January will mark the one year anniversary of the terrible earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. While much of the global aid community was focused on disaster response and establishing humanitarian camps for the displaced, there was also a desire to start putting in place financial systems that could be used to help both the immediate aid efforts as well as to establish sustainable long-term financial services for all Haitians.
As part of this longer-term response to the disaster, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in coordination with USAID, made $10 million available for the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI) to encourage mobile operators and banks to launch mobile money services. Yesterday the first prize, for $2.5 million, was awarded to mobile operator Digicel and their partner bank ScotiaBank.
This blog by Chris Bold documents an interview with Greta Greathouse, Chief of Party for the USAID funded Haiti Integrated Finance for Value Chains and Enterprises project (HIFIVE), which is responsible for running the HMMI.