Boost for Mobile Banking for the Unbanked Through New Partnership

11 March 2010

For Immediate Release

Housed at the World Bank, CGAP Technology Program working for poor people to get safe ways to send, receive, and save money

For CGAP
Jim Rosenberg
jrosenberg@worldbank.org
+1 202 473 1084

Una Gallagher Pulizzi
upulizzi@worldbank.org
+1-202 473 8869

For DFID DFID Press Office
+44 (0) 207 023 0600

WASHINGTON and LONDON (11 March 2010) – CGAP, an independent microfinance center based at the World Bank, today announced a new partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to expand ongoing global efforts to use information and communication technologies (ICT), especially mobile phones, to increase access to basic financial services for the poor. In addition to a 2006 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CGAP funding, DFID will provide GBP 8 million to the CGAP Technology Program. “Giving people access to financial services can help them lift themselves out of poverty. I am therefore pleased that the DFID-supported Technology Program at CGAP will work to improve poor people's access to financial services such as payments, savings, loans, and insurance.

The Program will also support the delivery of social protection payments in developing countries and make the transfer of international remittances cheaper and safer," said UK Minister for Development Gareth Thomas. Today's announcement builds on more than six years of work on mobile banking and access to finance. In that time, CGAP has provided financing and technical advice to projects with more than a dozen providers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to develop innovative banking solutions, and conducted in-depth policy assessments of 13 countries.

CGAP has also published a series of white papers focusing on business models, client needs, and regulatory conditions, which can be accessed at http://www.cgap.org. “The idea that a mobile phone could replace a bank branch has gone from concept to reality at an amazing pace. Now with support from DFID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it’s time to get beyond the early excitement of the past few years and shift into the build-out stage for mobile money so that millions of poor people everywhere get access to formal financial services,” said Stephen Rasmussen, manager of the CGAP Technology Program. Communication technologies such as point of sale devices and ATMs, but also notably mobile phones, are increasingly connecting poor people to the financial grid. With CGAP technical support and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funding, CGAP’s project partners in India, Mongolia, Pakistan and the Philippines have created the world’s first mobile phone-enabled savings accounts aimed at reaching poor, unbanked people. “Savings is a highly neglected financial service available to the poor, and despite what most people may think, the poor do need a safe place to save money,” said Amolo Ng’weno, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Mobile phones and other front-end technology solutions can bring low-cost financial services to poor people, giving them opportunities to build financial security and improve their lives.”

Notes to editors

  • A CGAP survey in 2009 found there are 2.7 billion people globally who don’t have basic banking service, which matter because poor people need safe ways to send, receive, and save money.
  • DFID’s best known grant for financial inclusion was a challenge grant to Vodafone which helped create M-PESA, which in three years has reached more than 8.5 million people with mobile money transfer in Kenya. Key areas of focus for the technology program at CGAP
  • Helping policymakers develop regulations that support effective use of mobile technologies for financial inclusion •Harnessing existing government payments and remittance flows to provide banking services to large numbers of unbanked people •Improving broad industry knowledge and practice in the areas of customers, agents, business models and regulatory frameworks
  • Demonstrating innovation and scale in branchless banking projects resulting from CGAP’s technical assistance and/or grant funding Facts about CGAP
  • CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) is supported by over 30 development agencies and private foundations who share a common mission to alleviate poverty, and is housed at the World Bank.
  • CGAP serves as technical advisor to the G-20 in the G-20's efforts to promote the use of technology to increase financial inclusion.
  • Since 2007 CGAP has shaped 14 projects in nine countries with governments, telecom operators, microfinance institutions, and commercial banks.
  • CGAP has led or partnered with others on market research covering more than 6,000 mobile money users in Kenya, Philippines, Brazil and South Africa.

 

About CGAP
CGAP is an independent policy and research centre dedicated to advancing financial access for the world's poor. It is supported by over 30 development agencies and private foundations who share a common mission to alleviate poverty. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP provides market intelligence, promotes standards, develops innovative solutions and offers advisory services to governments, microfinance providers, donors, and investors. More at http://www.cgap.org.  

About DFID The Department for International Development is the UK Government's department that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty. You can find out more at www.dfid.gov.uk