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KonkNaija Media | May 2, 2016

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Water by Phone: Transforming Utilities in the Developing World

Water by Phone: Transforming Utilities in the Developing World

| On 25, Mar 2014

“48% of Kenyans now pay electric and water bills via mobile money.”

“More than 700 million people still lack access to clean water around the world. World Water Day is an opportunity to reflect on the seriousness of this challenge. Limited access to water and sanitation is a critical public health problem, which can result in serious economic costs due to increased rates of hospitalization and reduced productivity.

The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a multi-donor partnership administered by the World Bank, has been working with governments to expand access to water and sanitation for the poor since 1979. In 23 countries around the world, WSP supports initiatives that make clean water and improved sanitation more accessible, more affordable and more effective. In many of these countries the large public utilities that provide water services often struggle to meet the demand from rapidly expanding urban populations while using outdated information systems and billing processes. Mobile money can be a key tool in helping utilities reduce costs and manage billing more effectively, which in turn helps them extend services to those who need it most. For mobile operators, a large base of established utilities customers could help drive widespread adoption of mobile money. By replacing inefficient paper billing systems with mobile money-based solutions, utilities can reduce staff and printing costs while encouraging more timely payments from their customers, reducing financing costs and time spent following up on delinquent accounts. By simplifying the bill-paying process, utilities can more easily expand outreach and those living in more remote areas. It also becomes more viable to extend coverage to communities with less formal infrastructure in place.”

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Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit