Usage of mobile person-to-person payment services in Africa is expected to explode in the next five years, according to a new research report.

ABI Research, an Oyster Bay, N.Y., mobile marketing research firm, said in its report "Mobile Banking, P2P, and Bill Payments" that the number of subscribers to mobile person-to-person services in Africa will reach 96 million in 2015, up from 9 million in 2009.

"We're quite certain that mobile financial services … will prove to be the single greatest economic development toolkit that the developing world, particularly Africa, has ever seen," Mark Beccue, a senior analyst with ABI, said in a press release Thursday. "They will really move that continent, and other parts of the developing world such as India, forward in a big way."

Regulatory issues no longer pose as big a challenge to the development of the services as they once did, but setting up reliable networks remains an obstacle, according to the report.

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