Friday, January 27, 2012

Welcoming Zoona, Kiva’s first mobile payments Field Partner

“A Cashless Africa.” 

This is a big statement. Yet, it is the simply stated dream of Zoona, Kiva’s first mobile payments Field Partner, located in Zambia.

Zoona is a mobile money/transactions organization that allows individuals to send and receive money over their phones. This model relies on a distributed network of agents, known within Zoona as Champion Agents. Fund transfers are made by converting cash into electronic value at one location, and converting the electronic value back into cash at another. Take a look at the way Zoona explains the process to its customers.

Kiva’s partnership with Zoona will give Champion Agents access to loans to fund fixed asset purchases, and set up expenses and working capital float to increase the size of the network of Champion Agents. 

In additional to being Kiva’s first mobile payments Field Partner, Zoona is also one of Kiva’s first non-traditional Field Partners, continuing our cycle of innovation. For Zambians, especially the poor, mobile money presents a new method of sending funds that is potentially cheaper, more accessible, and more secure than money transfer services, bank transfers, or requests of friends to carry cash on buses. Mobile money has the potential to significantly push the boundaries of financial inclusion, in particular, by allowing poor individuals to securely store savings on their phone, receive insurance payouts, and receive/repay on loans. In recognition of their efforts, Kiva has awarded Zoona the “Innovation” and “Entrepreneurial SupportSocial Performance badges.

We are excited to welcome Zoona in partnership with Kiva, and to welcome Zoona’s first Kiva funded Champion Agents to the website! For more information on Zoona check out their website (including their guiding principles), and for more information on their partnership with Kiva please visit the Field Partner page.