In July 2008 I was sitting in eBay Leadership training and was asked to tell the group what inspired me about my work. I got up and immediately began telling the story of the Masai tribe I had visited just a week before while on holiday. These people had no running water, no electricity… they dressed in traditional outfits, beautiful red and purple blankets. They carried sticks.
The TED India conference was a great jumping off point to begin my need finding research in India. I continued traveling around the country for the month researching opportunities after the conference meeting people and organizations in Bangalore, Mysore, Ahmedebad, Udaipur and Rajasthani villages, Delhi, Bombay and Ludhiana.
Imagine waking up tomorrow to find that the value of every liquid asset you owned had been replaced by $1 bills. That credit card with the $500 limit? It just burst the seams of your wallet with 500 $1s. Your $30,000 retirement account? Good luck even finding your desk under that mountain of cash.
Soon the rural populations of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will have access to microloans, savings and insurance against the unexpected …… and all through their mobile phones. This is indicated by trends in microfinance institutions (MFIs), increasingly advanced mobile payment systems and the emergence of open source programs that serve as a bridge between the two.
Information communication technology for development, or ICT4D, is an increasingly hot topic in the development space. For better or worse, it may even be turning into the next fad – the default response to a world of unique challenges and circumstances.
Started in Africa in 1998, MicroSave (www.MicroSave.org) is now a team of nearly 80 experienced professionals that has been operating for over a decade and is routinely described by clients as “the most reliable consulting firm for financial service providers”.
Mobile banking’s potential to leapfrog existing mainstream banking is apparent in countries with large populations without access to traditional banks and financial services. In these cases, mobile banking streamlines existing financial transactions which might take months and cost an exorbitant percentage of the value being exchanged.