Mobile Money and Mobile Health 2: Use Cases, Limitations and Ways Forward

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Nov 10, 2010

In this two-part series, MobileActive.org explores how mobile money services can support health care in developing countries. In part one, we described the key ways in which mobile money services can be adopted by the health sector.

At the primary level of care, subscription-based mobile payment services can create two-way links between patients and health care providers, as summarized here.

  • Patients can pay service providers directly for health care services delivered.
  • Service providers can use mobile transfer platforms to reward patients with monetary or airtime incentives for treatment compliance.

At the district, regional, and national levels, governments and organizations can improve management of funds and introduce better checks and balances by using mobile money platforms. Some uses include:

Mobile Money For Health: A Two-Part MobileActive.org Series

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Nov 08, 2010

Mobile phones are being tried and tested in myriad ways in health care. They are used for data collection and disease surveillance, for ensuring treatment compliance, for managing health information systems and point-of-care support, for health promotion and disease prevention, and for delivering emergency medical services. Clearly, m-health, as this growing field is dubbed, is here to stay.

At the same time, achieving scale and sustainability in most m-health projects has been a challenge. One of the key aspects of beginning to think about ways to integrate m-health into health systems in a sustainable way is to establish financial systems to pay for health services and to ensure financial accountability within programs.

De-Hyping Mobile Money. Is it Reaching the Poor? CGAP's Got Data!

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 01, 2010

Is mobile money living up to the hype? Does it provide more and better financial services for low-income and poor people? Our great friends over at CGAP, the definitive source on credible research on mobile money and branchless banking, have gathered data on 16,000 mobile money customers in seven coutries to understand better how far branchless banking is reaching the unbanked. The results are published in a new CGAP paper.

As fas as we know, this is the first time such an extensive data set has been collected. It sought to answer three questions: Is mobile banking reaching poor customers? Is it more affordable than traditional banking? And lastly, do customers get what they want?

The CGAP researchers looked at 18 branchless banking providers with more than 50 million customers in 10 countries.  What did they find?

The Mobile Minute: Mobile Banking Ban Looms in Somalia, U.S. Teen Texting Habits Increase, and Mobile Web Use Grows Worldwide

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 21, 2010

In today's Mobile Minute: The UN released a report on mobile penetration around the world and how mobiles can be used to fight poverty, Business Insider charted U.S. texting habits by age group, an Islamist group in Somalia banned mobile money transfers, Zimbabwe's first mobile money program prepares to launch, and the research group Akamai released data on the growth of the mobile web around the world. 

Mobile Minute - Daily M4Change News

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 25, 2010

The Mobile Minute is here to bring you the day's mobile-for-development new. Today's Minute covers disaster assistance applications on smartphones, a BBC guide to using pocket-sized video cameras for reporting, the UN ICT Hub's first Briefing Report on ICT4D in the Asia-Pacific region, the development of two new systems that allow mobile phones to work in areas with no reception, an intriguing idea for an iPhone app to combat homelessness, and an event on mobile payments in the Tech@State series in Washington DC.  

Engineering Rural Development

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 02, 2010

Parikh, Tapan S.
Publication Type:
Journal article
Publication Date:
1 Jan 2009

Presented here is an overview of the operational needs of NGOs and CBOs and the role information systems can play to increase their accountability and efficiency. Information systems need to fit the diverse operational needs of NGOs and CBOs, which include coordinating activities, training and monitoring staff, documenting results, accounting, reporting, decision making and learning, acquiring external information and encouraging community participation.

Unfortunately, there are gaps in information systems that impede the ability of NGOs to embrace ICT. To name a few, the lack of open, accessible, cross-platform mobile development tools, limited opportunities and resources provided to local small software companies to engage with NGOs, and the lack of long distance networking technologies to reach remote locations.

Two examples of technologies that were applied successfully are shared: Self Help MIS, an application to monitor activities of small microfinance organizations and credit groups and DigitalICS, an application for data collection used by agricultural cooperatives.  The author stresses that ICTs should be viewed as a tool to allow local change agents to be more effective and accountable and shows how computing is able to support local organizations by inspiring innovation, implementation and dissemination of projects, and measuring impact.


Posted by mrestrepo on Dec 17, 2009

Rua Aimberé, 2090 - 42
São Paulo
Postal code:
Organization Type:

Editacuja is a Brazilian startup focused in knowledge management and contend development services for education, training and culture.

Integrate emerging technologies to provide innovative solutions to companies, universities and schools, enabling cross border iniciatives with high ROI

Works with a multi-media approach, enabling mobile, press, audiovisual and web media services and products.

With a multi-disciplinary team, Editacuja adds value and knowledge for projects that can educate and relate.

