Economic Progress

Could mobile money help end global poverty?

Mobile money was barely heard of a decade ago. Image: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

John Muellbauer

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 The first mobile money system was launched in the Philippines in 2001, and M-Pesa in 2007.
The first mobile money system was launched in the Philippines in 2001, and M-Pesa in 2007. Image: Data from the GSMA State of the Industry report (2017).
Image: Data from the GSMA State of the Industry report (2017).
 This shows the position in 2011 a few years after the adoption of mobile money in Kenya. The first five regions refer to “developing only”.
This shows the position in 2011 a few years after the adoption of mobile money in Kenya. The first five regions refer to “developing only”. Image: Data from the G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators database, World Bank.
 Subscriptions are per 100 inhabitants. “Mobile phone subscribers” refer to active SIM cards rather than individual subscribers.
Subscriptions are per 100 inhabitants. “Mobile phone subscribers” refer to active SIM cards rather than individual subscribers. Image: Data from the ITU World Telecommunication, ICT Indicators database.
Bulk payments include salary and pension payments, and government or NGO transfers.
Bulk payments include salary and pension payments, and government or NGO transfers. Image: Data from the GSMA State of the Industry reports (2016 and 2017).
 Note: This figure shows that of the 690,000 registered accounts in December 2017, only 168,000 were 30 day active (i.e. at least one transaction was performed in the preceding 30 days).
Note: This figure shows that of the 690,000 registered accounts in December 2017, only 168,000 were 30 day active (i.e. at least one transaction was performed in the preceding 30 days). Image: Data from the GSMA State of the Industry report (2017).
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Image: Constructed using data from the ITU World Telecommunication, ICT Indicators database.
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