31% of GDP in Kenia spend on the back of mPesa, and with mobile remittances allowing for radical cut in average cost cut of remittance, allowing to bring back USD 20 Bn p.a. to emerging markets
Luis Buenaventura is Head of Product at Satoshi Citadel Industries, a Bitcoin startup operating out of the Philippines. It’s a little known fact that mobile money was effectively invented in the Philippines by Smart Communications. Its Smart Money solution, launched in 2001, predates the successful M-Pesa out of Kenya by a good six years. Even GCash, a similar service operated by the second largest telco in the Philippines, was launched three years before Safaricom’s pride and joy in 2004. But although M-Pesa is clearly the runaway hit of the mobile money platforms (31 percent of Kenya’s GDP is spent on the back of their system), other services such as Millicom’s Tigo Cash in Latin America (launched initially in Paraguay in 2010), MTN Uganda’s MobileMoney (2009) and TrueMoney out of Thailand (2010) seem to be doing quite well for themselves too.