Move over microfinance. Mobile money is touted as the new magic bullet

Nearly four in every 10 dollars from impact funds targeting emerging markets in 2015 went to microfinance, but access to small amounts of credit hasn’t been the panacea for poverty that was promised.

Fuller access to a variety of financial services enabled through mobile phones, is the future, says Kusi Hornberger, a vice president at Global Partnerships, a Seattle nonprofit investor.

Recent evidence suggests that mobile money provider M-Pesa has helped lift two percent of Kenyans out of poverty.

But the better-than-cash crusade has its own critics, “If the mission really is poverty alleviation, it’s not money’s physical form, but how it is distributed, that matters,” writes Phil Mader in NextBillion.

Photo credit: World Bank

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