Google and Gates Foundation to Help Spread Digital Payments in Developing Countries
By David Z. Morris
For more than a decade, Kenyans from the bustling capital of Nairobi to far-flung farms have had access to a digital payments service that was ahead of its time. M-Pesa, introduced in 2007 by Vodafone and Kenya’s Safaricom mobile provider, lets users send and receive money on their mobile phones, providing bank-like services for millions who had relied on cash and informal networks.
By 2012, Kenyans had registered 17 million accounts. And by making saving easier and small businesses more efficient, M-Pesa had helped lift 194,000 Kenyan households out of poverty, a study in 2016 concluded.
Now, a coalition of nonprofits and tech companies including Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation want to repeat those outcomes worldwide by making it easier for developing countries to build real-time digital payments systems.
Photo courtesy of WorldRemit Comms.