The option to store value and to transact from a safe savings account is the foundation of financial inclusion. There is a need for developing banking models that allow poor people to save daily, as they earn money, right from their neighbourhoods and villages. This requires leveraging existing non-bank retail outlets to serve as cash transaction points acting on behalf of licensed financial institutions, and mobile operators acting as channel managers and transaction aggregators. Such schemes need to be commercially viable for all players involved, without having to rely on credit as a driver of profitability.
The potential of mobile phones to revolutionize access to financial services in developing countries is exemplified powerfully by the success of the M-Pesa mobile money service in Kenya. But the apparent difficulty of replicating M-Pesa's success even in neighbouring countries suggests that some contexts may be more receptive to such an innovation than others. In this paper we seek to understand the environmental dynamics affecting the uptake of mobile money. We demonstrate that, aside from strong strategy and good business models, the impact of financial services in developing countries is dependent on the potential for market penetration, and the socio-economic and political environments in which services take root.