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GSMA and UN WFP accelerate use of mobile financial services for humanitarian assistance

As well as being fast and efficient, digital assistance offers better security, tracking, transparency and, therefore, accountability.

Ola Olaoluwa
Ola Olaoluwa

The GSMA and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are expanding their partnership to help the world’s most vulnerable people. Through the GSMA Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation programme, which has been funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) since 2017, this three-year collaboration will primarily focus on the use of mobile money to deliver digital assistance through cash-based transfers to save lives in global emergencies, including pandemics and natural disasters.

As well as being fast and efficient, digital assistance offers better security, tracking, transparency and, therefore, accountability. It also boosts financial inclusion by offering vulnerable people access to a range of digital financial services and more flexible choices about how to spend their assistance, which can, in turn, boost local businesses.

Image Credit: Stock Image

In 2020, the partnership aims to use mobile technology to deliver impactful assistance by working with regulatory authorities and local mobile network operators in key countries.  With continued support from UK DFID, the partners will focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the digital cash transfer process, starting in Nigeria and expanding to other countries.

The GSMA will support WFP to access mobile money industry initiatives. First, the GSMA Mobile Money Certification initiative, which ensures a provider’s ability to deliver safe, secure and reliable services while protecting the rights of consumers. The Certification will enable WFP to fast-track due diligence on mobile money providers for the disbursement of cash-based assistance digitally to those affected by crises. Second, the Mobile Money API, a GSMA-led industry initiative, which provides a harmonised specification to access mobile money services across multiple providers and markets, making it simple and secure to integrate for assistance seamlessly.

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Ola Olaoluwa

Writer | Economist | Actor | Fashion Entrepreneur