Published by: GSM Association

The potential of mobile phones to revolutionize access to financial services in developing countries is exemplified powerfully by the success of the M-Pesa mobile money service in Kenya. But the apparent difficulty of replicating M-Pesa’s success even in neighboring countries suggests that some contexts may be more receptive to such an innovation than others. In this paper we seek to understand the environmental dynamics affecting the uptake of mobile money. We demonstrate that, aside from strong strategy and good business models, the impact of financial services in developing countries is dependent on the extent of market penetration and the political environments in which they take root.