Mobile Money: Impacts, Challenges and Open Questions

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Live via Zoom | 4:00-5:30pm EAT
Two hands holding money and mobile phone to conduct a mobile money transfer
Individual completing a mobile money transfer
Rosenfeld Media / Wikimedia Commons

As of December 2018, two-thirds of total global mobile money transactions were driven by users in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with values exceeding US$25 billion. Mobile money has been touted as a revolutionary tool for expanding access to financial services in low-resource environments. With just a mobile phone, users are able to quickly transfer money at low cost and, typically, without needing access to an existing banking account.

With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, J-PAL Africa is hosting a practitioner-focused webinar to highlight the evidence on the impacts of mobile money and digital financial services on poverty, open policy research questions, and challenges that practitioners face in sub-Saharan Africa.

During this webinar, the speakers will share the existing evidence on the impacts of digital finance and mobile money on poverty as well as the open research questions on mobile money innovations. To ground the evidence discussed, they will also talk through the regulatory and implementation challenges and achievements from the practitioner's perspective. A short Q&A session will follow the speakers' presentations and will serve as an opportunity for policymakers and practitioners in the audience to join the conversation.

Speakers and agenda:

  • Opening remarks and introduction: Tavneet Suri (MIT; Co-Scientific Director, J-PAL Africa; Co-Chair, J-PAL's Agriculture sector; Chair, DigiFI Africa Initiative),
  • Interpreting evidence on the impacts of digital finance and mobile money on poverty: Seth Garz (Senior Program Officer for Research in Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation),
  • Open research questions on digital finance: Leora Klapper (Lead Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Research Team of the Development Research Group, World Bank),
  • Regulation and implementation challenges and achievements: Bitange Ndemo (University of Nairobi School of Business; former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication, Kenya)
  • Q&A.

Webinar recording