter?," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 7(2), pages 30-55, July.
    2. Isaac Mbiti & David N. Weil, 2015. "Mobile Banking: The Impact of M-Pesa in Kenya," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume III: Modernization and Development, pages 247-293 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mas, Ignacio & Radcliffe, Daniel, 2011. "Mobile Payments Go Viral: M-PESA in Kenya," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 32, pages 169-182.
    4. Simplice A. Asongu, 2014. "Finance and Democracy in Africa," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 6(3), pages 92-116, October.
    5. Ndikumana, Leonce, 2000. "Financial Determinants of Domestic Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Panel Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 381-400, February.
    6. Demombynes, Gabriel & Thegeya, Aaron, 2012. "Kenya's mobile revolution and the promise of mobile savings," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5988, The World Bank.
    7. Simplice Anutechia Asongu, 2012. "Bank Efficiency and Openness in Africa: Do Income Levels Matter?," The Review of Finance and Banking, Academia de Studii Economice din Bucuresti, Romania / Facultatea de Finante, Asigurari, Banci si Burse de Valori / Catedra de Finante, vol. 4(2), pages 115-122, December.
    8. Antonio Rodriguez Andres, 2006. "Software piracy and income inequality," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 101-105.
    9. Simplice A., Simplice, 2011. "Why do French civil-law countries have higher levels of financial efficiency?," MPRA Paper 33950, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Enowbi Batuo, Michael & Guidi, Francesco & Mlambo, Kupukile, 2010. "Financial Development and Income Inequality: Evidence from African Countries," MPRA Paper 25658, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Simplice A. Asongu, 2012. "Law and Finance in Africa," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 55(4), pages 385-408.
    12. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-232, Summer.
    13. Simplice A., Asongu, 2011. "New financial intermediary development indicators for developing countries," MPRA Paper 30921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Simplice A. ASONGU, 2011. "Why Do French Civil–Law Countries Have Higher Levels Of Financial Efficiency?," Journal of Advanced Research in Law and Economics, ASERS Publishing, vol. 0(2), pages 94-108, December.
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    More about this item


    Banking; Mobile Phones; Shadow Economy; Financial Development; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes


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