Bill Gates donates $12.5M to help poor spend their money

Bill Gates is backing a plan to help the world's poor to get bank accounts on mobile phones.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on
Under a new plan backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the former Microsoft CEO's charitable organization, the mobile industry will be given a kickstart to give those in the developing regions their first bank account--on their mobiles.

The Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) scheme, also supported by mobile trade association the GSMA, aims to encourage operators and financial services companies to get mobile banking services out to the people who don't use bank accounts, as well as demonstrating the business case for doing so.

The project will see a $5 million fund set up to inspire the creation of mobile financial services for emerging markets and aims to back 20 banking projects mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given a $12.5 million grant to the MMU scheme.

According to a recent report by analysts Juniper Research, 150 million people will be using mobile banking by 2011. The MMU project hopes to get 20 million people previously without bank accounts using mobile financial services by 2012.

This article was originally published on silicon.com.

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