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From transferring cash by SMS to a digital payments ecosystem (2000–20)
Russell Southwood

This chapter describes how sub-Saharan Africans used airtime transfer to send cash to each other; the way in which this was noticed and used to create early, unsuccessful mobile money services; how the British aid agency DfID helped to finance M-Pesa; the unsuccessful, early roll-outs of mobile money in West Africa; how mobile money start-up Paga was launched in Nigeria; and the developing payment ecosystem. It concludes by looking at the future of mobile money and how industry ‘collision’ will play a part. Africa's mobile

in Africa 2.0
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Inside a continent’s communications revolution

Africa 2.0: Inside a continent’s communications revolution provides an important history of how two technologies – mobile calling and internet – were made available to millions of sub-Saharan Africans and the impact they have had on their lives. The book deals with the political challenges of liberalisation and privatisation that needed to be in place to get these technologies built. It analyses how the mobile phone fundamentally changed communications in sub-Saharan Africa and the ways Africans have made these technologies part of their lives. It examines critically the technologies’ impact on development practices and the key role development actors played in accelerating things like regulatory reform, fibre roll-out and mobile money. The book considers how corruption in the industry is a prism through which patronage relationships in government can be understood. The arrival of a start-up ecosystem has the potential to break these relationships and offer a new wave of investment opportunities. The author seeks to go beyond the hype to make a provisional assessment of the kinds of changes that have happened over three decades. It examines how and why these technologies became transformative and seem to have opened out a very different future for sub-Saharan Africa.

Swati Mehta Dhawan
and
Julie Zollmann

including refugees in mainstream financial services, refugee financial transactions are hived off into separate, closed and second-rate financial systems. Where access to mainstream finance could be helpful for sustaining a livelihood (as with Kenya’s ubiquitous mobile money system), financial encampment becomes one more hurdle for refugees to jump in their attempts to earn a living in spite of a restrictive policy environment. Kenya and Jordan are helpful locations to study the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Intermediating the Internet Economy in Digital Livelihoods Provision for Refugees
Andreas Hackl

innovating technologies that drive forward inclusion, such as mobile money services that allow the unbanked to get paid for online work or e-commerce. However, refugees face many layers of ICT marginalisation that are not remedied by digital livelihoods interventions. Abdifatah, a Somali refugee living in Kenya’s Dadaab camp, was one of the early beneficiaries of a programme connected to the Dadaab Collective Freelancing Agency, which is supported by the International Trade Centre

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order
Stephen Hopgood

own societies, especially as reformists of the centre left and right (Clinton, Blair) came to dominate the party-political scene after Thatcher and Reagan embedded the neoliberal revolution of the 1980s. After the Cold War, in other words, the liberal world order was a fact of life. In Margaret Thatcher’s immortal words, ‘there is no alternative’. The consequences of this focus on private enterprise, mobile money, weakened unions, reduced state welfare and regulation and lower taxes are all too visible today in areas like wealth inequality and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Digital’s impact on development (1982–2020)
Russell Southwood

’ operating costs can often be improved by using the same technologies as are used elsewhere, not least by connecting camps to fibre networks and delivering aid money directly to refugees by mobile money. It also opens up a second theme of the chapter, which is how development agencies use technologies, and their use, or lack of use by so-called ‘beneficiaries’. Dadaab: the largest refugee city in Africa gets wired up Abdikadir Omar's sister and his journalist parents were murdered in Somalia in 1991 as the country fell into a civil

in Africa 2.0
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Making sense of what has happened over thirty-five years
Russell Southwood

countries on the continent; and within countries themselves, most often between the cities and rural areas. The scale of diaspora funds was, and remains, huge. As estimated percentages of GDP in 2020, these vary from 0.9% in Cameroon to 5.5% in Mali and 9.8% in Liberia, to 14.9% in Gambia. From the latest data in 2019, the actual sums ranged from US$123 million into Guinea-Bissau to US$20.97 billion into Nigeria. 14 The introduction of mobile money services ( Chapter 4 ) supported

in Africa 2.0
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The symbolic value of in-between work
Hannah Schilling

he wanted to set himself up. Raphael agreed with the shop owner that he would pay 5,000 FCFA every month for the spot. Ultimately, he ended up paying only 2,000 FCFA, contending that he did not have more at his disposal, and compensating for the lack of monetary payment with services instead. For example, he would help the shop owner cover his electricity bills, which had to be paid electronically through the money transfer service of one of the telecommunications companies. Raphael was familiar with the use of ‘mobile money’ services, not least because he was

in Globalized urban precarity in Berlin and Abidjan
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Russell Southwood

diffusion, which accelerated with the introduction of cyber-cafes and Wi-Fi hot-spots. It closes by looking at how the supply of international and national fibre cables transformed the cost and quality of internet supply. Chapter 3 identifies how the resultant cheaper mobile internet and low-cost smartphones came together with online applications that sub-Saharan Africans wanted to use, creating wider internet use. Part II examines how new services such as mobile money and e-commerce were built on these infrastructural foundations; what use Africans

in Africa 2.0
Russell Southwood

cheaper pricing was easier to negotiate. But mobile internet was of secondary importance to the priorities of trying to attract new, low-income customers to use voice calling and mobile money: With data [for internet] people were expecting it would be cheap. We struggled with how to define consumption and value. With voice, it's minutes. Kilobytes and megabytes don't translate in the same way. [Customers] would say data sucks. We were unable to price like for like. We spent a ton of

in Africa 2.0