CGAP, an arm of the world bank, along with Grameen Foundation, the non-profit focused on microfinance, and mobile operator MTN Uganda, are to rsearch and develop mobile financial services for poor users in the developing world. The three partners will provide US$1 million in backing for the project. The objective is to build on existing research already undertaken by Grameen’s Application Laboratory (AppLab) in Uganda as well as leverage MTN’s Mobile Money service. The joint announcement was made at the end of last week’s Mobile World Congress.
The partners say 2.7 billion people in the world, mostly in developing countries, do not have a bank account because poorer communities are underserved by existing financial institutions whose services are targeted at higher income groups. Hence the opportunity for mobile money services to fill this gap. Some such services already exist but there is room for more, say the three organisations.