Exciting news from the Mojaloop Foundation! We’re thrilled to welcome long-time Mojaloop advocate and community member Steve Haley to the team as our new Director of Market Development and Partnerships. Steve officially joined earlier this month and is already hard at work in his new role. We sat down with him to get some details on his experience, the digital payments landscape and what he’s looking forward to most about working with Mojaloop. Read on for more.
How did you become interested in Mojaloop and Financial Inclusion?
Before joining Mojaloop I had been working on financial inclusion and economic equity through technology in transitional economies for over a decade. When we talk about providing goods and services through to the last mile, we have to think about the roads to reach the recipient. The challenge we always run into is that unfortunately the “roads” to deliver financial products rarely reach the last mile. I worked in mobile money for years to help address this challenge, but the lack of interoperability between different parties and entities (government groups, banks, MFIs, individuals, etc.) significantly limits the kind of ubiquity required to deliver equitable financial service to the hardest to reach. This is the challenge I’m hoping to help address with the Mojaloop Foundation.
Tell us a bit about your new role with Mojaloop.
As Director of Market Development and Partnerships, my main responsibility will be to drive new adopters of Mojaloop and help further the success of those who have already committed to it. That involves a number of things, but first and foremost I’ll be focused on making sure that all the stakeholders in a country or in an ecosystem are aligned – that all of their interests are in sync and that everybody understands how Mojaloop works. I’ll be responsible for helping to find the support that they need to make their deployments successful.
What do you hope to accomplish in this new role? What are you looking forward to most?
I can’t wait to talk to the users and builders of real-time payments technologies and help them understand how Mojaloop can improve on what they are already doing. There are still a lot of folks out there who think Mojaloop is a threat to their business when actually it’s a benefit to them. I’m looking forward to clearing that up!
In your opinion, what have been some of the Foundation’s most significant accomplishments to date?
Bringing together an effective Design Authority and Technical Governing Board was a big achievement and crucial step before getting too many deployments underway. We needed the strong governance to manage change before trying to meet the demands of too many countries. This could have led to many forks and less coordination, which would have negatively impacted the mission and the individual deployments.
In your opinion, what is currently the biggest challenge in the digital payments landscape?
“Landscape” has connotations of a stable geography to explore. The biggest challenge is that this is not the case. We are living in a period of constant tectonic shifts. Many countries are either paralyzed by fear of the unknown or risk making hard choices for their citizens which will cause them to miss the next
innovation. These unknowns can be concrete questions like, “how do I managed 24/7 operations?” or future questions like, “how will the emergence of CBDCs affect me?” This can mean making a choice to go with a known vendor who may not be equipped for these future innovations or even today’s low value transactions with non-banks.
What are some of the most exciting projects/implementations you’re seeing in the Mojaloop community?
To me it’s all of them. I’m excited by the sheer variety of implementations we’re seeing – whether they’re with government-to-person (G2P) payments, Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs), Merchant Payments, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) or beyond. Together they demonstrate the immense value of Mojaloop. It’s exciting and heartening to see how open source communities can help even resource-constrained countries stay on the cutting edge and future proof their infrastructure.
What keeps you excited and motivated to help further the Foundation’s mission? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
It’s rare that you get to be a part of a community that formed and solidified around a massive shift just as the world prepared for it. We no longer need to convince people of the importance of real-time instant payments. It’s not the future. It’s the now. And the Mojaloop Foundation is uniquely positioned to help shape the narrative and direction of a global trend to better the lives of billions of people. That’s enough for me to get up.
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