Six Degrees of Mobile Money in Afghanistan

Examining the impact of USAID’'s mobile money initiative in Afghanistan
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This essay is a part of the USAID ebook, 'Frontiers in Development' which discusses a host of development issues. The essay explores a USAID/Afghanistan initiative that encourages multi-sector collaboration to promote the use of mobile money through public-private partnerships. USAID’'s strategic approach focuses on engaging with key stakeholders, ensuring an appropriate legal and regulatory environment, and encouraging innovation through public-private partnerships. As a part of the Mobile Money Innovation Grant Fund, launched in March 2011, USAID committed to partnering with Afghan public- and private-sector organizations to expand the use of mobile financial services. USAID/Afghanistan compiled a list of more than 15 potential mobile money applications by the end of 2011. The market responded well through public-private partnerships to USAID/Afghanistan’s targeted funding and multi-sector approach. Responses included Etisalat’'s introduction of mHawala mobile wallet, Roshan’'s engagement with Afghan government and NGO partners, and collaborations between Afghan banks and mobile money service providers. This initial momentum has encouraged USAID to expect additional quantitative and qualitative results by mid-2012. USAID/Afghanistan’s mobile-money initiative is likely to lead to:

  • Greater awareness of mobile money;
  • Transformation of the Afghan financial sector;
  • Increased transparency of government transactions;
  • More convenience for consumers;
  • New revenue-generation opportunities for partner sustainability;
  • Improved lives for Afghans across the country.

About this Publication

By Howell, G.