The Most Influential USAID Paragraph on Mobile Money
November 20, 2013 Editor 0
Back in December 2011, I organized a Technology Salon on mobile money with Menekse Gencer and Priya Jaisinghani to figure out how we could increase mobile money usage in development. Once recommendation was to put mobile money language into USAID Request for Proposals.
USAID encourages host country governments, bilateral and multilateral development partners, contractors, subcontractors, grantees, sub-grantees, and private sector alliance partners to help strengthen the financial services sector in the countries we work. Where programs propose cash distributions, partners should consider incorporating electronic payment systems into program design and implementation where feasible, thereby reducing reliance on physical cash.
Now this is just an information request to understand the use of electronic payments by implementing partners, and the information provided in proposals cannot be an evaluation factor unless specifically stated in the solicitation document, but when was the last time you saw a suggestion in an RFP and didn’t follow it?
And I’m seeing multiple RFPs with this language these days – direct and obvious hints of USAID’s future direction away from cash and towards mobile money. Of course, who can argue that’s anything but a great idea? Mobile money is so much more efficient that I’m surprised implementers haven’t already made the wholesale switch. In fact, if you’re still using cash disbursements, do tell why!
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