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Out of Africa: Financial Innovation

We’ve made the world a depressing place. Everywhere you look, all the good stuff is buried under a thick and powerful layer of crud. Sort of like an endless mall parking lot. Seedlings push through it every now and again. You can’t even see them from a distance and if you stepped on them, they’d be dead. But you know how it is with seedlings. In time they’re going to destroy the whole damn lot. What follows is one of those seedlings. Keep an eye on it.

Africa pioneers mobile bank push

Mobile financial services in the developing world could be worth $5bn by 2012, say analysts. . . . More than one billion people in the developing world have access to a mobile phone, but no bank account. . . . [CGAP] also expected more than one in five to use their mobile to access banking services, creating a market worth up to $5bn (£3.05bn). . . .

One of Africa’s first mobile banking system[s], M-Pesa, launched in Kenya in March 2007. A network of more than 7,000 agents – mostly shopkeepers – was set up to take deposits and issue cash, with users authorising payments on their mobile phone using a Pin code. That service has now expanded to include Tanzania and Afghanistan with plans to launch in India, Egypt and South Africa.

If we can keep this out of PayPal’s grubby monopolistic mitts, maybe some of this newfangled convenience could trickle all the way down to us. It should go without saying that we, and the rest of the world, will have to do some serious anti-spam and anti-fraud work as this gets more widespread. But you know what? That’s doable.

(Personal note: I’m back from vacation, hiatus, and general out-of-the-loopiness. Sort of. I may become loopy any time again so long as the weather is nice. And it’s always nice here in sunny Southern California.)

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19 Responses

  1. I call “paypal” PayPig — this is a pain in the butt, invasive, nasty organization. Sort of like the financial equivalent of online medical records — which could easily get into the wrong hands.

  2. (Waving) It’s great to see you back Quixote!!

    I do online banking but, I’m not convinced I want to do it through Verizon. Also, I’m a bit of a Luddite about that. I’m not sure I WANT to….

  3. I am skeptical of having my money handled by two big eavesdropping monopolies.

  4. how is this plan any diff than paying my t-moblie bill by phone?

    • I don’t think it is different, except it’s not (ideally!) controlled by t-mob but by something that’s regulated like a bank — because it is a bank. And you could pay anything that way, not just your t-mob account.

  5. Where there’s a will there’s a way. It sounds like a cross between the hawallah (sp) system and bank-by-phone. Now, if we can only get some money into their hands through Dakinikat’s Kiva

    BTW, give us back our weather. It’s cold, damp and rainy here in NJ.

  6. Glad to see you back, Qbb!

  7. Hi all! Thanks for the kind words.

    (Hey, myiq, drive on down here where it’s normal (haha). That would be 67F. It’ll be good for you. And we can sit on the front porch and comment on young people.)

    • goodness, it’s past midnight and still 83 here in new orleans!! Definitely I will spend tomorrow blogging from the salt water pool!

      Good to see you back!!!

  8. Interesting. Welcome Back! 🙂

  9. Now this is a cartoon!
    http://twitpic.com/7hsb4

    How about that US…

    BUSH 2000
    Primaries May 31st, 2008

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