Friday, 17th September, 2010 – Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Digicel today announced details of the initial phase of its ground breaking mobile money service project in Haiti which will deliver a range of mobile financial capabilities to the people of Haiti.
With only 10% of the population having used a commercial bank pre-earthquake (according to USAID), the mobile money concept is guaranteed to take off in Haiti where mobile penetration stands at over 35% – up from a low 5% before Digicel’s launch in 2006.
The ability to send, receive and store money using their mobile phones has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of the Haitian people. By leapfrogging more conventional banking models to immediately be able to access safer, more affordable alternatives, this product will reduce the risks and costs of financial transactions, help increase savings and generate employment.
Commencing in October, the pilot is being conducted in partnership with a large NGO running a cash-for-work program and one of the major banks operating Haiti. This pilot will see hundreds of users taking part in a 6 week trial to test cash in, cash out, airtime top up and person-to-person transfer services. Digicel and its banking partner have also been working closely with the Haitian on the regulatory aspect of the project.
This latest rollout comes hot on the heels of the successful launch of the “Digicel Mobile Money” service in Fiji in July of this year.
Maarten Boute, Digicel Haiti CEO, comments; “Mobile money services offer a secure and convenient way of transferring and handling money. We have already seen their amazing impact in places like Kenya where according to a study by Edinburgh University, after just three years, 40% of the adult population now uses them and have seen their incomes rise between 5 and 30% as a result.
He continues; “As Haiti’s largest mobile provider and single largest private investor, Digicel is uniquely positioned to roll out mobile money services – not only because we have Haiti’s largest and most reliable network, but also thanks to the expertise we have gained during our mobile money services rollout in Fiji earlier this year. We are very excited about the huge impact these services can have on the lives of the Haitian people.”