Mobile money in the world’s developing and poorest regions is transforming lives and transitorily eliminating the need for checking accounts, credit cards – even cash.
In Niger the poorest families are lining up to get free mobile phones from the Word Food Programme. Through these phones the WFP will be distributing the equivalent of $65USD per month to help needy families survive the hunger season — families like Mamoudou’s.
Now her five children won’t go hungry when food is scarce or inaccessible. She tells AlertNet, “This is what my family needs.”
Funds transferred and used for commerce through mobile phones is called mobile money and is a “game changer,” as Citi CEO Vikram Pandit told a recent USAID Frontiers in Development forum held at Georgetown University. He explains that mobile money has “the potential to improve lives, create jobs, catalyze new enterprises and expand financial inclusion, particularly in the emerging markets that are critical to the growth of the global economy.”
Niger is just one example where mobile money technology has been applied intensively in poor nations, more so than in developed ones, because financial systems are underdeveloped in these countries.
In third-world countries most people don’t have basic checking accounts. As a result, using technology to transfer money through mobile phones, people otherwise having no or very limited access to technology are suddenly immersed in it.
This type of technology and access to money begins to equalize societies and breaks barriers where, otherwise, families like Mamoudou’s would not have survived the hunger season.
Interestingly, news of improving life in the third-world is good news, and it’s evidence that the time has come for programs like my Turbo Charged Global Project to be embraced.