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Resource Library / How Technology Is Working for Clients and MFIs – Especially for Those Living and Working in the Hardest to Reach Areas

Camilla Nestor
David Edelstein

Camilla Nestor, Vice President, Microfinance, Grameen Foundation, USA David Edelstein, Vice President, Technology , Grameen Foundation, USA With Assistance from: Elizabeth Berthe, Director, Mobile Financial Services, Grameen Foundation Carol Caruso, Managing Director, Triple Jump Advisory Services Debbie Dean, Microsavings Project Director, Grameen Foundation Kate Griffin, Director, Solutions for the Poorest, Grameen Foundation Julie Peachey, Microsavings Project Manager, Grameen Foundation Leo Tobias, Technology Program Manager, Grameen Foundation There are more than five billion mobile phones in the world: nearly four billion of these are in the hands of people in developing countries. Increasingly within reach of the poor, mobile phones provide an unparalleled channel to deliver information and services that benefit the poor directly and through MFIs. In addition, mobile phones can help MFIs streamline operations, remove costs from existing processes and offer new products when combined with mobile money platforms. However, people as well as MFIs are just beginning to realize these benefits. This paper will examine cases in which clear successes have been achieved, analyze factors that have limited the potential of mobile phones, outline the conditions necessary to harness opportunities, and will conclude with a vision of what the world could look like three years from now if we successfully capture the potential of mobile phones.

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