GSMA awards more Mobile Money for the Unbanked grants


The GSMA announced it would award grants to seven more organisations through the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) Fund, administered by the GSMA Foundation. It receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The new grantees are Cellcard in Cambodia, Digicel in Fiji, Orange in West Africa, Safaricom in Kenya, Tata Indicom in India, Telenor in Pakistan, and Tigo in Africa.

MMU was launched 15 months ago. Gavin Krugel, director GSMA, comments, ‘Projects were chosen on their ability to deliver, speed of delivery, scale and sophistication.’

Cambodia has a population of over 14.5 million, 22% of whom live in urban areas, but fewer than 4% have a bank account. The majority of payroll is paid in cash so Cellcard will providing financial services such as money transfer, bill payment and airtime top-up to migrants who need to send money home to families in rural areas.

The grant to Digicel Fiji will support the launch of a low-cost mobile wallet to enable commercial transactions and delivered through Digicel’s distributor network. The pilot will launch remittance, top-up and bill payment services, stepping up to full a financial services offering after the commercial launch.

Fewer than 4% cent of the population of Western Africa (Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Mali) are banked, but over a third owns a mobile phone, and this number is growing by 30% each year. Orange is studying customer needs in each market, so it can build on m-money services: Orange Money is already available in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Madagascar.

Safaricom is using M-PESA to facilitate social transfer payments from Non-Governmental Organisations and the Kenyan government to households in informal settlements in Nairobi.

Tata Teleservices is working with its technology partner mChek to target microfinance customers in rural India and particularly the large numbers of dairy, contract and agricultural workers. There are over 550 million mobile connections in India with year-on-year growth of 49%, and research shows there are 91 million households that are financially excluded.

Easypaisa is an mobile money service offered by Telenor Pakistan which brings financial services to the unbanked in that country. With help from the MMU Fund grant, Telenor Pakistan will develop a savings/insurance product that can be offered on the Easypaisa platform.

Finally Tigo is experimenting with distribution channels for a new m-money platform in one of its African markets.