Digital finance

Kenya Financial Diaries inspire Bill & Melinda Gates

July 2nd, 2015

In the 2015 Gates Annual Letter, Bill & Melinda describe four bets that they believe will contribute to making the lives of people in poor countries improve faster in the next 15 years than any time in history. One of those bets is on the transformative power of mobile money.

Their global goal is that by 2030, 2 billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payments with their phones and accessing the full range of financial services from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit and insurance.

‘Mobile banking will help the poor radically transform their lives’.

To build the case for this bold bet, the letter draws from FSD’s work: ‘The Kenya Financial Diaries, a fascinating project documenting the financial lives of hundreds of Kenyans over the course of a year, tells countless stories of people who had to forgo medical care or take their children out of school for want of a few dollars.’

Along with our partners, Bankable Frontiers Associations (BFA) and Digital Divide Data (DDD) we are delighted that the insights from this ground-breaking study are inspiring global action – providing a major complement to our efforts of working with Kenyan financial services providers to incorporate these insights into product design and development.

In addition, two short videos highlight the role of mobile money, in the first video Bill Gates demonstrates how far ahead Kenya is on mobile banking and in the second video, Melinda Gates describes how mobile-enabled financial services can support agricultural development.

The Annual Letter is a great source of inspiration for FSD Kenya as we ramp up our efforts to support the development of digital financial solutions for the poor. We encourage you to read and interact with the on-line version of this letter at and look forward to partnering with others in Kenya to increase the odds on this bet.



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