Building A Mobile Money Network in Papua New Guinea

November 19, 2009

How can a coffee grower in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea get payment for his produce without having to cross great distances to go to the bank? Can women travel more safely if they don’t have to carry cash? Could parents save for school fees using their mobile phones? How can the government and large companies pay their workers in the provinces without moving cash?

These questions and many others are answered in a report, “Building a Mobile Money Distribution Network in Papua New Guinea,” launched this week in Papua New Guinea.

The report is a joint publication by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and the International Finance Corporation. PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is funded by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), European Union, AusAID and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre.

“This report clearly demonstrates that Papua New Guinea has the appropriate technology and infrastructure to support the development of a mobile money system that can serve the people of this country, the vast majority of whom are based in rural areas,” UNDP’s Freddy Austli who launched the report on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. David McLachlan-Karr, said.

“UNDP, through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme is helping households better manage their money. We see tremendous potential for mobile money systems to have a positive impact on peoples’ lives, making them more financially secure and giving them tools to build more sustainable livelihoods, he said.

The report outlines how a mobile money system might develop in PNG, what existing networks it might use for “cash in” and “cash out” services, and how mobile money might help individuals, companies and government alike to lower cost and increase security linked to the movement of money.

The report can be accessed from: