GSMA Member Contributions
We would like to thank all of the GSMA member organisations who have made a generous contribution towards the running of Mobile for Development. These donations are used to identify opportunities for innovation and deliver life-enhancing services in financial services, health, agriculture, digital identity, energy, water, sanitation, disaster resilience and gender equality around the world.
Click on a region below to view the GSMA members who have made a contribution to Mobile for Development.
Supporting the digitisation of the agricultural last mile with liquid mobile money distribution networks
Supporting the digitisation of the agricultural last mile with liquid mobile money distribution networks
At GSMA mAgri, we are working with mobile operators to realise the opportunity to digitise agricultural value chains. The use of mobile phones in the so-called agricultural last mile – the final link in agricultural value chains between the buyers of crops and the smallholder producers – can unleash huge efficiencies.
Mobile phones allow farmers to access essential information (agricultural extension, information on certification standards, resources on skills development), support the creation of digital records for farmers and agribusinesses, and crucially enable digital payments for the procurement of crops via mobile money.
The transition from cash to mobile money for business-to-person (B2P) and government-to person (G2P) payments enables efficiencies for both agribusiness and farmers in terms of increased security, time reduction and (potentially) less costly payments. Crucially, it also supports the creation of an economic identity for farmers, opening up the pathway to financial inclusion for those who provide up to 70% of the food consumed globally.
The challenge of supporting liquidity in rural areas
The realisation of the opportunity to digitise agricultural payments requires appetite for investment and innovation on the part of mobile money providers to support liquid, functioning mobile money distribution networks.
Over time, as the mobile money ecosystem develops and users advance to more complex use cases (airtime top ups, merchant payments and financial transactions), the demand for liquidity will diminish. However, in the early phases of adoption, transactions performed at the mobile money agent outlet (cash-in and cash-out) will remain the main mobile money use cases for farmers.
In the early phase of adoption, mobile money providers cannot expect to drive consumer satisfaction and loyalty without sufficient agents available to support cash out. The availability and proximity of mobile money agents in rural areas, however, can be problematic even in the most advanced mobile money markets of East Africa. In Kenya, in 2017 there were 170,000+ registered mobile money agents, still in remote rural areas farmers willing to cash out may have to travel for a few miles to visit the nearest outlet.
After recruiting sufficient agents, mobile money providers must ensure that agents are actually active and able to support cashing out of agricultural payments. The demand for liquidity in rural regions is subject to the agricultural cycle, with peaks in activity at the time of post-harvesting followed by quiet times during growing seasons. The seasonality of agriculture determines spikes in demand and puts pressure on agents, as farmers are likely to access some or all of their income at the same time. Mobile money providers simply cannot afford to have agents turning customers away and potentially losing faith in the entire mobile money service.
Key strategies to address the liquidity challenge in rural regions
By working closely with mobile money providers to support last mile digitisation projects, at GSMA mAgri we have learnt that there is no one size fits all or secret recipe to address the liquidity challenge in rural areas. Rather, a successful strategy to support liquid, functioning mobile money distribution networks requires concerted action and the concurrent implementation of different initiatives. Mobile money providers must act at least at three different levels by:
- Ensuring adequate incentives, at least initially, for agents to support cash-outs;
- Focusing on master agents who can support distribution network expansion in rural regions;
- Coordinating communication between stakeholders involved in agricultural payments (agribusinesses, master agents and individual agents)
Strategy 1: Thinking agents incentives “out of the box”
Since agents are the backbone of mobile money services, the importance of adequate agent incentives cannot be overstated, however it is also clear that agent commissions are the single major OpEx element in the overall business model. It is unlikely that to stimulate rural uptake mobile money providers will be able to offer commissions that are more generous to rural agents. Still, there are available options to activate rural agents and support cash-outs for farmers.
Initiatives like training events to ensure that agents understand the commission structure and benefits on offer as well as the processes required to register new customer can be a good starting point. In addition, mobile money providers should consider linking commissions to quality parameters, for example customer loyalty and listening behaviour, to encourage agents to attract high-quality farmers.
Providing “soft” non-financial incentives to rural agents have also proved very effective, as shown by mobile operators who have successfully deployed marketing agents for Agri VAS. These include offering best performers the opportunity to move up the ladder and sell other products or providing agents with gadgets to give them a sense of pride and belonging in the service community.
Strategy 2: Early on-boarding of master agents
Master agents who buy float from the mobile money provider and resell it to agents have proved fundamental to the rapid expansion of the distribution network. They are key not only to liquidity management, for example by visiting in person rural agents to supply cash or e-money, but also for agent selection, recruitment, on boarding and training. To support the digitisation of B2P payments in the agricultural last mile it is essential that mobile money providers on-board early their master agents.
An example of a successful rural master agent strategy comes from MTN Zambia, which at the time of acquiring new agribusiness clients who want to pay their farmers via mobile money, provides details of the agreement to master agents in target rural areas, including the number of farmers who will be involved and the average value of payments. This way, master agents can see agribusiness recruitment by the mobile money provider as a business opportunity and commit to liquidity management.
