Leveraging Information and Communication Technology for the Base of the Pyramid

Posted by EKStallings on Oct 14, 2011
Leveraging Information and Communication Technology for the Base of the Pyramid data sheet 1138 Views
Carvalho, Alexandre de, Lucie Klarsfeld, Francois Lepicard
Publication Date: 
Sep 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This document presents the conclusions of the study “Leveraging ICT for the BoP” sponsored by AFD-Proparco, Ericsson, ICCO, France Telecom-Orange, and TNO and conducted by Hystra and Ashoka from October 2010 to June 2011.

This study aimed to learn from “what works” in terms of full projects (as opposed to technologies) combining both an economically viable model and socio-economic impacts on their end-users, in the field of ICT for development (ICT4D). This work is thus based on the screening of existing projects led by various types of actors (social entrepreneurs, NGOs, private companies…), in 4 sectors of “development” where ICT has already shown it could play a key role: healthcare, education, agriculture, and financial services. 15 of the most ground breaking market-based business models, with a proven scale and results on the ground showing that ICT can be a lever improving the living standards of the BoP, are analysed in depth in the report to support the main conclusions.



Ekgaon: Focus on the People

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 01, 2011
Ekgaon: Focus on the People data sheet 2838 Views

Mobile coverage reaches over 90% of the world's population, but mobile services in traditionally rural, lower-income areas have lagged compared to opportunities in more urban areas. One company in India, Ekgaon, is tapping into the rural market by bringing financial, agricultural, and citizen-oriented mobile services to under-served regions. Vijay Pratap Singh Aditya, CEO of Ekgaon, explained to how his company developed and evolved over the years. 

With a focus on under-served markets, Ekgaon partners with financial institutions, agricultural organizations, NGOs, and corporations to bring mobile services to those who need them. Users of the agricultural system receive personalized and customized soil nutrient management information and crop advice along with weather updates, market information, and alerts; users of the financial services use mobiles to manage savings, remittances, insurance, investments and mortgages; and citizen services allow users to monitor and report on the delivery of government programs.

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

The goal of the project is to bring mobile services to previously unreached rural groups by focusing on creating technology for basic mobile phones (with a focus on SMS and IVR).

Brief description of the project: 

Ekgaon is a suite of mobile tools that the company incorporates into existing programs. The group creates financal, agricultural, and citizen-oriented tools (designed mostly as either SMS or IVR services) for an audience of primarily rural-based mobile phone owners.

Target audience: 

The target audience for Ekgaon is two-fold: 1. Low-income mobile phone owners who live in rural areas in South Asia; 2. Companies, NGOs, and other organizations that would like to use mobile services in their work with rural populations.


Detailed Information
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 
  • The project has reached large numbers of users through its partnerships, and has found an audience that was eager to incorporate mobile technology into their financal and professional work.
  • Ekgaon also uses open-source solutions, and found that the open-source community has been a good resource for solving technology-related questions. 
What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

Ekgaon's main challenge are keeping costs low for their services, as their target audience is mostly poor, rural communities; since Ekgaon partners with other organizations in order to incorporate their tools into other programs, keeping costs down is a challenge. 


Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 10, 2009
MapSwitch data sheet 2888 Views
Organization that developed the Tool: 
Main Contact: 
Abri Krige
Problem or Need: 

Enables Post Bank Uganda and SACCO members to access financial services through a network of ATMs, point-of-sale terminals and mobile phones to provide linkage banking to millions of people in Uganda who are unbanked (approx 80%).

Main Contact Email : 
Brief Description: 

The Java application enables Post Bank Uganda and SACCO clients to access financial information and trigger financial transactions from mobiles, ATMs, and GPRS-enabled point-of-sale terminals.

Tool Category: 
App resides and runs on a server
Key Features : 
  • Easy-to-use menus
  • GPRS communication
  • Real time access to information, services, and products


Main Services: 
Mobile Payments
Tool Maturity: 
Under development/pre-launch
Java ME
Windows Mobile
Current Version: 
Program/Code Language: 
Organizations Using the Tool: 
  • Post Bank Uganda
  • MAP International


Number of Current End Users: 
None/not deployed yet
Number of current beneficiaries: 
Under 100
Languages supported: 
English, language-customizable menus
Handsets/devices supported: 
Minimum requirements: - Java MIDP 2.0 - GPRS - Web Browser
Is the Tool's Code Available?: 
Is an API available to interface with your tool?: 
Global Regions: 

ATMosphere: A System for ATM Microdeposit Services in Rural Contexts

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jun 26, 2009
ATMosphere: A System for ATM Microdeposit Services in Rural Contexts data sheet 1434 Views
Paik, Michael; Subramanian, Lakshminarayanan
Publication Date: 
Apr 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This paper describes strategies to lower the cost
of providing Automated Teller Machine microdeposit services
in rural contexts. Microdeposits represent a growing market
in the developing world, but the cost of running a
conventional ATM network is prohibitive due to the capital
investment required to deploy networks and terminals.
Our novel contributions are to use the Short Message
Service (SMS) over high-penetration GSM cellular networks
in conjunction with a system using location awareness to
intelligently distribute available balances among machines.
This allows us to provide high levels of service while
simultaneously reducing risk to the financial institution and
lowering per-transaction cost.
Using a simulation of ATM usage patterns and
distributions, our primary results under our model are: (1)
transaction cost per user per year can be optimized to less
than USD 0.18 given an SMS loss rate of approximately 10%
while (2) customer withdrawal success rate can be maintained
at approximately 98% with (3) a maximum of 5% of funds on
deposit available in cash in ATMs at any given time.
These results make wide deployment of rural ATM services
by financial institutions feasible and economically viable in
the near term using existing commodity tech