Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, May 14, 2013
– IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation
today convened key financial industry players to build further momentum
for mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The event recognized the
market’s enormous potential, especially for increasing access to finance
for low income households, small scale businesses and in hard-to-reach
Mobile phone penetration in Cote d’Ivoire
is more than 90 percent, while only 14 percent of Ivoirians have access
to financial services. Mobile network operators have registered more than
two million mobile financial services customers in the past three years.
The Ivorian market for mobile financial services is the largest and the
most dynamic in the West African Economic and Monetary Union region.
Cassandra Colbert, IFC Resident Representative
in Cote d’Ivoire, said,“Improving access to finance is important for
supporting shared prosperity in Cote d’Ivoire. IFC and The MasterCard
Foundation want to help local financial institutions realize the opportunity
in Cote d’Ivoire for the development of agent banking and mobile financial
services that will accelerate the reach of financial services to those
currently without banking services.”
At the seminar in Abidjan, IFC highlighted
the business case for engaging in mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire.
The workshop marked the beginning of the implementation of a four year
program by IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to contribute to the development
and expansion of mobile financial services in the country.
IFC and The MasterCard Foundation consider
access to financial services a key tool in poverty alleviation that can
dramatically change the lives of the economically marginalized.
About The Partnership for Financial Inclusion
In January 2012 IFC and The MasterCard Foundation
launched the $37.4 million Partnership for Financial Inclusion to bring
financial services to an estimated 5.3 million previously unbanked people
in Sub-Saharan Africa in five years. The program aims to develop sustainable
microfinance business models that can deliver large-scale low-cost banking
services, and provides technical assistance to mobile network operators,
banks and payments systems providers in order to accelerate the development
of low-cost mobile financial services.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing
countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing
capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services
to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time
high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector
to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing
development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.