YellowPepper announced today that it received a grant by the Haiti Integrated Finance for Value Chains and Enterprise (HIFIVE), a USAID-funded project to support the development of mobile money services in Haiti, further enabling Haitians to send, receive and store money using their mobile phones.
In Haiti, only 10% of the population is banked. After the earthquake in January 2010, one-third of Haiti's bank branches were destroyed, further limiting the population's access to financial systems. The grant furthers YellowPepper's efforts to foster financial inclusion throughout Haiti by promoting the use of mobile money technology and services.
This grant will enable YellowPepper to scale up its successful pilot project and to provide its open-architecture mobile payment platform to create a vibrant, safe, accessible and easy-to-use payment ecosystem that allows Haitian consumers to store value, pay for goods and withdraw or transfer funds using their wireless phones. This is a critical first step in reaching the ultimate goal of providing banking services to Haiti's unbanked population.
"All of us at YellowPepper are very proud to play a part in the reconstruction of Haiti. YellowPepper is committed to helping change lives by providing access to quality financial services to the unbanked, helping empower them to take charge of their future and propelling their countries forward," said Serge Elkiner, President and Founder of YellowPepper.
YellowPepper is an integral partner in the groundbreaking money offering TchoTcho Mobile, the first provider of Haitian mobile money services in partnership with Scotiabank and Digicel that last January received an additional US$2.5 million grant from the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI) sponsored by USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Haiti Integrated Finance for Value Chains and Enterprise (HIFIVE), a USAID-funded project, manages HMMI. HIFIVE also offers technical and management assistance to improve financial access for the underserved.
During the MMT Conference that took place earlier this year in Sao Paulo, Brazil, mobile money pioneer Michael Joseph addressed the Conference, and summarized the importance of the mobile money initiative in Haiti. Mr. Joseph stated, "The mobile money initiative in Haiti has the power of changing the future of the country."
"USAID/HIFIVE is pleased to provide this support to YellowPepper's efforts to develop an eco-payment system that will be critical to the successful large scale deployment of mobile money services in Haiti. Technical assistance grants from HIFIVE and the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI) are available to help find solutions to the constraints and challenges facing the implementation of mobile money services in Haiti. Such grants will help to assure that the objectives of HMMI are achieved: Using technology to change Haitian lives via easily accessible, rapidly deployed and ubiquitously available sustainable mobile money services that will help to increase financial inclusion," said Greta Greathouse, Director of HIFIVE.
Digicel Haiti CEO, Maarten Boute, comments: "Our mobile money service, TchoTcho Mobile, is positively impacting the lives of an ever-growing number of Haitians by delivering a safe and convenient service to those who previously had no access to traditional banking services. The response has been fantastic to date and we are delighted to be leading the mobile money charge and helping to change people's lives for the better." TchoTcho Mobile is changing the way Haitians live and make transactions.
"We at Scotiabank are proud to be able to play a role in the future success of Haiti by making financial services accessible and promoting financial inclusion in the country," said Maxime Charles, Country Head, Haiti, Scotiabank. "Our partnership with YellowPepper has allowed us to combine their technology with our banking platform and Digicel's mobile network to reach out to the Haitian population."