Market System Assessment of Digital Financial Services in WAEMU

Understanding the e-money market in West Africa in the context of new Central Bank guidelines

While uptake of digital financial services (DFS) in West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) has been growing over the past few years, it is still relatively limited compared to its potential, and mobile money activity rates remain relatively low. In 2015, Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) issued new guidelines governing e-money issuance and distribution that highlight the possibility for Mobile Network Operators to issue e-money themselves by creating a separate entity for e-money issuance.

Given these developments, CGAP sought to update its understanding of the market for DFS in WAEMU and share learnings with key stakeholders. Broadly, this study aims to do the following:

  • Map the market system for DFS in WAEMU, including key actors in supply and demand, rules (e.g., regulations for e-money, telecommunications, competition), and supporting functions (e.g., agent networks, information providers);
  • Identify systemic constraints or root causes that explain why the DFS market is currently not serving the needs of low-income populations;
  • Identify opportunities for triggering systems-level change.

About this Publication

By Vasudevan, R., Lahaye, E., Riquet, C. & Seck, T.