TechWomen Mentor Uses Mobile Payments to Empower Rural Farmers

Cell Phone As Farm Tool VideoMenekse Gencer is revolutionizing the way the developing world interacts with money. The 2011 and 2012 TechWomen Mentor is empowering rural farmers by enabling them to process payments through cell phones.

Gencer is the Founder of mPay Connect, a San Francisco-based company which seeks to change the landscape of financial services by helping clients in emerging markets launch mobile money services.

In addition to facilitating payments, Gencer gives farmers access to services such as insurance and credit, which they might otherwise find only in cities. These services mitigate the effects of catastrophic events such as droughts or floods, creating vital safety nets for farmers whose livelihoods depend on the whims of nature.

Why the mobile phone? In a recent video posted by FastCompany, Gencer explains, “More people in the world have access to mobile phones than they have to running water, electricity, or even toilets…[Shareholder farmers] are the ones who live the furthest away from everything. Therefore, the only access they’re going to get to financial services is not going to be with the bank branch, but through the mobile phone.”

While small farmers have generally been skeptical of mobile money in the past, stories of success have inspired increasing confidence in microfinance and technology, spreading mobile payments services globally. Through technology, companies like mPay Connect are creating new opportunities for people in simple, innovative ways. 

Source: Cell Phone As Farm Tool

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