MasterCard has partnered Grameen Foundation a global nonprofit organization on AppLab Money, an initiative that is designed to create mobile financial services products for the unbanked and underbanked in Kenya.
The collaboration also includes Jamii Bora, Kenya’s fastest growing Bank with a dedicated customer base of over 300,000 as the first customer. The move is in a bid to deepen the reach of financial products to low income communities across the country, leveraging the vast penetration of the mobile phone, AppLab Money Kenya aims to take appropriate mobile financial services to the communities that need those most.
According to 2013 FINACCESS National Survey, 76% of the rural population can access a mobile money agent as the nearest financial service provider. In rural areas it takes less time on average for an individual to get to a mobile money agent than to a bank branch or bank agent.
“Today around 2.5 billion people or roughly half of the world’s adult population- lack access to credit, insurance, savings accounts and other formal financial services. Our vision for Africa is to see cashless transactions bridge the gap for the financially disenfranchised our work with Grameen Foundation and Jamii Bora who we share a similar vision will help us achieve that.” said James Wainaina, Vice-President, MasterCard East Africa.
AppLab Money Kenya is part of an innovative approach that focuses on developing testing and scaling the next generation of breakthrough products and services tailored to meet the financial needs of the poor. This involves combining technology enabled innovation derived by engaging designers, researchers and commercial analysts to help various partners understand the needs of the poor, enabling the development of relevant, scalable solutions.
Grameen operates a similar initiative in Uganda and plans to extend the App model to other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.