The Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Nov 18, 2011
The Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011 data sheet 860 Views
World Economic Forum
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011 assesses the development of the mobile financial services (MFS) ecosystem in twenty countries. Its purpose is to provide a tool for decision makers to identify relative areas of strength and weakness and to prioritize opportunities for collaborative action to build scale in mobile financial services. The Report defines mobile financial services development in terms of the key drivers across the institutional, market and end-user environments that lead to adoption and scale. Measures of mobile financial services development are captured across seven pillars:

1. Regulatory proportionality

2. Consumer protection

3. Market competitiveness

4. Market catalysts

5. End-user empowerment and access

6. Distribution and agent network

7. Adoption and availability

The Report thus takes a comprehensive view in assessing the factors that contribute to the long-term development of mobile financial services. It includes mobile payments and transfers within its scope but also the development of other vital financial services such as savings, credit, and insurance.


Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development

Posted by ccarlon on Oct 21, 2011
Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development data sheet 1204 Views
Fredriksson, Torbjörn, Cécile Barayre, Scarlett Fondeur Gil, Diana Korka, Rémi Lang, Thao Nguyen, Marta Pérez Cusó and Smita Barbattini.
Publication Date: 
Oct 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The Information Economy Report 2011 demonstrates that effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in both the private and the public sector can significantly contribute to and accelerate progress in private sector development (PSD).

Governments and their development partners should take a holistic and comprehensive approach to leveraging ICTs in PSD, although a review of PSD strategies indicates that this is often not the practice. Similarly, donor strategies often refer to the use of ICTs in PSD in a peripheral manner only, if at all. On its own, new technology will have limited effects on PSD. However, when carefully integrated into policies and processes, ICTs can reduce business costs, promote transparent, rules-based systems, and improve communication between the public and private sector.

Governments need to work with the private sector to create an investment climate and a business environment that encourage the use of ICTs within private firms as well as in government. The potential of ICTs can then be realized, through adequate infrastructure and skills, and a commitment by governments to making markets work effectively. In some areas, there is already considerable experience and evidence to guide policy initiatives. In other areas, where opportunities for ICTs to contribute to PSD have emerged only in the past few years (as in the case of mobile money services), more analysis and testing of different business models is needed to assess potential and identify best practices.

Scaling Up Without Falling Short: Leveraging Mobile Tech for the Base of the Pyramid

Posted by EKStallings on Oct 19, 2011

Despite possibilities of scaling projects with technology, many technology-based initiatives in social and economic development have failed to make it past early pilot stages or grow to scale. This study by Hystra, in collaboration with Ashoka and TNO, examines what successful ventures within four sectors can teach us about models for scaling Information and Communications Technology (ICT) -based applications and projects aimed at reaching bottom-of-the-pyramid customers (referred to as Base of the Pyramid in the report). The researchers focused specifically on these sectors: education, health, agricultural services, and financial services.

What Did the Study Review?

Initially considering 280 projects as promising models, researchers found that over half were not worth researching because projects lacked sustainability or replicatibility. Many of the projects were dead pilot projects or were small with no sign of the possibility or intent of scaling in size or reach.

From there, researchers homed in on 16 groundbreaking cases. These projects had reached scale (defined as having 10,000 clients or more) or had the potential to do so. All projects were assessed against three criteria: Is the solution solving the (specified) problem? Is the project economically viable? Is the project scalable and replicable? The researchers grouped projects into specific clusters based on business model type. All projects researched were value-added or market-based, because of the researchers’ belief that such models increase project sustainability and client investment in the project.

The models that the researchers looked at varied. For instance, researchers asked whether end-users accessed the technology themselves as opposed to being delivered trough an intermediary.

The Mobile Minute: Apps in Asia, the Results of a Youth Survey in South Africa, and Mobile Devices vs. PCs

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 22, 2011

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on a new mobile frequency breakthrough, comparisons between mobile devices and PCs, the results of a mobile-based South African youth sex survey, the growth of apps in the Asia-Pacific region, and a look at the future of the global mobile payment industry.

  • Researchers at Rice University have developed a new technology that allows mobile devices to use the same frequency to both talk and listen to cell towers. Normally, two frequencies are needed to transmit and receive wireless data; the new technology could allow operators to double the capacity of their towers.
  • A new study from the International Data Corporation predicts that mobile Internet users will outnumber PC Internet users by 2015. Read Write Web reports that although smartphones are a big part of the shift, the release of tablet devices like the iPad give the predictions of mobile-dominance more credence.
  • The Praekelt Foundation recently released the results of its "Youth Sex Survey," which received more than 130,000 responses via the mobile platform Young Africa Live. The survey asked users of the social portal questions about their sexual health and opinions about sex and relationships; AudienceScapes reports on some of the responses: "Findings included a high percentage (44 percent) of South African youth admitting they are sexually active at the same time that they are significantly concerned about HIV/AIDS – 81 percent of respondents indicated they equate 'not telling a sexual partner that you carry the virus' with outright murder." (Read more about the Praekelt Foundation and Young Africa Live here.) 
  • Mobile applications are huge in the Asia-Pacific region; a study by the analyst firm Ovum estimates that "total number of mobile apps downloaded could reach 14 billion in 2016." TechCircle reports that the region already anticipates 5 billion app downloads for 2011, and that estimated revenue from paid mobile applications could reach $871 this year.
  • If you like charts, check out this graphic depicting a prediction of the global mobile payments market (based off data from Juniper Research) by the year 2015. Divided into eight worldwide regions, the graph (and research) shows how the world will use mobile payments (including near field communications, mobile payments/transfers, and regular purchase of goods).

