Mobile Money for Financial Inclusion

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Information and Communications for Development

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World Bank


University of Cape Town

Mobile financial services are among the most promising mobile applications in the developing world. Mobile money could become a general platform that transforms entire economies, as it is adopted across commerce, health care, agriculture, and other sectors. To date, at least 110 money mobile systems have been deployed, with more than 40 million users. The most well-known system, M-PESA, started in Kenya and is now operational in six countries; it has 20 million users who transferred $500 million a month during 2011.1 While the benefits of mobile money payment systems are clear, observers remain divided over whether mobile money systems are truly fulfilling their growth potential. This chapter evaluates the benefits and potential impact of mobile money, especially for promoting financial inclusion in the developing world, before providing an overview of the key factors driving the growth of mobile money services. It also considers some of the barriers and obstacles hindering their deployment. Finally, it identifies emerging issues that the industry will face over the coming years.