Thursday, July 16, 2009

Macro economic impacts of mobile banking

I found a recent article in Telecom Circle really interesting. It is a must read for any-one interested in the impact of mobile telecommunication on the macro-economics. The author quotes a number of studies showing that mobile telecommunication contributes (or could contribute) to the GDP with a growth of 0.6% for 10% growth in subscriber numbers. (I assume that this excludes the benefits of utilising the infrastructure to also deliver financial services, as many of the studies referred to excluded this benefit). In the article the benefits of delivering financial services are mentioned.

Studies have indicated that the replacement of cash with electronic payment systems will lead to direct macro-economic benefits. A white paper produced by Visa and Global Insights in 2003, found that a 10% increase in electronic payments can lead to as much as 1% growth in GDP and can directly lead to job creation. Numerous academic papers (Humphrey, Pulley and Vesala) have found potential gains as high as 3% (specifically savings) in GDP.

It seems to me (intuitively) that the simultaneous introduction of efficient electronic payment systems on top of mobile communication could lead to a spectacular growth in GDP (without almost doing anything). The indirect benefits, like the creation of jobs, increase in tax collection etc. etc. can be huge. In thinking about it, it almost seems logical that governments should force mobile operators to launch mobile banking services. (...rather than delaying it).

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