US Agency for International Development and Citi partner for mobile money

Aiming to broaden financial inclusion

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is teaming up with Citi to accelerate the adoption of mobile money technology in developing countries (view press release). The partnership aims to broaden financial inclusion around the world as almost 2 billion of the world’s 5 billion mobile phone users have no access to banking services and rely on cash which is susceptible to theft, fraud, loss, and high cost lending. Through the programme, USAID will support local mobile money platforms with around USD23 million and Citi will integrate its core banking services with mobile money platforms. The two parties will cooperate with governments, donors, industry and other participants in the payments sector. The main aim of the collaboration is to support the inclusion of mobile finance into strategic plans, support conducive and appropriate environments for adoption, and develop a structure that will form the foundation for a safe, trusted and convenient mobile money system. The focus will be on developing in-country networks made up of local experts in mobile money, governments and organisations with major cash-based operations to promote mass adoption of mobile money. A set of principles for implementation and adoption will be developed in nine countries, with initial emphasis on Colombia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya and the Philippines.  

The ability to store and transfer money, as well as to make small payments using mobile phones, has the potential to lift millions out of poverty, just as the Green Revolution did in the 1960s,” said USAID administrator Raj Shah. “Our partnership with Citi will accelerate implementation of these new services in a smart and safe way.”

Kenya is the best example the success of mobile money with 70% of households now connected to the financial system through mobile phones and the payments service M-Pesa. Millions of Kenyans who previously relied on cash only, now use mobile money for their financial activities. 

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