Simon Cavill is doing some brilliant work in the field of mobile payments. It's happening all over the world, but especially in rural areas of Africa, where ATM machines are scarce and most people don't have a bank account. The mi-pay method focuses on the diaspora who are crucial to the economies of many African countries. Global aid is estimated at 60 billion dollars. The amount sent back to Africa through the diaspora network is ten-fold that figure - and 600 million may be an underestimate because this form of informal trade is difficult to measure.
Personally, I see mobile payments as being very important to ensure that correspondents working for radio and TV stations get paid for their work. I know that so much training in developing countries turns out to be a waste of time because those trained cannot make a career out of what they learned.
In this interview, Simon explains how the system works and why it is growing so fast in developing countries. I spoke to him at Forum Oxford, and see that he is contributing to the next conference in Oxford on April 24th 2009. Well worth showing up to listen. forumoxford.com