Monday, September 29, 2008

GSMA, IDB partner on mobile financial services

Global body for the mobile industry, the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) is partnering with the world largest regional development institution, funds economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to accelerate the deployment in the region with focus on mobile financial services designed to meet the needs of the unbanked and the poor, reports CHARLES OKOH.

The joint initiative would provide financial and technical support to mobile phone operators and partner banks for the implementation of up to five mobile financial services systems in different countries throughout the region.

According to the Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA, Mr. Michael O’Hara, the partnership would enable those without bank accounts to access full range of financial services using their mobile phones.

“Working with the IDB will enhance our efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean to enable the many people in the region, who currently do not have bank accounts, to be able to use their mobile phones to access a full range of financial services, including fast, simple and cost-effective mobile money transfer services,” he said.

O’Hara also said that GSMA expects that increased access to low-cost and secure financial services in developing countries would improve the standard of living for many millions of people, by increasing economic opportunities and lowering the cost of many activities.

Also speaking IDB’s project team leader, Mr. Frank Nieder, said the partnership would boost access to financial services to the poor and unbanked.

“The initiative with the GSMA is part of a larger IDB effort to increase access to financial services to the poor and the unbanked, in which mobile financial services will play an important role. The GSMA will be an especially effective partner as it brings extensive expertise and experience on how to promote and implement mobile financial services as well as close relationships with mobile network operators in the region, who generally have not worked with the IDB before,” he said.

Champion Infotel notes that till date, there has been little development and implementation of mobile financial services for the unbanked and poor in Latin America and the Caribbean, where estimated 65 per cent of the adult population do not have bank accounts. Mobile financial services in other parts of the world have proven to be a transformational technology, providing lower cost, better quality and more secure financial services to large numbers of the poor and unbanked.

The joint initiative, to be coordinated under the GSMA’s Mobile Money Transfer Programme, will take advantage of the GSMA’s work with technology vendors and computer systems designers to establish a hosted mobile wallet platform that will enable the mobile operators to pilot financial services. Several operators and financial institutions have already expressed a strong interest in participating.

The IDB will be responsible for the overall execution of the initiative, to be financed in part by the Knowledge Partnership Korea Fund for Technology and Innovation.

Latin America, which receives $60 billion in international remittances each year, would benefit greatly from the availability of services that enable individuals to use their mobile phones to manage money.

Eight of the 34 mobile operators participating in the GSMA’s Mobile Money Transfer programme have operations in Latin America. Several other Latin American operators have also expressed an interest in joining the Mobile Money Transfer initiative.


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1 comment:

Shelly Smith said...

Pretty well said..!!!

Shelly Smith..
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