Mobile Money in Afghanistan

frog Executive Creative Director Jan Chipchase recently led a research study in Afghanistan on mobile money with support from frog and the Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion. Afghanistan is a country with extremely low levels of access to banking infrastructure; limited trust in formal institution; and high levels of illiteracy. At the same time, it has a growing mobile phone eco-system that includes a rapidly expanding legion of micro-entrepreneurs. In 2008 Roshan partnered with Vodafone to bring M-Paisa mobile money services to Afghanistan.

During his trip, Jan probed questions arising from this new dynamic. What happens to existing money practices when a mobile operator introduces mobile banking services into this environment? How is it used? What innovations does it enable? And ultimately how does it affect the day-to-day quality of life for those at the base of the pyramid? How do mobile money services work alongside existing formal and informal money practices? What lessons can be drawn for the design of mobile money services around the world?