access to finance
This past October I participated in a 2-day Mobile Money Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Why Papua New Guinea? There is growing interest among telecom companies and banks there in mobile financial services. Although the meeting was attended by more than 50 people from around the Pacific, the majority of the participants were from companies doing business in Papua New Guinea.
Writing in the Ethical Corporation newsletter, Rajesh Chhabara recently opined on the near-term prospects for microfinance in Asia. Their take? Things are just hunky-dory:
Mobile banking – everyone is talking about it, but how can we separate hype from reality? I've invited Janine Firpo, President of Sevak Solutions, to help us make sense of this potentially transformative technology. Janine was recently hired by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to work with IFC’s regional advisory teams to accelerate the development and large-scale roll-out of mobile money solutions in East Asia and the Pacific.
Former PSD blogger Thorsten Beck has returned, but this time he's bringing his insight on all things finance-related to the Crisis Talk blog. Now at Tilburg University, Beck spent eleven years at the World Bank and authored or coauthored a number of significant contributions on finance, perhaps most notably Making Finance Work for Africa.
It will be intriguing to see how the global economic crisis impacts firms operating at the base of the pyramid.
If you've got some free time this afternoon, I highly recommend checking out an event being put on by CGAP on Mobile Banking for Poor People: Pioneer Perspectives. The discussion will take place between 2pm-5pm eastern standard time and will feature a star-studded panel, including Nick Hughes of Vodaphone and Brian Richardson of Wizzit.