PKG IAP Fellowships: Adam Swartzbaugh Part IV

Check out Part I, Part II and Part III of Adam’s experience!

How Digital Interoperability Can Accelerate Financial Inclusion

Over the past few months, the Almond team at MIT has worked with our community partners in Asia to build a technology platform enabling interoperability between mobile wallets – making remittances, payments and loans across providers and borders possible.  This is how the idea started, why it matters, and where we’re headed today.

Efforts to identify scalable solutions advancing financial inclusion and economic growth have strengthened.  At the center of these efforts: digital finance. 

According to a report by McKinsey, digital finance alone could generate a $3.7 trillion boost in GDP for emerging economies by 2025.  The greatest potential contributor to this boost: interoperability.  

Highlighted in a recent CGAP report, digital finance interoperability has“the potential to introduce economies of scale and scope, create network effects and allow customers to more easily carry out desired transactions.” 

Leading the way in extending digital financial services are more than 150 mobile wallets serving 300M users in Southeast Asia alone.  However, a lack of interoperability between them has undercut tremendous potential for inclusion and growth. 

Almond has, therefore, committed to bringing these providers together within a single, cohesive ecosystem that positively influences the economics of all stakeholders. With Almond:

  • A retailer can identify and capture a market opportunity with an instant digital payment. 
  • A migrant worker can instantly and cost-efficiently send money across borders to friends and family. 
  • A merchant can use a single interface to interact with customers for bill payments, purchases, and e-commerce. 
  • With access to multiple domestic and foreign networks through Almond, transaction volume increases for incumbent service providers while opening competitive opportunities for newcomers.

This year, Almond is making collaboration the cornerstone of financial inclusion.

Adam Swartzbaugh is a 2021 PKG Fellow and current graduate student at MIT and Harvard.

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Tags: PKG Fellowships, PKG IAP Fellowships 2021, Tech, Tech for Good

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