Bill Gates bets on mobile money as the future of financial services


Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is betting on mobile money to transform the lives of over 2 Billion people who are outside the formal financial system. Gates illustrates the growing impact of mobile money in several emerging markets, with Kenya providing a pioneer case study.

“In Kenya, there are almost a thousand accounts for every 1000 adults and that’s what we want for everyone,” says Gates in his gatesnotes blog.

The philanthropist, through the Bill and Melinda Foundation, is keen to see digital wallets take over unstructured and inefficient banking systems in the next 15 years. Gates says the next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries.

“By 2030, 2 billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones. And by then, mobile money providers will be offering the full range of financial services, from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit to insurance.”

It’s not just in Kenya that mobile money is turning traditional banking on its head. In Bangladesh, Gates says, the fastest-growing financial services company is a mobile money provider called bKash

“Less than four years after launching, it processes roughly 2 million transactions per day, with a total value of nearly $1 billion each month.”

In addition to mobile money, Gates is also betting on technology to improve health services and revolutionize learning. Improving farm yields with a vision of Africa feeding itself by 20130 is the fourth area Gates and his foundation are betting on.