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Chicago, IL 60607

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© 2016 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Celebrating Cyber Monday Around the World

By Brad Skeba

I’m all about Cyber Monday. It’s when I go hunting for the holiday deals. To tell the truth, I’ve never been able to do the whole Black Friday thing. I blame Thanksgiving for this. Let me explain. 

In my family, Thanksgiving is about one thing: the food. I cannot emphasize this enough. I’m talking about going back for seconds, thirds and sometime around midnight, a snack – which, if I’m being honest, is a whole meal unto itself. Only after I’m truly stuffed is it time for bed. As a result, by the time the tryptophan wears off and I roll out of bed, Black Friday has effectively come and gone.

This is why I love Cyber Monday. All I need is my smartphone. It’s a beautiful thing. Money flying through the air on wireless networks might as well be magic to me. 

However, working at Opportunity International, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for mobile money and cell phone banking. The truth is, though I may feel quite cutting-edge ordering things I don’t need from my phone, our clients in Africa are light years ahead of me. Mobile money and cell phone banking has fast become their go to financial solution.

You see, mobile technology is central to Opportunity’s strategy for Africa. Despite widespread poverty, the continent has staggeringly high levels of mobile phone usage. For this reason, Opportunity is dedicated to integrating and scaling mobile banking as a primary delivery channel across our global network of financial institutions in the coming months and years. Our organization’s approach to mobile money is rooted in sustainability, as our clients are responsible for purchasing their own cell phones and covering our affordable, low-cost mobile transaction fees in exchange for the significant convenience provided by mobile-based services. It allows us to reach the most rural communities and individuals in need of our financial services.

Already, Opportunity has piloted and launched mobile banking initiatives in six African countries. We are currently reaching more than 100,000 total clients through collaboration with Africa’s leading mobile network providers. What’s more is this: within three years, Opportunity anticipates reaching at least 1.2 million mobile banking users across eight or more countries, providing them with the ability to transfer money to loved ones, receive and repay a loan and deposit hard-earned income with the touch of the button.

Though Thanksgiving has come and gone, on this Cyber Monday, this is something for which I am truly thankful.

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