Financial Inclusion and What’s Achievable Through Payment Interoperability

by Kosta Peric on May 6, 2020

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Q&A with Mojaloop Foundation Chairman Kosta Peric, deputy director of the Financial Services for the Poor program at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 

 

With the launch of the Mojaloop Foundation as a charitable organization, a balance of mission-driven, non-governmental and technology organizations have joined as the inaugural Sponsor members. The Sponsor members will ensure that the organization adheres to our fundamental mission of financial inclusion and to advocate for the ongoing development and enhancement of the Mojaloop software.  

The Mojaloop Foundation Board of Directors are appointees from the inaugural Sponsor members, which each have one, equal vote, and a fiduciary duty to support the mission of the organization. Following today’s launch, additional sponsorship opportunities are available to other organizations who wish to join the Mojaloop Foundation. We welcome additional members to round out the governance of the Mojaloop Foundation. 

In addition to the Mojaloop Foundation Board of Directors electing Paula Hunter to serve as Executive Director and Secretary, and Robert Ron, CFO of ModusBox to serve as Treasurer, Kosta Peric was elected to serve as the Chairman.  

We spoke with Kosta Peric, the Mojaloop Foundation Chairperson, to talk about the critical importance of financial inclusion and what’s achievable through interoperability:  

 

How do you see the formation of the Mojaloop Foundation supporting the goal of universal financial inclusion? 

Evidence shows that access to the formal financial system, and the use of low-cost financial products, can help the poor withstand shocks and capture opportunities to move out of poverty.  

At the Gates Foundation, we believe that interoperabledigital payment systems are required to enable the private sector to deliver those kinds of products to the poor, at scale, and to help achieve financial inclusion, alongside governments. 

Mojaloop is a solution for the interoperability of digital payment systems that never existed before. Achieving that was a great use of the Gates Foundation’s resources as philanthropy: to solve a problem that no one else could or would. The Mojaloop Foundation now provides a long-term home for this public good. Now, more innovators can provide leadership and expertise that contribute to the success of Mojaloop as a durable financial inclusion solution that can help governments, central banks and financial providers provide services to the 1.7 billion people still unbanked today. 

 

Many countries and governments include financial inclusion in their development goals. What role can the Mojaloop Foundation play in helping leaders close the financial inclusion gaps? 

The keywords here are acceleration and scaling. Governments and stakeholders in countries worldwide have recognized that the digital economies of the future will rely and grow on real-time person-to-person payment platforms. Examples from the UK (Faster Payments), Canada (Interac) and Jordan (Jomopay) are showing the way. In the last decade, the emergence of mobile money systems in Africa demonstrates the same trend. This region has shown how low-income people in remote areas can have their financial needs met adequately using simple mobile technologies.  

If we want to achieve full financial inclusion by 2030 (as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals), it is necessary to accelerate access to digital financial services. The Mojaloop Foundation can enable this acceleration through Mojaloop’s open source code, which can be rapidly implemented to support payment systems governed by local regulators and local rules protecting consumer privacy and safety. 

 

What excites you about most about being the Chairperson of the Mojaloop Foundation formation?  

I am delighted, honored and, frankly, humbled to serve as the Chairperson of the Mojaloop Foundation. The Sponsor members, developers, implementers, integrators and users that make up the organization and its Mojaloop community are diverse, experienced, skilled and motivated. Together, we can help achieve what the financial system of today has not yet been able to. 

 

Talk about the types of organizations that would benefit from learning more about Mojaloop or joining the Mojaloop Foundation? 

Bank of Tanzania and Mowali (the Orange and MTN joint venture) are examples of early adopters and we hope other such organizations – from the public, non-profit, and private sector— are encouraged to join this effort. We hope that the Mojaloop Foundation will benefit from a diversity of perspectives and expertise across its membership.   

As the emphasis of the digital payments moves to ‘real-time’ and ‘person-to-person’ payment platforms, I think new, innovative service companies in transportation, solar-pay-as-you-go, digital markets and others, can benefit from Mojaloop’s model. We welcome their participation in the new Foundation. I hope that Mojaloop will be an innovation vector for the creation of more innovative companies of this nature, that can benefit the lives of the poor.