2011-07-15

  • Examining the Usage and Impact of Transformational M-Banking in Kenya « Internationalization, Design and Global Development – Olga Morawczynski analyzes mobile banking in the example of Kenya's M-Pesa. She finds that usage is impacted by several factos, including nationwide crisis (the 2007-08 post-election violence), seasonality (farm cycles increase demand for funds), and seasonal pricing in shops. She argues that mobile banking reduces vulnerability, generates additional income as transaction costs are saved, and extends networks. Vulnerability is reduced firstly as it becomes easier to solicit capital and have funds instantly available, both in the short term, e.g. for victims of election violence, and the long term, e.g for farmers funding acquisitions; secondly as mobile phones enable the maintenance of social networks: money sent home by urban migrants has a practical and symbolical function, creating a 'safety net' to rely on in times of crisis; but social networks are also weakened as mobile transactions replace visits in person. Morawczynski thus questions whether existing relations are amplified.

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