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IFC Study Identifies Factors for Successful Partnerships in Mobile Financial Services Industry

Johannesburg, South Africa, October 21, 2013 —A new report by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation examines what factors determine successful partnerships between market actors in the mobile financial services industry, a crucial aspect in the effective roll out of affordable mobile financial services to increase access to finance in developing countries.
Drawing on case studies from Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya and Pakistan, Partnerships in Mobile Financial Services: Factors for Success finds that the quality and impact of such industry partnerships generally depend on the successful definition of partner roles in alignment with competitive advantage and motivation; a long-term view of the division of revenue and cost between partners; and an accommodating regulatory environment.
Co-author Greta Bull, IFC Program Manager, Micro-Retail Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “IFC and The MasterCard Foundation believe that mobile financial services can have a truly transformative impact on access to finance in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere.”
“Everyone would like to see M-Pesa’s success with mobile money in Kenya replicated everywhere, but it has proved to be not that easy. Our study gives insight into some of the most important factors at play.”
Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation, said, “This paper is very clear and realistic about what new technologies and new types of providers have achieved thus far in bringing financial services to the poor. It also poses a challenge to all of us who work in the sector, to ensure that our work is in service of what people really need.”
The study is published by the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a joint $37.4 million initiative between IFC and The MasterCard Foundation that aims to bring formal financial services to 5.3 million low-income individuals and small-scale entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2017. The study also benefited from input by CGAP, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor.
Mobile financial services implementations are structurally complex, requiring expertise in banking, telecommunications, technology, marketing and distribution. Typically, they involve some combination of financial institutions, mobile network operators, agent network managers and payment service providers, linked into a seamless service delivery channel.
Ultimately, the success of these commercial partnerships is crucial to unlocking the great potential that mobile financial services can have for increasing access to affordable, mass-market financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. While access to financial services remains relatively low at 24 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Bank statistics, mobile phone penetration is as high as 70 percent and above in many African countries.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit
About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada with over $6 billion in assets. The Foundation’s vision is to create the opportunity for all to learn and prosper. They advance microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity in developing countries. The Foundation’s programs are serving more than 5 million people in 50 developing countries. The Foundation’s funding and partnerships are concentrated in 23 countries in Africa and provide a combination of skills-building, education, employment, and access to financial services. For more information, visit .
About The Partnership for Financial Inclusion
The Partnership for Financial Inclusion aims to bring formal financial services to 5.3 million previously unbanked people in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2017, by scaling up sustainable microfinance and advancing mobile financial services. It is a $37.4 million initiative by The MasterCard Foundation and IFC, also joined by The Development Bank of Austria, Oesterreichische Entwicklungbank, OeEB. It collaborates with knowledge partners such as The World Bank and CGAP. An important objective of the partnership is to share research and contribute to the global community of practice on financial inclusion.
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