Mobile Payments: A Booming Industry in a Down Economy?

“Global GDP will decline this year for the first time since the second World War, with growth at least five percentage points below potential,” said the World Bank report.

And yet, Insight Research claims, “When this recession ends, the global financial system will emerge stronger and more tightly integrated, and the cell phone’s new financial transaction capabilities will be a part of the foundation of that recovery.”

Foundation of that recovery?  Wow!    Already, mobile payment services like Zap and mPesa in Africa have generated over 5 million subscribers within just 2 years.  For any of you following this sector, you are well aware of the millions of dollars being poured into building mobile payments infrastructures in Africa from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the IMF and World Bank.  To see that kind of money poured into an emerging technology and an emerging business in the face of serious economic recession means this is no short-term bubble.  Mobile will be THE way of doing payments and banking for these markets in the future.  And, if Insight Research lives up to its name, then all of the efforts taking place now to drive mobile payments forward in these emerging markets will actually help contribute to global recovery. 

Onward to Africa this Friday.  Stay tuned for some blogs around the MMT conference coming up in Johannesburg.  Can’t wait!

My website for mPay Connect Consulting Services will be up shortly. 

Next up… What does it mean to address the unbanked segment in the developed world with mobile payments?  What lessons can be learned from Africa and other markets?  What’s different?


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