MasterCard is indeed cementing its presence in Kenya because the car company has partnered with Grameen Foundation to bring AppLab Money in Kenya. This initiative is designed to create mobile financial services products for the unbanked and under-banked in the country.
Grameen Foundation will team up with Jamii Bora Bank to research, design and test products that will be delivered through Jamii Bora’s extensive operations across Kenya.
James Wainaina, Vice-President and Area Business Head, MasterCard East Africa said: “Today around 2.5 billion people lack access to credit, insurance, savings accounts, and other formal financial services. Our vision for Africa is to see cashless transactions bridge the gap for the financially disenfranchised. ”
Erin Connor, Kenya Country Director, Grameen Foundation had this to say: “Our aim is to demonstrate how appropriately designed financial products can improve the lives and livelihoods of the poor by reducing risk, improving financial security and increasing income.”
According to the 2013 FINACCESS National Survey, 76 percent of the rural population can access a mobile money agent as the nearest financial service provider. In rural areas it takes less time on average for an individual to get to a mobile money agent than to a bank branch or bank agent.
Samuel Kimani, CEO, Jamii Bora Bank said: “Our main focus is on leveraging technology to enable our customers and all our stakeholders to have access to a truly robust financial service that will enhance and transform their lifestyles anywhere, anytime and enable them to do anything. We expect that this will significantly reduce the cost of access to financial services and enable us to bring relevant financial services to Kenya and the rest of the region.”
AppLab Money Kenya is funded by MasterCard and philanthropists Craig and Susan McCaw through the “Craig and Susan McCaw Technology for Development Challenge.” The McCaw challenge grant supports initiatives that help to push the frontiers of mobile technology in developing the next generation of financial products designed to help the poor.