Strategy 3: Effective communication at the time of agri payments
Finally, in our work with mobile money providers we have learnt the importance for the service provider to ensure a clear line of communication between all stakeholders involved in the process of paying farmers: That is when, how and which farmers are going to be paid.
To ensure that liquidity is available in target areas, MTN Ghana, for example, requires that its partner agribusiness Cargill communicates promptly its intention to make a B2P payment to farmers via the mobile money platform. As soon as the mobile money provider receives a notification, it contacts its network of master agents via WhatsApp. The master agents are incentivised to ensure individual agents have sufficient liquidity, even moving around to visit individual agents and rebalance their float. This official channel of communication, coupled with adequate incentives, is key the effective disbursement of B2P bulk payments.
You can find out more about strategies to expand mobile money distribution networks in rural areas in the GSMA mAgri toolkit Prerequisites visit digitising the agricultural last mile: Addressing the connectivity, liquidity and due diligence challenges.
Driving cost efficiency through digital health solutions
Driving cost efficiency through digital health solutions
My colleague Mojca and I recently travelled to São Paulo to do research on Telefónica’s AxisMed subsidiary, a Brazilian health management intelligence company, for our upcoming case study – part of a series of scaled digital health solutions.
Brazil’s national health system Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) promises to provide free healthcare to all its 207 million inhabitants. It consists of a group of health services provided by public organisations and institutions on national, state and municipal levels with over 73,000 healthcare units such as basic care units and hospitals. Brazil’s sheer size in terms of geography and population provides an enormous challenge to the SUS. Overburdened medical practices lead to long waiting times for appointments, which prompt people to go to the emergency room instead.
Additionally, there is little emphasis on illness prevention in Brazil, and patients can visit a doctor and the emergency room as much as they want, resulting in unnecessary consultations, exams and hospitalisation. High amounts of corruption and fraud in the health sector also lead to increases in health expenditure overall. Brazilians who are either part of the formal employment system or can afford it will opt for the private health insurance. This has led to 75% of the population solely using the SUS, with the remaining 25% being covered by private health insurance.
High levels of corruption, fraud and money laundering as well as rising costs for new procedures and medicines has led to an increase in cost for employers who offer private health insurance to their staff.
This is where AxisMed comes in: It offers a multi-channel platform that allows patients to be in touch with doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers, nurses and physiotherapists via mobile app, SMS, video, web and voice. The focus is on determining risks through data intelligence and influencing individual behaviour change while ultimately reducing costs and improving spent of private health insurance.
During a highly interesting week in São Paulo, we learned that AxisMed provides multiple solutions to address risks which lead to improved cost efficiencies for private insurance companies and reduced health costs for private corporates offering insurance to their staff.
These solutions include:
- Access to information and health experts 24 hours a day through a portal or app
- Specialised support for chronic, elderly, pregnant and obese patients
- A 24-hour telephone support for health emergencies and incidents
- Pre-, during and post-hospitalisation support
- Cost reductions through rational use of resources
- Business intelligence and health information management
This has greatly contributed to better access to health information, improved quality of care and reduced costs through prevention and resource optimisation for AxisMed clients. For example, the specialised support for chronic, elderly, pregnant and obese patients has led to savings of USD 15 million over seven years through identifying the risk for patients with or prone to chronic diseases with an emphasis on medical advice and behaviour change, enabled by various prevention methods.
Another example is the reduction of excessive usage of health systems through providing the right information at the right time: whereas a group of so-called hyper-users showed an average increase of costs of 12% on a yearly basis before the introduction of AxisMed’s services, AxisMed managed to lower the cost of average monthly expenditure by 35% in less than ten months, resulting in USD 1.6 million savings.
Bell Mobility Inc
Bragg Communications Inc
Cellular Network Partnership
Cordova Wireless Communications LLC
E.N.M.R. Telephone Cooperative
Evolve Cellular Inc
Execulink Telecom Inc
Freedom Mobile Inc
Gigsky Mobile LLC
Ice Wireless Inc
Iowa Wireless Services LLC
ISmart Mobile LLC
Northeast Wireless Networks LLC
OTZ Telecommunications Inc
Panhandle Telecommunication Systems Inc
Pine Telephone Company
Sagebrush Cellular Inc.
Smith Bagley Inc
Telalaska Cellular Inc
Telecom North America Mobile Inc
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company
Union Telephone Company
Vermont Telephone Company
America Movil Peru S.A.C
Amx Paraguay S.A.
AT&T Comercialización Móvil
Bahamas Telecommunications Services
Belize Telemedia Ltd
Cable & Wireless Panama
Caribbean Cellular Telephone
Digicel (Barbados) Ltd
Digicel (BVI) Ltd
Digicel (Jamaica) Ltd
Digicel (Panama) SA
Digicel (Turks & Caicos) Ltd
Digicel Suriname NV
Digicel Trinidad And Tobago Ltd
Digicel, S.A. DE C.V.
Djibouti Telecom SA
Empresa De Telecommunicaciones De Cuba
Empresa De Telecomunicaciones De Bogota
Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Co.