[Mobile Minute Disclaimer: The Mobile Minute is a quick round-up of interesting stories that have come across our RSS and Twitter feeds to keep you informed of the rapid pace of innovation. Read them and enjoy them, but know that we have not deeply investigated these news items. For more in-depth information about the ever-growing field of mobile tech for social change, check out our blog postswhite papers and researchhow-tos, and case studies.]

Image courtesy Flickr user QiFei


The Development of Mobile Money Systems

Posted by ccarlon on Sep 20, 2011
The Development of Mobile Money Systems data sheet 1449 Views
Flores-Roux, Ernesto and Judith Mariscal
Publication Date: 
May 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In this paper we argue that mobile banking offers the opportunity to diminish the financial exclusion suffered by the poor by offering access to credit and to savings which are key tools capable of transforming the livelihoods of the poor as well as the efficiency of the market. However, mobile phones need a complete ecosystem that supports its application to a functioning mobile banking service.


The aim of this paper is to contribute to existing knowledge of mobile money across the value chain by providing insight into the mechanisms of m-money, the value propositions within the business of m-banking and what is preventing its swifter adoption and usage in the developed world. We develop a taxonomy of the key drivers of the business model which provides insights for assessing the replicability of these models in other countries. We focus on models developed in Kenya and the Philippines and explore what is lacking for a widespread adoption in Latin American countries, such as Mexico, in order to observe what is preventing the creation and usage of m-money models for the BoP.

Mobile Africa Report 2011: Regional Hubs of Excellence and Innovation

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Apr 04, 2011
Mobile Africa Report 2011: Regional Hubs of Excellence and Innovation data sheet 2030 Views
Rao, Madanmohan
Publication Date: 
Mar 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

According to industry estimates, there are more than 500 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa now, up from 246 million in 2008. In 2000, the number of mobile phones first exceeded that of fixed telephones. Africans can accelerate development by skipping less efficient technologies and moving directly to more advanced ones.

The telecommunications sector continues to attract a flurry of public and private investment from foreign sources and local banks, but the investment should be in software and services, not just cabling infrastructure.

The Mobile Minute: Your Daily M4Change News

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 28, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage about revenue from Brazil's mobile youth, a Pew report on mobile habits, the conclusion of NPR's look at race and the digital divide, a guide to building voice infrastructure in developing regions, and what m-banking services need to consider about non-literate consumers.

A Comparison of Mobile Money-Transfer UIs for Non-Literate and Semi-Literate Users

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Nov 30, 2009
A Comparison of Mobile Money-Transfer UIs for Non-Literate and Semi-Literate Users data sheet 3368 Views
Indrani Medhi, S. N. Nagasena Gautama, Kentaro Toyama
Publication Date: 
Apr 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Due to the increasing penetration of mobile phones even into poor communities, mobile payment schemes could bring formal financial services to the “unbanked”. However, because poverty for the most part also correlates with low levels of formal education, there are questions as to whether electronic access to complex financial services is enough to bridge the gap, and if so, what sort of UI is best.

In this paper, we present two studies that provide preliminary answers to these questions. We first investigated the usability of existing mobile payment services, through an ethnographic study involving 90 subjects in India, Kenya, the Philippines and South Africa. This was followed by a usability study with another 58 subjects in India, in which we compared non-literate and semi-literate subjects on three systems: text-based, spoken dialog (without text), and rich multimedia (also without text). Results confirm that non-text designs are strongly preferred over text-based designs and that while task- completion rates are better for the rich multimedia UI, speed is faster and less assistance is required on the spoken-dialog system.

Today: CGAP Webcast on Mobile Banking for Poor People

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 11, 2008

CGAP, one of the leading organizations conducting research and providing leadership in the mobile banking space in the developing world, is holding a live webcast today from 2-5 pm Eastern Time (-5 GMT). Here are the details:

Mobile Banking for Poor People: Pioneer Perspectives
a CGAP roundtable and webinar

Dec. 11, 2008 | 2:00pm – 5:00pm
World Bank Headquarters, Washington DC | online at

By the end of 2008, the UN says there will be four billion mobile phone connections globally. Millions of air-time resellers and retail agents in developing countries make it possible to distribute financial services at far lower cost than through traditional channels.

New Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion Funded by Gates Foundation

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Sep 24, 2008

More news on mobile banking for the world's poorest.  The University of California, Irvine has announced a $1.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a research institute focused on the growing use of mobile technology in providing banking and financial services to individuals in developing countries.

A Mobile Banking Call to Action

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Sep 24, 2008


Bill Clinton is announcing the commitment from a group of members of the Clinton Global Initiative to provide access to financial services to millions of people currently unbanked and living under $2 a day. Some of the people on the stage are Elizabeth Littlefield from CGAP, Dawn Haig Thomas from the GSMA Development Fund, and the Sosas from MPower Ventures, Brian Richardson from Wizzit, and others who are committing more than $100 million to mobile fincancial services for the poor.