Telenor in a statement today has said that it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) Fund. With the help of the grant, Telenor Pakistan will introduce a savings/ insurance product under the umbrella of its easypaisa services.
MMU grants are awarded to support commercially viable and sustainable mobile-operator-led projects that accelerate the deployment of mobile banking services to the unbanked. This year only seven mobile operators have been selected from around the world for the grants based on their financial services.
Gavin Krugel, Director GSMA speaking about the MMU Fund said: “Between now and the end of 2011 millions of consumers are expected to directly benefit from mobile money services launched with the support of the Fund – that is 170 million customers at the base of the economic pyramid and who previously lacked access to financial services, from 19 operators in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.”
Commenting on the grant, Roar Bjaerum, Vice President Financial Services, Telenor Pakistan said: “We are delighted to have received the MMU grant. Easypaisa has very quickly gained popularity among all segments of society. Through it we have moved over PKR2 billion through more than a million transactions. Considering that only 12% of the population in the country has access to banking services, the MMU grant is going to help us develop a savings and insurance product that is tailored to the needs of the financially excluded.”
easypaisa is a diverse suite of financial services launched by Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Microfinance Bank with the aim to provide mobile banking services to the unbanked people of Pakistan.
The MMU Fund is administered by the GSMA Foundation Inc and supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It works with mobile operators, banks, microfinance institutions, government and development organizations to encourage the expansion of reliable and affordable mobile financial services to base-of-the-pyramid unbanked customers.