Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The rise of the mobile phone as a bank account substitute in Africa was reinforced on Monday as Vodafone announced the launch of a cross-border mobile money transfer service between the UK and Kenya.
The service will allow remittances to be sent from selected Western Union branches in the UK to Safaricom subscribers in Kenya, who can then redeem the money or send it on to another mobile user. The maximum amount that can be transferred internationally is £200 ($296).
The service follows the success of M-PESA, amobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Vodafone and Safaricom which has signed up over 4m customers since its launch in March 2007, and has been extended to Tanzania and Afghanistan.
M-PESA allows poor people without bank accounts to deposit, transfer and withdraw cash with their mobile phones. The service is often used by men who live and work in cities and send money to their wives and children in their home villages.
Results of the latest malaria vaccine trials will be published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, and from the looks of it, the news is good -- fantastic, in fact. "We are closer than ever before to having a malaria vaccine for use by children in Africa," says
Christian Lucq, director of thePATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.