I.C.E. (Instituto Costarricense De)
New Millenium Telecom Services (NMTS)
Nuevatel PCS De Bolivia SA
Oi Móvel S.A
Ozone Wireless (Barbados) Inc
Pegaso PCS. S.A. De C.V
Puerto Rico Telephone Company Inc
Setar (Servicio Di Telecomunicacion Di)
South East Asia Telecom (Cambodia) Co
Sure South Atlantic Ltd
Telecommunications (Bermuda & West)
Telecommunications Services Of Trinidad
Telefónica Celular S.A (Celtel)
Telefónica De Costa Rica TC S.A.
Telefónica Del Perú S.A.A.
Telefónica Móvil De Chile
Telefónica Móviles Del Uruguay S.A.
Telefónica Venezolana C.A
Viettel (Cambodia) PTE Ltd
Viettel Peru S.A.C.
Wireless Ventures (St Kitts-Nevis)
YTL Communications SDN BHD
A1 Slovenija D.D.
A1 Telekom Austria AG
Alands Telekommunikation AB
Andorra Telecom S.A.U.
Belarusian Telecommunications Network
BH Telecom, Joint Stock Company
British Telecommunications Plc
Bulgarian Telecommunications Company EAD
Carolina West Wireless
Cosmote – Mobile Telecommunications S.A.
Croatian Telekom Inc
Elisa Eesti AS
Far Eastone Telecommunications Co Ltd
Ice Communication Norge AS
Jersey Airtel Limited
JLLC Mobile Telesystems
Latvijas Mobilais Telefons
LLC T2 Mobile
Luxembourg Online S.A
Magyar Telekom Plc
Makedonski Telekom AD – Skopje
Meo-Serviços De Comunicações E
Meteor Mobile Telecommunications Ltd
Mobile Telesystems (PJSC)
MTS Armenia CJSC
Orange Espagne S.A
Orange Polska S.A
Orange Romania SA
Orange Slovensko A.S
P4 SP. Z O.O
Public Enterprice Croatian Telecom JSC
S.C. Telemobil S.A.
Salt (Liechtenstein) AG
Slovak Telekom A. S.
Sunrise Communications AG
Sure (Guernsey) Ltd
Sure (Isle of Man) Ltd
Sure (Jersey) Ltd
Swan Mobile A.S.
Swisscom (Switzerland) Ltd
Tele 2 Sverige AB
Tele Greenland A/S
Tele2 D.O.O Za Telekomunikacijske Uluge
Tele2 Nederland B.V.
Telecom Italia Spa
Telecom Liechtenstein AG
Telefónica Germany GMBH & Co OHG
Telefónica UK Ltd
Telekom Albania SHA
Telekom Romania Mobile Communications SA
Telekom Slovenije D.D.
Telenet Group BVBA
Telenor D.O.O. Podgorica
Telenor Magyarorszag ZRT
Telenor Norge AS
Telenor Sverige AB
Telia Eesti AS
Telia Finland OYJ
Telia Sverige AB
Teliasonera Norge AS
T-Mobile Austria GMBH
T-Mobile Netherlands B.V
T-Mobile Polska Spólka Akcyjna
Unitary Enterprise Velcom
Vodafone Albania SHA
Vodafone Czech Republic A.S.
Vodafone Hungary Ltd
Vodafone Ireland Ltd
Vodafone Malta Ltd
Wind Hellas Telecommunications S.A.
Wind Tre S.P.A (Itawi)
Africell (Gambia) Ltd
Africell Rdc Sprl
Airtel Networks Limited
Airtel Networks Zambia Plc
Al Madar Al Jadid
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation
Cable & Wireless (Seychelles)
Cellcom Guinee S.A.
Cellcom Telecommunications Inc
Cellplus Mobile Communications Ltd
Comium Gambia Ltd
Econet Telecom Lesotho (PTY) Ltd (ETL)
Etisalat Benin S.A.
Golis Telecommunications Company Ltd
Green Com S.A.
Hormuud Telecommunication Incorporation
Lintel (Sierra Leone) Limited
Mahanagar Telephone (Mauritius) Ltd
Mic Tanzania Ltd
Millicom Ghana Ltd
Mocambique Celular S.A.R.L (MCEL)
MTN – Mobile Telephone Networks (PTY)
MTN (Zambia) Ltd
MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd
MTN Rwandacell SARL
MTN Uganda Ltd
National Telecom S.A. (Natcom)
Net One Cellular (PVT) Ltd
Network of the World
Olleh Rwanda Networks Ltd
Orange Burkina Faso S.A
Orange Cameroun S.A.
Orange Guinee SA
Orange Mali SA
Societe Reunionnaise De Radiotelephone
Somtel International Ltd
South Sudanese Mobile Telephone (Zain)
Spacetel Guinee-Bissau SA
Sure South Atlantic (Ascension Island)
Telecel Zimbabwe (PVT) Ltd
Telecom Namibia Ltd
Telekom Networks Malawi Ltd
Telkom Kenya Ltd
Tigo Rwanda S.A
Unitel STP S.A.R.L.
Unitel T+ Telecomunicacões
Viettel Cameroun S.A.R.L
Vodacom Tanzania Ltd