Boost for Mobile Banking for the Unbanked as CGAP, DFID Announce New Partnership

By Cgap, PRNE
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Housed at the World Bank, CGAP Technology Program working for poor people to get safe ways to send, receive, and save money

WASHINGTON and LONDON, March 11, 2010 - CGAP, an independent microfinance center based at the World Bank, today
announced a new partnership with the UK Department for International
Development (DFID) to expand ongoing global efforts to use information and
communication technologies (ICT), especially mobile phones, to increase
access to basic financial services for the poor. In addition to a 2006 grant
from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CGAP funding, DFID will provide
GBP 8 million to the CGAP Technology Program.

"Giving people access to financial services can help them lift themselves
out of poverty. I am therefore pleased that the DFID-supported Technology
Program at CGAP will work to improve poor people's access to financial
services such as payments, savings, loans, and insurance. The Program will
also support the delivery of social protection payments in developing
countries and make the transfer of international remittances cheaper and
safer," said UK Minister for Development Gareth Thomas.

Today's announcement builds on more than six years of work on mobile
banking and access to finance. In that time, CGAP has provided financing and
technical advice to projects with more than a dozen providers in Asia,
Africa, and Latin America to develop innovative banking solutions, and
conducted in-depth policy assessments of 13 countries. CGAP has also
published a series of white papers focusing on business models, client needs,
and regulatory conditions, which can be accessed at

"The idea that a mobile phone could replace a bank branch has gone from
concept to reality at an amazing pace. Now with support from DFID and the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it's time to get beyond the early excitement
of the past few years and shift into the build-out stage for mobile money so
that millions of poor people everywhere get access to formal financial
services," said Stephen Rasmussen, manager of the CGAP Technology Program.

Communication technologies such as point of sale devices and ATMs, but
also notably mobile phones, are increasingly connecting poor people to the
financial grid. With CGAP technical support and Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation funding, CGAP's project partners in India, Mongolia, Pakistan and
the Philippines have created the world's first mobile phone-enabled savings
accounts aimed at reaching poor, unbanked people.

"Savings is a highly neglected financial service available to the poor,
and despite what most people may think, the poor do need a safe place to save
money," said Amolo Ng'weno, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation. "Mobile phones and other front-end technology solutions can bring
low-cost financial services to poor people, giving them opportunities to
build financial security and improve their lives."

    Notes to editors
    -- A CGAP survey in 2009 found there are 2.7 billion people globally who
       don't have basic banking service, which matters because poor people
       need safe ways to send, receive, and save money.
    -- DFID's best known grant for financial inclusion was a challenge grant
       to Vodafone which helped create M-PESA, which in three years has
       reached more than 8.5 million people with mobile money transfer in

    Key areas of focus for the technology program at CGAP
    -- Helping policymakers develop regulations that support effective use of
       mobile technologies for financial inclusion.
    -- Harnessing existing government payments and remittance flows to
       provide banking services to large numbers of unbanked people.
    -- Improving broad industry knowledge and practice in the areas of
       customers, agents, business models and regulatory frameworks.
    -- Demonstrating innovation and scale in branchless banking projects
       resulting from CGAP's technical assistance and/or grant funding.

    Facts about CGAP
    -- CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) is supported by over 30
       development agencies and private foundations who share a common
       mission to alleviate poverty, and is housed at the World Bank.
    -- CGAP serves as technical advisor to the G-20 in the G-20's efforts to
       promote the use of technology to increase financial inclusion.
    -- Since 2007 CGAP has shaped 14 projects in nine countries with
       governments, telecom operators, microfinance institutions, and
       commercial banks.
    -- CGAP has led or partnered with others on market research covering more
       than 6,000 mobile money users in Kenya, Philippines, Brazil and South

About CGAP

CGAP is an independent policy and research centre dedicated to advancing
financial access for the world's poor. It is supported by over 30 development
agencies and private foundations who share a common mission to alleviate
poverty. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP provides market intelligence,
promotes standards, develops innovative solutions and offers advisory
services to governments, microfinance providers, donors, and investors. More

About DFID

The Department for International Development is the UK Government's
department that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works to get rid
of extreme poverty. You can find out more at

    For CGAP
    Jim Rosenberg

    Una Gallagher Pulizzi

    For DFID
    DFID Press Office

Jim Rosenberg, +1-202-473-1084, jrosenberg at, Una Gallagher Pulizzi, +1-202-473-8869, upulizzi at, both of CGAP; or DFID Press Office, +44-(0)-207-023-0600

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