SEATTLE-PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today that two of Haiti’s mobile network operators, Digicel and Voilà, will share a $3.2 million (U.S) award from the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI) for reaching the five million transaction milestone and meeting the award program's requirements. This is the final award in the $10 million incentive fund that was initiated in June 2010.
HMMI, a partnership between the Gates Foundation and USAID, was created to encourage the rapid deployment of mobile money services in Haiti following the devastating January 2010 earthquake.
Digicel's TchoTcho Mobile and Voilà's T-Cash, along with their bank partners, Scotia Bank and Unibank respectively, have grown rapidly since their launch in Haiti in 2010. Haitians are beginning to use these services to address a variety of problems they face daily in making payments, sending and receiving funds, and managing their money. The expanding network of agents for mobile money services will offer greater convenience to Haitians, bringing access to safe, convenient financial services closer to their front doors.
Ambassador Kenneth Merten, who presented the first award in June 2010, reiterated the U.S. Government’s commitment to supporting innovative solutions to promote financial inclusion and economic development in Haiti.
"In the region, Haiti is at the mobile money development forefront," said Ambassador Merten. "The Government of Haiti's dynamism in the use of Information Communications and Technology allows us to believe in the sustainability of mobile financial services. Mobile financial services can contribute to the development of various key sectors such as agriculture, microfinance or commerce. All components of Haitian society are ready for the economic takeoff."
"The Haiti Mobile Money Initiative has successfully contributed to spurring the launch of mobile money, and this progress is a significant accomplishment, given the challenges faced on the ground in Haiti," said Rodger Voorhies, director of Financial Services for the Poor at the Gates Foundation. "In the next phase of the project, we will focus on supporting the financial services industry to develop an active and growing customer base with the ultimate goal of helping the people in Haiti build financial security and better lives."
Specifically over the next two years, HMMI activities will focus on helping mobile money services achieve sustainability via an expanded uptake in services and an increase in the number of active users. It will partner with the main eco-system actors to address the remaining challenges in key areas, including customer education, agent and merchant network expansion and product development. Technical assistance, grants, and market research are among the tools that HMMI will use to pursue these objectives.
Previous HMMI awards included a $2.5 million First to Market Award (Digicel); a $1.5 million Second to Market Award (Voilà); $100,000 and $1 million Scaling Awards (shared by Digicel and Voilà).
### U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Through the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Government and the American people have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for 50 years. For more information about USAID's programs, please visit: www.usaid.gov.
HIFIVE’s Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI) HMMI is funded by $10 million in awards plus additional funds for related activities from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as $5 million in technical and management assistance from USAID. The Haiti Integrated Finance for Value Chains and Enterprises (HIFIVE), a USAID-funded project, manages and implements HMMI. HIFIVE offers technical and management assistance to a variety of institutions working to improve access to financial services in Haiti. For more information about HIFIVE, please visit http://kdid.org/projects/field-support/hifive/hmmi.
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