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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is the largest financial investor in its region of operations which stretches from central Europe to central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. With the ability and willingness to bear risk on behalf of its clients, EBRD helps countries in the region to become open, market economies. It is owned by 64 countries, the European Union and the European Investment Bank. EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and investments in existing companies with the mission to invest in projects that foster transition to open market economies.

Objectives of the project

Mobile Money (including Banking, Money Transfer and Payments) is developing at a remarkable speed in many developing markets around the world delivering basic financial services to the otherwise financially excluded and improving financial access to the financially included. EBRD’s Financial Sector strategy includes developing and supporting financial infrastructure projects that can improve financial access. To better understand the opportunities and challenges for mobile money across its 29 countries of operation, EBRD commissioned a study from BearingPoint. The client wanted to consider investing (equity/loan) in development of mobile money in its region of operation which could spur economic activity and enable macro-economic growth.

What BearingPoint did

  • For the first phase, we defined the mobile money fertility framework and evaluated key criteria to determine investment worthiness of 29 countries with reference to the full range of mobile money services (m-banking, m-money transfer and m-payments).
  • We created the mobile-money investment worthiness scorecard for 29 countries where client operated in. This framework was used to help client short-list the 7 countries with highest potential for mobile money impact and growth.
  • We conducted in-depth study of the mobile money ecosystem for seven countries most worthy of investment. This involved:
    • Conducting 90 interviews with key decision makers, regulators, banks, telecom operators, third-party players in the 7 countries.
    • Synthesising output for recommendations.
  • On 14 March 2013, EBRD organised an invitation-only conference with experts from banks and mobile companies from across the globe to address topics including: potential business models, regulatory requirements and how to drive consumer adoption. BearingPoint’s project team was represented by Christian Bruck (Partner, Head of Payments), Andreas Rindler (Senior Manager, Head of Mobile Money Services) and Mihir Parikh (Mobile Money Advisor). Andreas Rindler presented the results of the Mobile Money study and facilitated a panel discussion with experts from the Turkish payments market. The opening remarks were presented by Philip Bennett (First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, EBRD). Other keynote speakers included Professor Ndung’u (Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya), Kamal Quadir (CEO, BKash), Loeung Sopheap (Senior VP, Acleda Bank) and Sandra Bignon (Group Marketing and Innovations, Orange).

Key success factors

  • Strong collaboration and co-ordination among project team members to liaise with 10+ regional client offices and co-ordinating 90+ in-person interviews across 7 countries
  • Solid project methodology and mobile money framework that laid the foundation for a successful project
  • Rigorous multi-lingual market analysis including primary and secondary research which created a solid fact-base

Measurable & concrete results

  • Identified key opportunities and challenges for the development of Mobile Money in 29 countries.
  • Recommended steps of action and target operating models for 7 countries worthy of client investment.
  • Advised on specific investment opportunities (equity/loan) for each country by performing high-level commercial due diligence.
  • Provided the basis for client to create a platform (in the form of a conference) to raise awareness and discuss the challenges and opportunities of Mobile Money with key players in its region of operation.

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