Impact of Mobile Advancements in Developing Countries

With the upcoming GSMA Mobile for Development Summit, we focused our weekly reading on mobile money and technology. Mobile money has become a mainstream service for MNOs in emerging markets posing both benefits and risks. We are always looking for innovators and startups that can piggyback on these innovations to promote financial inclusion at the bottom of the pyramid.

Mobile money transforming Africa by Arthur Goldstruck on Mark Lives

Since the first mobile payments platform was launched in Africa 11 years ago, 40 countries in Africa have at least two mobile payment providers per country. Without conventional internet access, many Africans had to turn to their phones for banking and payment services. Mobile money has advanced to distinct forms of mobile commerce from mobile as point of sale to using their phone as a cash register and add-on device. M-PESA in Kenya, the most famous of them all, originally launched as a micro-financing offering with the service potential for money transfer. It has become so much more than that, now moving more than 30% of Kenya’s GDP. Celpay is South Africa has also seen moderate success. It became popular for its direct payment to SAB truck drivers for their beer deliveries. Now numerous success stories are emerging and do not depend on one specific platform.

E-commerce is growing in Africa, but not in exactly the same form as other regions by Andrew Shaw on Amadeus Blog

Without the proper infrastructure and framework, new and unique ways have evolved to provide Africa with an online shopping experience. Jumia, an online store based in Nigeria, practices pay on delivery in an attempt to overcome the mistrust of e-commerce. Another example is SlimTrader, the first platform in Africa that allows consumers to purchase goods or service through their mobile device. Companies have had to build in-house logistics networks to make up for the lack of basic infrastructure.

Security startups and Africa’s mobile boom: big problems, huge opportunities by Jacques Coetzee on Venture Burn

With the world becoming more and more engaged online in banking, communication, and storing personal information, users have experienced privacy invasions and hacking. This is a large problem in Africa – a continent with a growing number of mobile and internet users. Much of this is attributed to the lack of legislation regarding cyber crime and laws. While there is plenty of developer talent, the African continent generally lacks the required formal infrastructure. However, companies like Thawte, Fraud Crackers, and FireID Security protect personal information and combat cybercrime. Over the last few years, Kenya and South Africa have improved regulation. Despite recent improvements, the need for security is still present and is open to startups and innovators.

GSMA announces initial findings from MMU 2013 Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey by Claire Panicuad on GSMA

The mobile money landscape is becoming increasingly competitive. Mobile money represents the biggest opportunity to increase financial inclusion in emerging markets, as said by GSMA Director General Anne Bouverot. As of this year, there are 208 mobile payment services live in 83 countries as compared to 178 in 74 countries in 2012. Of those 208 mobile services, 53% are live in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, 60% of future  deployments are planned to launch outside of Africa. In addition to these recent findings, GSMA will hold the GSMA Mobile for Development Summit on November 11 & 12, 2013 in the Vineyard Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. There, Invested Development founder and managing director, Miguel Granier will be speaking and attending other panels.