We started this post before a Greek deal rendered the discussion of a digital parallel currency moot. Nevertheless, it’s still worth looking to the Kenyan M-pesa for a better understanding of why it’s dangerous to treat fintech solutions as panaceas for economies struggling with productivity, poor credit profiles, tax collection issues and overall corruption without understanding what’s really at stake.
Kenya is often presented as an example of a country which has flourished thanks to mobile money adoption — the poster child that “digital payments can make the world a better place”.
But often forgotten is Kenya’s unique circumstances. The M-pesa mobile money system, owned and operated by Safaricom which is 40 per cent owned by Vodafone, was allowed an unchallenged monopoly in the country for a very long time. Read more
We’ve rushed straight from Camp Alphaville’s big data, AI and debt sustainability conversations to Paris to take part in a United Nations Environment Program-hosted symposium entitled New Rules for New Horizons: Reshaping Finance Sustainability.
[As an aside - we were delivered to the venue by a particularly overjoyed Parisien taxi driver celebrating news that local protests against Uber's UberPop service, which allows non-professionals to offer rides, had successfully persuaded the Silicon Valley Taxi-Unicorn-App-Monopoly-Disruptor to suspend the service as of this weekend.]
This is a very brief summary of the session we moderated on financial technology and sustainability — yes there is a connection — before a more thoughtful take on everything we’ve just downloaded sometime next week. Read more
Putting a financial value on aid is tricky. Case in point, Monday’s FT editorial on the UK’s overseas development budget:
The expansion in the budget of the Department for International Development has not been without its critics. Some have questioned what intrinsic merit there is in spending 0.7 per cent of Britain’s output on overseas aid. The target is one that the development lobby has long been attached to… At the same time, there have been worries that Dfid’s £12bn budget is not spent effectively.
In our previous post we explained why Jean-François Groff, CEO of Mobino, believes mobile payments systems could be a lot more honest and more money-like.
How does Groff’s company fit into it all? Well, his big idea really is to keep M0 (as economists like to call base money) exactly what it is, M0. Read more
The mobile money/virtual currency arena is getting more and more crowded. And the question remains: will the concept ever gain the critical mass needed to become the next big thing in finance?
From Bitcoin to M-pesa, Square, Paypal, Dwolla and Ven (to name just a few) … the number of new concepts is piling up. Read more