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August 20, 2019

Mobile phones are replacing bank accounts in Africa

It doesn’t look like the hub of an online bank. But that’s what the yellow and blue metal kiosk becomes when Albert Agane locks himself behind the metal bars every day at 6am.

From his perch along a dusty suburban thoroughfare in Accra, the 28-year-old helps fellow Ghanaians withdraw or deposit cash for accounts they operate from their mobile phones. All they need do is text.

Mobile money is the fastest-growing source of income for wireless-network operators like MTN and Vodafone’s Safaricom unit, outpacing data since many Africans don’t have the latest smartphones. They need agents like Agane because ATMs and bank branches are out of reach, or too costly.

“In a [...]

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