Citi has formed a global partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to boost financial inclusion in developing countries through mobile money technology.
Nearly two billion of the five billion mobile phone owners around the world do not have access to banking services, instead relying on cash, exposing them to potential theft, fraud or loss, and high-cost lending and remittance providers, say the partners.
In a bid to bring mobile banking services to these two billion, USAID is pledging over $23 million and Citi is promising to integrate its core banking services with mobile money platforms.
The partners say they will work with governments, donors and industry players to expand current USAID efforts and focus on implementing a set of principles in nine countries, with an initial emphasis on Colombia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya and the Philippines.
Raj Shah, administrator, USAID, says: "The ability to store and transfer money, as well as to make small payments using mobile phones, has the potential to lift millions out of poverty, just as the Green Revolution did in the 1960s. Our partnership with Citi, a global banking leader, will accelerate implementation of these new services in a smart and safe way."
Vikram Pandit, CEO, Citi, adds: "Mobile money is a game-changing endeavor with the potential to improve lives, create jobs, catalyse new enterprises and expand financial inclusion, particularly in the emerging markets that are critical to the growth of the global economy."
You can read a paper outlining the USAID-Citi plan to accelerate mobile money adoption here.