Across the developing world, the revolution in mobile telecommunications technology is driving massive changes in access to financial services. Currently, there are 2.7 billion “unbanked” people in developing countries (.pdf). They have few effective ways to save money; accessing credit and transferring money is difficult and expensive; insurance is a dream. Yet, to break cycles of poverty, the poor need access to affordable and versatile financial services.
The rapid uptake of mobile phones, even in remote areas and among the poorest of the poor, has the potential to significantly increase financial inclusion. The Grameen Foundation estimates that nearly 40 percent of the unbanked now have access to a cell phone (.pdf). Mobile money -- the ability to conduct financial transactions like money transfers, savings and payment through cellular services like SMS -- is also expanding rapidly. More than 100 mobile-money systems have been deployed in emerging economies, with 84 of them implemented just in the past three years. Today, fully one-quarter of Kenya’s GDP flows through M-PESA, a mobile-money system launched in 2007 that has achieved the greatest penetration. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Diplomatic Fallout: U.N. Serves as Perfect Alibi for Big Power Inaction in Unfixable Crises
- South Africa’s Zuma Faces Double Bind on Troubled Economy
- East Africa’s Neglected Weapon Against Terror: Rule of Law
- Diplomatic Fallout: Putting Need Before Geopolitics on Post-MDG Development Agenda
- Strategic Horizons: Iran Deal Opponents Have Forgotten the Logic of Arms Control