The second part has started. It’s the emerging markets where all the focus is, and as a keynote we’ve heard Bob Christen, Director of Financial Services for the Poor Global Development Program at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Here are the key points from his speech:
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on 2 billion people that earn less than $2 a day.
- He talked about how we all need to be able to store and access money to meet our daily needs.
- If you’re poor, what are your options if you need money in a hurry and a loan from family and friends is not an option? You could borrow, which is very expensive; sell assets such as jewelry; do nothing, which can be dangerous in case you need to see a doctor.
- It has been proven that savings positively impact household expenditure.
- Limitations of banks in developing countries – it is very expensive for banks to serve the poor, and clients hate going to the banks, as well — it’s very time consuming and could actually cost money to reach a bank.
- Agent banking as a solution, getting transactions outside banks and ultimately making banking/serving clients cheaper. Pilot project with DICONSA stores in Mexico was a success.
- Bringing financial services to the poor people’s doorsteps allows them to save tiny amounts more frequently and more easily when they receive cash.
- Finally, he concluded that mobile banking will turbo-charge this model calling it the mobile phone based agent banking system.
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-operates with regulatory bodies and all other parties involved such as GSMA to help bring mobile banking services to the poor. They have about $50 million ready to support related projects.
After Bob’s keynote, we’ve heard two more people:
- Stephen Rasmussen, Manager of Technology Program at CGAP, and
- Caroline Pulver, FSD Kenya and Jon Gravrak, McKinsey & Co.
Stephen’s speech, titled “Delivering Successful Mobile Money Solutions to the Unbanked – Customer Acquisition” explored opportunities for mobile money in developing markets. Key challenges were pointed, as well as the need to identify the right services and sustainable solutions.
As for Caroline’s presentation, it’s titled “Mobile Money: The Numbers and Consumer Insights in 2009.” She talked about the research that was conducted by McKinsey and FSD Kenya.
And the launch break was on, when I went to interview Obopay…