Weekly Review January 8-14

2012 is going to be a big year for mobile money and financial inclusion. Below we highlight a few of the stories describing the increased adoption of mobile money (beyond Kenya) and the continued growth of financial inclusion and other benefits offered through mobile phones.

A Mobile Money Wish List for 2012” by Will Mutua on Afrinnovator
As a follow up to Mbwana Alliy’s prediction that increased mobile money services in Africa is a major trend to watch in 2012, Mutua lays out a wish list that would make mass adoption of mobile money a smooth sail. To start, the continued adoption of mobile money services across the continent will depend significantly on the convenience and integration into everyday activities. Allow users to purchase items and pay for utilities with mobile money – if it’s conveniently available and the preferred method – and adoption will soar. Read on to find out what else will promote the adoption of mobile money beyond Kenya.

Geospacial Analysis for Financial Inclusion Tracking” guest post by Karthik Balasubramanian and Jake Kendall from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on MMU Blog
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation used GIS software and spatial data to highlight the proximity of financial inclusion in Kenya. The study estimates that 88% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa are unbanked. The advancing usefulness and availability of data makes spatial analysis possible. It’s particularly useful for mobile money providers as they build their agent networks and those looking to promote financial inclusion in rural areas.

Cashless Lagos underway in Nigeria” on Mobile Money Africa
We’ve heard of many licenses that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued to mobile money operators, but it’s been slow to take off. Now the CBN is launching a pilot project called Cashless Lagos to encourage mobile money adoption and reduce the dependence on cash. One simple but potentially controversial component of this plan is to encourage mobile money usage by increasing fees on cash transactions.

Orange Money attracts 3 million on IT News Africa
Orange, who infamously missed the mobile money boat in Kenya, is finally catching up to Safaricom’s M-Pesa with its own offering, Orange Money. Orange Money now serves 3 million customers across eight countries, tripling its customer base since the end of 2010. However, this still pales in comparison to M-Pesa’s 14 million customers in Kenya alone.

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