In remote communities or less developed countries, cash is still a dominant means of payment, creating the challenge of transporting cash quickly and securely to the right locations and in the right amounts. This is expensive and highly risky and compromises an organization’s objective to demonstrate efficient and transparent financial management.
Consequently, universities who have research projects in these less developed countries are seeking banking partners that can provide the relevant encashment and cash transport services in a secure and auditable way, and are pioneering new forms of electronic payment that are appropriate to the communities in which the university operates. For example, in Africa, around 60% of adults have a mobile telephone, while only 20% have bank accounts. The opportunities are therefore substantial to leverage mobile technology to increase the speed, efficiency and transparency with which payments are made.
Citi has started in East Africa, with solutions in Kenya and sub-Sahara Africa, and has developed a strategic partnership in collaboration with leading telecommunications providers and mobile network operators (MNO) in each country. The solution provides electronic payment and store-of-value capabilities across the country. Payees benefit as they have immediate access to cash with reduced risk of loss or theft, irrespective of which mobile provider they use. For universities, the advantages are reduction in costs associated with cash, check, and voucher payments, and administrative cost burdens. In addition, universities benefit from an increase in security by reducing fraud, streamlined operations, and a powerful tool that assists them in communicating with beneficiaries.