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SMART and Landbank mobile ATM during Typhoon Haiyan response, 2013-14

Scaling Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion
in Fragile States or Situations


There are an estimated 2.7 billion ‘unbanked’ or ‘financially excluded’ people in the world today. Greater financial inclusion would not only improve lives but also stimulate economies - the Banking on Change Partnership (Barclays, CARE and Plan UK) claims that developing countries could receive a yearly savings boost of up to USD145 billion if the unbanked were to participate in the formal economy.


Emergency contexts, from conflict-affected Afghanistan and Somalia to disaster-prone Philippines and Ebola-struck West Africa, are hardest hit. Therefore our core team and associates have prioritised their support to initiatives that evaluate in real time the feasibilty of scaling mobile money as a solution to immediate needs and longer-term financial inclusion. We have acted on behalf of private companies, government regulators, and humanitarian organisations. 


A key example is in the Philippines, where a super-typhoon hit the country in 2013 and affected 14.9 million of its poorest people. Despite having one of the most developed and efficient mobile transfer systems in the world, aid agencies had to date made limited use of mobile transfers for cash payments to beneficiaries, and financial inclusion of the population remained low. Dr Thompson provided strategic support to the main telco providers and humanitarian responders in developing a rapid response that involved the use of mobile technology wherever practical. Following her departure, one of these companies - Smart Communications - was awarded the 2014 GSMA industry award for Best Use of Mobile in Emergency or Humanitarian Situations.


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