Financial Inclusion is the Buzz at Dakar Mobile Banking Summit

15 June 2010

For Immediate Release

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

Jeanette Thomas
+1 202 473 8869
jthomas1@worldbank.org

For AFI:
Beth Magne-Watts
beth.watts@afi-global.org
+66 81 916 7300

Merle Wangerin
merle.wangerin@afi-global.org
+66 89 814 3700

Policymakers, businesses focus on new technologies to reach poor people with financial services in Francophone Africa

Dakar, Senegal, 15 June 2010 – Harnessing the power of technology could dramatically increase access to financial services for poor people around the world says CGAP, a microfinance group based at the World Bank, and the Alliance for Finance Inclusion (AFI), a global network of policymakers in developing countries. But it will only happen if regulators and private firms strike the right balance between protecting customers and allowing innovation in branchless banking to flourish—a balance that is now being seen delivering results in some countries, especially in Africa.

“Poor people need a safe way to save and send money, and African innovations like M-PESA and M-KESHO are showing us all how to reach the billion people worldwide who have a cell phone but no bank account,” said Alexia Latortue, acting CEO of CGAP. “Millions of people across Francophone Africa could be given access to safe, low-cost financial services using mobile phones and other technologies, giving them opportunities to manage their financial lives.” With this goal in mind, policymakers and business people from 11 African countries will be meeting today in Dakar, Senegal. The event is the first seminar focusing on branchless banking for high-level policymakers and regulators in Francophone Africa, featuring delegations from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.

“Some of the most innovative policy solutions for financial inclusion have come from Africa and we need to share and learn from these experiences and examples of leadership. We are encouraged to see so many countries present in Dakar. Bringing the perspectives of countries in Francophone Africa will accelerate the exchange of knowledge and best practice and will help identify key opportunities to further drive forward financial inclusion initiatives across these countries,” said Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of AFI.

The 2009 CGAP/GSMA Mobile Money Market Sizing Study found that there are one billion people who do not have a bank account but do have a mobile phone and that by 2012 that number will grow to 1.7 billion, making mobile phones a direct conduit to nearly half of the world’s unbanked. As many as 364 million low income, unbanked people will use mobile money by 2012, generating US$7.8 billion in new revenues for the mobile money industry via transaction fees, improved loyalty, and more cost-efficient airtime distribution.

 

About CGAP
The Technology Program at CGAP works to expand financial services for the poor using mobile phones and other technologies and is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CGAP, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). CGAP is an independent policy and research center 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. Learn more at http://www.cgap.org.  

About AFI
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) is a global network of central banks and other financial inclusion policymaking bodies in developing countries. AFI provides its members with the tools and resources to share, develop and implement their knowledge of financial inclusion policies. AFI connects policymakers through online and face-to-face channels, supported by grants and links to strategic partners, so that policymakers can share their insights and implement the most appropriate financial inclusion policies for their countries’ individual circumstances. For more information, see http://www.afi-global.org.

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