Editacuja Integrate Technologies

  • Mobile 2.0 based learning
  • Web 2.0 and social based learning
  • Artificial and collective intelligence
  • Immersive Learning
  • Augmented Reality
  • Simulations





Surviving in the ‘Dual System’: How M‐PESA is Fostering Urban to Rural Remittances in a Kenyan Slum

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Nov 10, 2009

Olga Morawczynski
Publication Type:
Report/White paper
Publication Date:
1 Jan 2008

The ‘dual system’ thesis has been used to describe the continuing commitment of urban migrants to the village in various African countries. According to literature, urban workers maintain strong ties with the rural area, even after spending a substantial amount of time in the city. One way in which these ties are maintained is through urban‐to‐rural remittances.

In March of 2007, an m‐banking application called M‐PESA was introduced into the Kenyan market. This application allows for person‐to‐person (P2P) transfers of e-money via mobile phone, and facilitates urban‐to‐rural remittances.  This study will use ethnographic data collected in a Kenyan slum to show that M‐PESA is becoming a tool for the maintenance of urban-rural relations. It will further assert that because it is helping migrants to maintain such relations, it is facilitating survival in the ‘dual system’.

Can the Success of M-PESA be repeated? A Review of the Implementations in Kenya and Tanzania

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Nov 02, 2009

Gunnar Camner, Emil Sjoblom
Publication Type:
Journal article
Publication Date:
1 Jul 2009

This paper puts forward explanations and backgrounds to the remarkable difference in user uptake of the m-banking service M-PESA in Tanzania compared to the same service in Kenya. Data gathered from user and industry interviews, conducted during a field study in Tanzania between March-May 2009 is together with literature from Kenya used to compare the m-banking environment in the two countries.

M-PESA is provided by mobile network operators (MNOs), Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania. Both are the leading MNO in their respective country although Vodacom has a substantially lower market share and turnover compared to Safaricom. This simple fact resonates in many areas affecting M-PESA, such as: size of marketing budget, M-PESA's priority within the organization and the company's ability to quickly sign up agents and attract initial customers. Differences in the general economic situation, the geography and political history are also put forward. Kenya has a stronger economy, a higher GDP and a more developed banking system. This has contributed to the financial literacy in the country which is an important factor when communicating a service like M-PESA.

Among the differences between the two implementations, we suggest that the three most influential factors to the user uptake have been the two companies ability to transform their airtime distribution into an agent network, the marketing strategy which needed to be adopted to the specific settings in each country, and the geographical and demographic conditions.

Towards an African E-Index: SMS e-Access and Usage Across 14 African Countries

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 09, 2009

Albert Nsengiyumva, Ali Ndiwalana, Beda Mutagahywa, Christoph Stork, F. F. Tusubira, Francisco Mabila, George Essegbey, Godfred Frempong, Ike Mowete, Innocent Ngalina, Lishan Adam, Mariama Deen-Swarray, Olivier Nana Nzepa, Marco Machona, Robertine Tankeu, Sebusang E. M. Sebusang, Sikaaba Mulavu, Steve Esselaar, Tim Mwololo Waema
Publication Type:
Publication Date:
1 Jan 2006

The SME sector has an important role to play in the present and future economic development, poverty reduction and employment creation in developing economies (Hallberg, 2000). Stern (2002) stresses that the SME sector is the sector in which most of the world's poor people work. SME sector growth largely exceeds the average economic growth of national economies in many countries and contributes significantly to employment creation. Accordingly, governments and donors alike have recognised the important role of the SME sector for overall development. As a result, many government policies are geared towards supporting their growth through a variety of programmes that range from tax incentives to technical assistance; from regulatory provisions to policy interventions; training and other types of business development services (O'Shea & Stevens, 1998).

Arising from this, one of the key issues is to identify the current information practices and needs, as well as the obstacles that SMEs face in their daily business activities, and to provide guidance in creating relevant policy initiatives that will lead to more economic growth and employment. The SME e-Access and Usage survey was carried out by the Research ICT Africa! (RIA!) network in 14 African countries between the last quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2006. Its primary objective is to understand the impact of ICTs on private sector development, and how ICTs can contribute to a vibrant SME sector and economic growth in the context of developing economies.

The countries covered included Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. To this end, the SME e-Access and Usage survey was motivated by the lack of clarity about the impact of ICTs on small businesses. The literature to date has failed to create a tight link between the use of ICTs and issues such as profitability and labour productivity. There are so many competing claims against government resources and time that a vague link between ICTs and economic growth and employment creation is not convincing enough evidence for governments to commit their resources. This survey aims to change that perception by providing solid empirical evidence of the link between ICTs and business performance based on firm-level evidence.

A major contribution of this survey to the existing understanding of SMEs in Africa is its use of a formality index to categorise SMEs. Past studies have treated formal, semi-formal and informal businesses uniformly, reducing the applicability of their analysis. A formal business is fundamentally different from an informal business in Africa. A formal business pays its taxes, is more likely to export and often is included in official census of SMEs. In contrast, the primary survival strategy of an informal business is to remain below the radar screen, not to pay taxes and not to form part of any official data. Apart from the obvious survey difficulties this presents, there is a more mundane business difference: informal businesses are also more likely to sell or produce anything that might make money, in contrast to more formal businesses that have a tendency to concentrate on a single product or set of products. The implication of this is that a Cobb-Douglas production function, for example, cannot be used to analyse SMEs, unless there is a declared interest only in formal SMEs.

