By Sean Paavo Krepp, Uganda Country Director
Grameen Foundation Insights
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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.
On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.
Originally posted on our AppLab Blog. Fredrick Ndiwalana is Relationship Manager, Applab Money Accelerator, and Ali Ndiwalana is Research Lead, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.
The world’s largest democracy is the new testing ground for what could be the largest plan for putting cash directly into the hands of the poorest people. Cash transfer programs have been successful in Latin America and parts of Africa, but India could be the best example of how to deliver these programs on a large scale.
It’s certainly a gargantuan task. But, overall, it’s a good initiative, with the long-term benefits outweighing the very real obstacles it faces. The most significant impact could be the network of agents (or business correspondents) that will be created to service the transfer system. They could potentially support the other financial needs of the poor, helping India move closer to the goal of true financial inclusion.
Some call mobile phones the great equalizer. With one click, poor farmers in rural Uganda can have the same access to information as a rancher in Texas. Because of this, many expect the dramatic growth of phones in the developing world to bring boundless opportunities.
But according to a GSMA report released in October, we actually ended 2012 with about 2 billion fewer mobile phone subscribers than previously thought. GSMA’s estimate of 3.2 billion subscribers by the end of the year (growing at a rate of 16 % per year) is at odds with another report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – one of the main public sources of information often cited for this data – that put the count at 6 billion and growing.
Originally posted at Next Billion. Leo Tobias is a Technology Program Manager at Grameen Foundation.