The GSMA will be working with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to provide civilians with financial relief during humanitarian crises. Examples include pandemics and natural disasters, although the program is not limited to those specific situations.
The joint program will leverage mobile money technology to transfer funds to individual civilians. The digital assistance can be distributed quickly and efficiently, with an extensive digital paper trail to maintain accountability.
The financial aid program will run for the next three years, and builds on the existing five-year relationship between the GSMA and the WFP. The two organizations will work with local governments and mobile operators to implement the program, which will launch in Nigeria before expanding to other countries around the world.
“As humanitarian crises become more frequent, complex and protracted, the need to devise services that are scalable, replicable and efficient has become crucial,” said GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer John Giusti. “Mobile money services can provide the foundation for rapidly scaling cash transfers to safely and effectively deploy desperately-needed resources.”
The GSMA plans to support the WFP with Mobile Money Certification and Mobile Money API initiatives, which will help the WFP to evaluate potential financial services partners to ensure that they meet international mobile money standards. Doing so will also protect the privacy and civil liberties of those receiving aid.
Recipients, meanwhile, will have the freedom to spend the money in a way that will best meet their needs. That should help boost local economies and promote overall financial inclusion. The GSMA’s Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation programme is funded by the UK Department for International Development.
The GSMA has previously reported that the mobile money industry processed more than $2 billion on a daily basis in 2019. In the meantime, the UN Refugee Agency is already using mobile money technology to send humanitarian aid to people in Egypt.