The Mobile Financial
World Economic Forum - May 2011
The Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011provides a comprehensive analysis of over 100 variables across 20 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Developed in conjunction with The Boston Consulting Group, the report measures the critical factors necessary to achieve meaningful scale of mobile financial services and to meet the needs of billions excluded from the formal economy.
The report highlights that the adoption of mobile financial services is currently confined to a few countries where access to financial services has been historically constrained and the scope of services limited to mobile money transfer. The findings also suggest that the adoption of financial services such as savings, credit and micro-insurance are nascent and that regulatory environments, market competitiveness and the financial literacy of end-users all need to be collaboratively addressed before meaningful scale can be achieved.
Countries such as Kenya and the Philippines are among the few countries covered by the report that have achieved adoption levels of more than 10% of the total adult population. A defining characteristic of these countries is a dense network of agents – retail access points that are capable of registering account holders and handling cash transactions. However, as these countries look to achieve scale in mobile financial services beyond payments, focusing on factors such as government disbursements through the mobile platform, the competitiveness of their financial and telecom sectors, and better data collection and monitoring to facilitate “test and learn” approaches will need to become a priority.