Of course, suveying only formal businesses would be telling half the story since about two-third of non-resource-driven GDP generation is derived from SMEs, and a large share of that from informal ones. The establishment of the link between ICTs and profitability and labour productivity creates another set of policy imperatives for governments across the continent. ICTs are only useful if they can easily be acquired and used. The key obstacle identified by SMEs towards greater possession and use of ICTs is their cost. The high cost of ICTs in Africa has been attributed to policy choices that have limited competition, and the absence of regulatory capacity to regulate abuse of market dominance in wholesale and retail pricing (Gillwald, 2005 and Gillwald & Esselaar, 2004). This requires greater regulatory capacity, something that is missing from nearly all countries included in the survey. To illustrate this, most governments are exclusively focused on the direct contribution of ICTs towards the economy in terms of profits and staff complements of major telecommunications operators.

However, as this report makes clear, it is the indirect contribution of ICTs towards economic growth that is truly transformative: “ICTs have the largest beneficial impact in conjunction with other changes, including a new set of ICT skills/training, structural changes within business models and the economy, and institutional and regulatory adjustments” (ITU, 2006: 39). This means that ICTs have to be looked at from a perspective that considers all causes of economic growth and attempts to provide a catalytic environment that uses ICTs to generate economic growth rather than the ICT sector's specific contribution towards GDP.

Peace Corps

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 01, 2009

Washington, D.C.
Organization Type:
The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship. Since that time, more than 195,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.

Mobile Phones and Financial Services in Developing Countries: A Review of Concepts, Methods, Issues, Evidence and Future R...

Posted by LeighJaschke on Aug 05, 2009

Duncombe Richard; Boateng Richard
Publication Type:
Report/White paper
Publication Date:
1 Jun 2009

Research concerning mobile phones and financial services in developing countries has undergone rapid growth in recent years. This paper seeks to improve understanding of this expanding research area and in so doing consider the potential for mobile phone applications for the delivery of financial services for the poor. The current state of knowledge is assessed by reviewing the content of 43 research articles drawn from both peer-reviewed academic journals and non-peer reviewed studies and other practitioner-orientated sources. A framework is developed that categorises and analyses the research according to a socio-technical spectrum, identifying levels of analysis and differentiating research activity according to a lifecycle model that incorporates financial needs, design and applications, adoption and adaptation, and impact. Positive aspects of research to-date are identified, most noticeably the high level of practitioner involvement in research publication and the strong links that have been forged between the mobile phone industry and the research community. This, however, has also caused research to become too narrowly defined and largely a- theoretical. Hence, research weaknesses and gaps are also identified suggesting that issues relating to financial needs and the measurement of impacts have been comparatively neglected, whilst application design and adoption have received greater attention. Emphasis tends to be on devices and new ways to deliver services, but ignores the broader context of financial services for the poor and tends to be technology-led. In order to correct this imbalance in research, the paper identifies key research gaps relating to concepts, methodologies, issues addressed and evidence presented and provides pointers to future research directions.


Mobile Use by Micro & Small Enterprises

Posted by sharakarasic on Oct 31, 2008

On day two of MobileActive ’08 in Johannesburg, I attended Mobile Use By Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) by Jonathan Donner of the Technology for Emerging Markets Group, Microsoft Research India.

Donner explained that Microsoft Research conducts long-term research and development – it’s not tied directly to products. Its goals are to understand potential technology users in developing countries, and to adapt and design technology that contributes to social and economic development of poor communities.

Donners’ research focus was on tiny informal businesses with fewer than five employees. These businesses are post-agriculture and post-family farm. Example types of businesses that Donner examined include basket weaving, fruit stands, food sellers, and informal pipe fittings manufacturing.

Donner studied how mobiles have had a positive impact both in Kigali, Rwanda in 2002-2004, and Bangalore and Hyderabad, India from 2005-2007.

He found “information needs very different than those of my colleagues in Redmond.”

M-Banking and M-Payments for Social Impact

Posted by sharakarasic on Oct 28, 2008

On the first day of MobileActive ’08 in Johannesburg, I attended "M-Banking and M-Payments for Social Impact", with Jonathan Donner, Tonny Omwansa, Jesse Moore, Brian Richardson, and Alex Comninos presenting to a packed room. The session gave an overview of m-banking (mobile banking) and m-payments (mobile payments), including specific mobile banking solutions such as M-PESA and Wizzit.

Brian Richardson, the CEO of Wizzit, began by stressing that mobile banking is becoming more and more common in African countries. In South Africa, more than 11 million people live with cash only. 600 million in Africa don’t have access to basic financial services because of affordability, accessibility, and availability. Without access to basic financial services, it’s hard to be an economic citizen.