Technology Salon

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a discussion at the intersection of technology and development

How Mobile Financial Services are Transforming the Economics of International Development

Terms like mobile money, mPayments, and M-PESA are all the rage in International development these days, but what do they really mean for the national development of countries we attempt to help?

Menekse Gencer of mPay Connect will lead us in a discussion of mobile financial services, the full gamut of finance that is now taking place on mobile phones: mobile payments, mobile microfinance, and mobile banking.

m-PESA She will showcase ways in which mobile financial services are (and will be) radically changing emerging economies, shifting the economic landscape in ways we are just now starting to see but as yet cannot fully understand. Here is one example of that shift:

  • mPay Connect research shows M-PESA saves 3 hours per day for every Kenyan subscriber in reduced shoe leather costs – the cost of walking money from place to place. If we multiply 3 hours per day, by 13.2 million subscribers, by 365 days, that’s 14.4 BILLION hours saved per year. Add in the average wage per hour in Kenya, and the time savings start to make you gasp in savings shock.

Priya Jaisinghani of the Mobile Solutions Office at USAID wants to bring savings like that to both the host country governments that USAID works with and to the USAID system itself. She’ll continue with Menekse’s theme and bring the discussion home:

  • How can USAID and its implementing partners also leverage mobile financial services to increase the efficiency of foreign assistance? Two simple suggestion to start: contractors using mPayments to pay host country national staff and national pensions paying through mobiles.

Of course there are many more, and more ways in which mobile financial services are radically changing the world in which we work. Join your fellow Technology Salon professionals in a deep dive on the impact all of this will have at the next Salon:

Mobile Financial Services in USAID Programming
December Technology Salon
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
RTI International
701 13th Street NW, Suite 750
Washington, DC (map)

We’ll have hot coffee and Krispe Kreme donuts for a morning rush, but seating is limited and the UN Foundation is in a secure building. So RSVP ASAP to be confirmed for attendance or you are on the waitlist.

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