OPIC Loan Brings Mobile Banking to Underserved in Uganda
A loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will enable the deployment of transformational financial infrastructure in Uganda that will provide Ugandan citizens, currently left out of the formal economy, with access to an array of financial services, including banking services.
OPIC has begun disbursement of its direct loan to MAPSwitch Uganda, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAP International, a U.S. small business that utilizes integrated electronic identification and mobile financial technology in order to transform financial services infrastructure in developing countries. With its biometric data and the use of mobile devices, MAP can provide access to financial services to the unbanked citizens in rural, remote or under developed areas, bringing these citizens into the formal economy.
The model begins with obtaining unique biometric data from applicants. MAP then issues a financial identification card based on that data that connects the card-holder to a host of products and services via access points throughout the country, including ATMs, Point of Sale units, and mobile banking
The OPIC financing will enable MAP to fully deploy its technology in Uganda, where, in partnership with the government of Uganda, it will tackle the challenge of reaching up to two million citizens where today only five percent of the population has bank accounts.
“OPIC is pleased to support innovative projects that promote sustainable development,” said OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. “By improving financial infrastructure at an individual level, particularly for underserved rural banking customers, this project will accelerate the integration of thousands of ordinary Ugandans into state-of-the-art banking services.”
Michael Landau, Chairman of MAP International, stated, “The lack of accessible and effective banking and identity infrastructure hampers economic development at its most basic level in developing countries. Map is pleased to be partnered with OPIC at the forefront of transformational work that advances the private sector and high technology to meet today’s global development challenge.”
OPIC was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.
OPIC’s political risk insurance and financing help U.S. businesses of all sizes invest in more than 150 emerging markets and developing nations worldwide. Over the agency's 38-year history, OPIC has supported $188 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries to generate over 830,000 host-country jobs. OPIC projects have also generated $72 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 273,000 American jobs.