Mexico City, Mexico, March 26, 2012—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is working with three partners to address
one of the biggest challenges in getting mobile financial services to underserved
populations in remote areas of Latin America and the Caribbean: the agent
IFC’s Mobile Financial Services Program
is providing financial institutions and service providers with customized
solutions for their agent networks, maximizing results to benefit both
service providers and underserved end users.
IFC’s partners in the initiative are
the Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Netherlands-IFC
Partnership Program, and the Government of Luxembourg.
Unbanked populations can obtain access
to essential financial services if mobile solutions are available. Such
solutions entail using mobile phones to connect individuals to the financial
system, but they also require the existence of an agent network to serve
as cash-in and cash-out points.
Since its launch in December 2010, the
Mobile Financial Services Program has assessed the potential for mobile
financial services in five different countries in the Latin America and
the Caribbean region; launched market-demand studies to provide information
on the demand and characteristics of end users for these services; and
advised five different market players on business-plan creation, product
design, and agent-network development.
Ghada Teima, IFC Access to Finance Manager
for Latin America and the Caribbean, said: “This program is aligned with
our strategy in the region to develop innovative, commercially viable business
models that achieve significant scale and reach the underserved sectors
of the population.”
To support these efforts, IFC is hosting
a one-day workshop for mobile financial services providers. The workshop
will feature expert speakers from Latin America and other regions, giving
participants the opportunity to learn about current mobile money deployments,
challenges faced, and lessons learned. The workshop will showcase the different
agent models being used around the world and highlight the key steps to
a successful agent network roll-out.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector
in developing countries. IFC creates opportunity for people to escape poverty
and improve their lives by providing financing to help businesses employ
more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others,
and through the delivery of advisory services to ensure sustainable development.
In a time of global economic uncertainty, IFC’s new investments climbed
to a record $19 billion in fiscal 2011. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.