Mobile Money for Afghanistan Economy and Development
Mobile money allows people and organizations to transfer money instantaneously and in full to a "mobile wallet" account on a cell phone handset and withdraw cash as necessary at local retailers. In Afghanistan, 96% of people lack bank accounts, while about half the population now use mobile phones across and service is available in most of the country.
Richard Adams from AWCC and Estelle Van Nerkerk from Etisalat explain how the system works. Safiullah Ahmadi from the Afghan Social Outreach program talks about the benefits of mobile technology. Khalid Dawar explains that he works for a company that pays him through this system.
Mutahid Development Finance Institution clients can now receive and repay micro loans directly from their mobile handset using Roshan's M-Paisa mobile wallet service. Some 240 Afghan entrepreneurs - mostly women - registered for the new service at the first of five "Road Shows" designed to publicize the innovation throughout the country. Using mobile payments to extend and repay loans should significantly improve efficiency and sustainability by reducing overhead costs associated with micro lending. Introducing mobile payments into the business model also opens up a new channel for small business owners to access information and services that will help improve operations.
Some 240,000 Afghans currently use micro loans averaging USD 400 to improve their small business operations - 67% of whom are women. Afghanistan's micro finance sector is watching the M-Paisa/Mutahid experiment closely to learn how mobile payments can help extend the reach of micro finance entities to undeserved communities.
For more information, see the following articles: Mobile Money Services Customized for Women,
USAID Grants Will Enable More Than 100,000 Afghans to Use Mobile Money Services,
U.S. Government Supports Innovative Mobile Program for Money Transfers throughout Afghanistan,
Innovating in Afghanistan,
Mobile Money: A Foundational Investment in Afghanistan.