Amartya Sen conceptualises freedoms as the means and ends to development. Capabilities are essential freedoms however personal characteristics, economic and social circumstances affect the conversion of capabilities into functions that determine use for development purposes. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) that have recognized such capabilities and social and economic issues can affect an individual’s freedom to use ICTs. With governments in the developing world seeking to extend financial services to the poor as a tool for economic development and mobile phone penetration reaching unprecedented diffusion rates of technology, mobile phones have the potential to enhance capabilities of the poor and improve financial services access.
In South Africa, the World Bank claims that despite a well developed financial sector, 40% of the South African population still have no access to formal banking service. However, 60% of the South African population own mobile phones. This has seen the introduction of a mobile banking initiatives aimed at banking the unbanked like Wizzit bank, a subsidiary of SA Bank of Athens that offers payments, transfer and savings facilities through the use of a mobile phone. This proposal recommends the exploration of financial technologies like Wizzit and such applications that are changing livelihoods of the poor in Alexandra, Hammanskraal and Ekurhuleni in Johannesburg, South Africa. Understanding why, when, and to what extent users use the technologies in storing their wealth and facilitating payments and transfers will direct understanding of how mobile banking can impact wealth management, socioeconomic development and consequently economic growth.
About the Researcher(s)
Synopsis of Research Results
Link to Mildred Makore's "Exploring Use of Mobile Banking Services by the Poor: Case of Wizzit Bank in South Africa"