The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, says it has recently approved a grant of US $551,386 for a project with Mobile Money Guyana(MMG), that will create access to formal money transfer and payments for at least 10,000 domestic remittance-sending clients that live in remote, underserved areas in Guyana’s regions 4, 6, 9, and 10 through the development and pilot of mobile savings wallet to promote savings for remittance clients.
Additionally, 30 micro and small enterprises located in these regions will benefit by becoming part of MMG’s agent network.
Many low-income households in Guyana rely, either in part or wholly, on domestic remittances. These remittances are usually sent by workers employed mainly in the forestry and mining sectors, who have emigrated from urban areas and send funds back to their families in the interior of the country. This employment can be intermittent or seasonal; their “lumpy” income streams magnify the need for formal savings accumulation in order to smooth income during periods of unemployment. The population of the interior is largely underserved by the formal financial system due to the extreme remoteness of these communities and their low population density, which does not encourage banks to provide services due to high operating costs.
Technology provides an opportunity to deliver financial services to dispersed rural populations in Guyana because, while Internet coverage in rural parts of the country can be a challenge, there is very high penetration of mobile phones and reliable service coverage. The proposed project will promote the use of a formal money transfer solution among low wage, temporary workers in Guyana’s hinterlands using mobile money.
Specifically, the project will undertake the expansion of MMG’s presence in selected rural communities through the development of a more robust agent network – adding 30 agents- and the promotion of person-to-person (P2P) money transfer services as a core service in those areas. Currently, MMG provides electronic wallet-based mobile financial services which enable users to store e-money and conduct simple financial transactions using their mobile phones. Users can convert cash to e-money and make payments and withdrawals through MMG’s network of 110 agents, which is made up of micro, small, and medium sized enterprises such as corner stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies.
About the MIF
The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, supports private sector-led development benefiting low-income populations and the poor—their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory—experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks to build and support successful micro, small and medium business models. More information can be found at www.fomin.org
About Mobile Money Guyana
Mobile Money Guyana Inc. (MMG) is Guyana’s first and only mobile financial services provider in operation. MMG is a for profit private entity, wholly-owned by Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Co. Ltd (GT&T), Guyana’s sole full-service telecommunications provider. MMG offers its mobile money services mainly through indirect channels via a variety of independent micro and small businesses which act as agents. MMG currently has over 6,500 subscribers, 113 agents, 67 merchants and 7 bill pay clients dispersed in all ten regions of Guyana. Services offered include person-to-person money transfers, bill payment services, mobile phone top-ups, merchant payments, and fund disbursements. More information at http://mmg.co.gy/about/