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MIF supports new mobile financial platform in Jamaica

Sep 3, 2014

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, has approved a $1.2 million (J$134.4 million) technical cooperation grant for a project that will pilot a new system for conducting financial transactions via mobile phones in Jamaica. At least 2,500 microentrepreneurs and individuals with limited access to financial services are expected to benefit from the project, which will be carried out in partnership with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ),  the Jamaican technology company Transcel, and the National Commercial Bank (NCB), Jamaica’s largest commercial bank.

The mobile financial platform, Mobile Money for Microfinance (M3),  will be developed by Transcel and integrated with NCB’s services, and will make it easier and less costly for low-income people in Jamaica in rural or semi-urban areas with few bank branches  to carry out financial transactions. An estimated 35% of Jamaica’s adult population is unbanked, but mobile phone usage and coverage are universal island-wide, making mobile financial transactions an attractive solution for those without bank accounts. Microentrepreneurs, who face high fees and opportunity costs in doing business with banks, are expected to benefit especially from the introduction of M3.

The M3 pilot program’s initial users will be at least 1,000 customers of microfinance institutions. New users will be reached through an agent network to be established by the project, using NCB’s retail network as a point of departure, and at points of sale where clients can conduct transactions in person. 

After this pilot, it is expected that M3 will be scaled through the establishment and expansion of the agent network and the involvement of additional partners with extensive reach, such as retailers. 


The project has a total cost of US$1.2 million, of which $532,415 will be provided  by the MIF, and US$680,2000 by the Development Bank of Jamaica.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefiting low-income populations and the poor—their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory—experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks to build and support successful micro, small, and medium business models. More information can be found at www.fomin.org

About the Development Bank of Jamaica

The Development Bank of Jamaica was established in April 2000, from the merger of the Agricultural Credit Bank of Jamaica Limited and the National Development Bank of Jamaica Limited. DBJ is a corporation wholly owned by the Government of Jamaica and its mission is to facilitate and promote economic growth by providing businesses and government with appropriate financing, privatization and technical support solutions. DBJ seeks to achieve this mission through partnerships with financial intermediaries and other stakeholders. For more information, please visit http://dbankjm.com/front

 
Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance and Planning of Jamaica and Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB during the project signature in Washington D,C. September 3rd, 2014
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