February 2016
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The world’s first interoperable shared mobile payments platform has launched

The Better Than Cash Alliance contributed to the strategy, design and launch of Peru’s new mobile payment system, Bim, which plans to bring digital payments to five million Peruvians over the next five years. Available over three major telecommunication networks, Bim is a shared payments scheme and the first product of Modelo Perú, an industry-wide partnership formed by 32 financial services providers. Peru’s financial service providers now compete on customer acquisition, while users benefit from nationwide access. 

Read our blog post, as well as articles by Bloomberg and Devex.

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©Grameen Foundation


Inter-American Development Bank first regional bank to join the Alliance

IDB has been a driving force in the promotion of digital payments and financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, has partnered with institutions in the region to develop business models to expand the access to payments, savings, and more. As most governments in the region are realizing the incredible benefits that can be derived from the transition to digital payments, the bank’s membership has the potential to drive digitization in LAC.

©WFP/Mohammad Batah

WFP uses iris scan tech to give food assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Jordan has launched an iris scan payment system, allowing Syrian refugees to buy food from local shops using eye scans instead of conventional payment methods. As a result, refugees do not have to carry cash, vouchers or cards to get what they need – all that’s required is their eyes. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was the first UN program to launch iris scan technology for refugees.
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©The Omidyar Network

To boost women's economic empowerment, create inclusive digital financial ecosystems

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Microlinks organized a discussion on “Digitizing Financial Solutions to Advance Women’s Economic Participation.” Our Managing Director Ruth Goodwin-Groen co-presented the event with Leora Klapper, Lead Economist of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. Klapper highlighted that lower mobile phone ownership for women was a huge barrier for economic participation, while Goodwin-Groen spoke of the importance of privacy and secure savings, as well as the vital role of an inclusive digital financial ecosystem.
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©Nicole Kresse, Chemonics


Mobile money helps promote peace in Cote d’Ivoire

Many Ivoirians were concerned that the 2015 presidential elections would result in renewed conflict. One successful peace-promoting initiative included using radio to share messages about reconciliation and the need for ongoing peace during the election period. Over 300 different small businesses and artists involved in the project were paid using mobile money; 1.2 million people tuned in to the radio station to hear messages of peace.
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What does mobile money usage look like in Rwanda and Ghana?

The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) looks at mobile money momentum in Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. In all these countries, domestic remittances is the top reason for starting to use mobile money.
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World Development Report 2016: Access to the Internet inadequate

60 percent of the world's population is excluded from access to the Internet, according to the World Development Report. It also highlights that the transformation brought about by technology requires a favorable business climate, strong human capital, and good governance. If we close the digital divide and reach those now excluded, even more people will be able to reap the benefits.
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Grameen Foundation finds mobile payments improve resilience

The Grameen Foundation report states "Initial studies of the mobile payments system in Kenya are promising, suggesting that access to this mechanism for transferring money leads to reduced vulnerability when house-holds experience negative events such as job loss or a health emergency."
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First U.S. Financial Inclusion Forum brings together governments and private sector 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) brought together leaders in the U.S. Government, other governments, and the private and non-profit sectors – for the first time in the U.S. – to discuss how to expand financial inclusion domestically and internationally. One recommendation was to link the work of Multilateral Development Banks to the Better Than Cash Alliance.
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In Focus

Citi digital money report: What is the “tipping point” for a cashless world?
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USAID’s spotlight on the principles for digital development
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Mobile World Congress highlights:
GSMA’s Mobile Connect to help drive digital account ownership 
Mobile has power to tame transaction fees, says PayPal’s Dan Schulman

Egyptian Government and Visa sign agreement to enable electronic payment of government subsidies
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On Twitter

‪#Peru‪ launches world’s 1st shared interoperable mobile payments platform w/ 32 issuers & 3 telcos: http://bit.ly/1GRicPs 
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.‪@CGAP on catalyzing women’s ‪#FinancialInclusion and the role of data: ‪http://bit.ly/1oNDB9Q 
National Microfinance Bank & ‪@CARE develop ‪#financialinclusion model to give loans to 1000s: ‪http://bit.ly/1Q49Pba 

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Upcoming Events

March 8: International Women’s Day
March 21: Second anniversary of the Ebola outbreak
April 15-16: 2016 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group
May 23-24: World Humanitarian Summit
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GRAPHIC OF THE MONTH: Taken from our report, Digital Financial Solutions to Advance Women’s Economic Participation, this graphic shows the disparity between women with low and high incomes in terms of formal saving methods. 
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