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IFC Helps Bring Mobile Financial Services to Rural Georgia and Small Farmers

By Messenger Staff
Friday, July 15
Tbilisi, Georgia, July 14, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping mobile financial services provider OpenRevolution expand its MobiPay services in rural Georgia, which will increase access to finance, especially for small farmers, and support the development of rural communities.

IFC will help the company accelerate the launch of MobiPay brand mobile financial services in the regions of Kakheti, Guria, and Samegrelo, focusing especially on small landowners who lack access to finance or incur high transaction costs for payment services. IFC will provide OpenRevolution with a $400,000 performance-based grant to support this expansion. IFC recently introduced performance-based grants as a form of support that rewards clients for achieving development targets.

“In less than six months MobiPay has secured over 100,000 customers, 1,500 merchants and 150 Cash Agent locations in the Tbilisi area of Georgia,” said Allen Gilstrap, OpenRevolution CEO. “MobiPay provides a wide range of flexible and convenient payment options, including bill payment, merchant payments, person-to-person money transfers, and airtime top-up anywhere in Georgia and anytime you want. We are excited to work with IFC to accelerate our expansion.”

Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Head for the Caucasus, said, “We are glad to enter a new, promising area of innovative payment systems. Our cooperation with MobiPay will enable Georgians, especially small farmers in Kakheti, Guria, and Samegrelo, to benefit from financial services received via their mobile phones, and will help develop Georgia’s agricultural potential, which is a priority for IFC.”

OpenRevolution plans to expand its MobiPay payment network to other countries in Europe and Asia, providing convenient and affordable access to financial services for individuals and small and medium sized enterprises, especially in rural areas.

IFC’s cumulative investments in Georgia since 1995 total nearly $500 million in 36 projects across a variety of sectors. Through its Advisory Services, IFC is working towards reform of Georgia’s tax system to benefit small businesses, helping raise food safety standards, and strengthening the risk-management practices of banks. Georgia has been a member of IFC since 1995.