It is an intriguing question, however there is far more in common with the humble shampoo sachet and developing market fintech than you would expect. …

I came to Myanmar in 2012 at the invitation of Visa to present at the first mobile money conference in the country. The conference was attended by over 200 people representing government, industry and the development sector. I was fascinated by the interest and excitement by the attendees and the huge opportunity that an un-banked population of 50 million plus presented. …

IN LESS than a decade, mobile money has proven an effective means of increasing financial access in frontier markets. In the process, it has brought significant economic benefits to the countries that have fostered its development.

There are now 265 implementations of mobile money in operation across 89 countries. As a result, 299 million people have used mobile money in these markets. Across these countries there are now 2.3 million retailers providing mobile money services – a bigger footprint than traditional finance and remittance service providers in those markets.

In countries where mobile money has been highly successful, such as Kenya, Bangladesh and Pakistan, customers now have the ability to send and receive payments, store money safely, and pay bills. Before the advent of mobile money, many of these transactions would have taken hours to complete. Lives have been changed through better access to finance, something traditional bricks and mortar banks have struggled to deliver. The remarkable aspect of this phenomenal growth, however, is that it has been achieved almost exclusively through feature phones and analogue channels such as SMS and USSD. …


Brad Jones

CEO of Wave Money in Myanmar, a joint venture mobile money and fintech company owned by Telenor Group, First Myanmar Investments and Yoma Bank.

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