Out of Africa: Financial Innovation
We’ve made the world a depressing place. Everywhere you look, all the good stuff is buried under a thick and powerful layer of crud. Sort of like an endless mall parking lot. Seedlings push through it every now and again. You can’t even see them from a distance and if you stepped on them, they’d be dead. But you know how it is with seedlings. In time they’re going to destroy the whole damn lot. What follows is one of those seedlings. Keep an eye on it.
Africa pioneers mobile bank push
Mobile financial services in the developing world could be worth $5bn by 2012, say analysts. . . . More than one billion people in the developing world have access to a mobile phone, but no bank account. . . . [CGAP] also expected more than one in five to use their mobile to access banking services, creating a market worth up to $5bn (£3.05bn). . . .
One of Africa’s first mobile banking system[s], M-Pesa, launched in Kenya in March 2007. A network of more than 7,000 agents – mostly shopkeepers – was set up to take deposits and issue cash, with users authorising payments on their mobile phone using a Pin code. That service has now expanded to include Tanzania and Afghanistan with plans to launch in India, Egypt and South Africa.
If we can keep this out of PayPal’s grubby monopolistic mitts, maybe some of this newfangled convenience could trickle all the way down to us. It should go without saying that we, and the rest of the world, will have to do some serious anti-spam and anti-fraud work as this gets more widespread. But you know what? That’s doable.
(Personal note: I’m back from vacation, hiatus, and general out-of-the-loopiness. Sort of. I may become loopy any time again so long as the weather is nice. And it’s always nice here in sunny Southern California.)
mobile banking, microfinance, Africa