I went to the bank, a bus ride away.It cost me 1000 shillings each way.The bank had moved from the dusty busy street corner to a brighter spot one hundred hectic metres down the road to Sudan. A place where bike and motorbike, maxi trucks and minibuses, pedestrians and pedallers and dogs snatch an opportunistic route.
Three gunned guards outside the bank, chatting in the heat, offered me a bag check.The bank was empty. But shiny and air conditioned. Funny how banks are always the comfortable palaces to outshine the neighbourhood. I paid cash in with a paper form in duplicate and the receiving account will be credited tomorrow. Ah! So much better than five working days to clear a cheque in a certain banking zone that boasts the world’s biggest fashionable financial centre.But smarter is here,now, London ,and the chequebook should have been buried years ago.
This is the new school term and fees have to be paid.I am told the queues at this time of year used to warm up the air conditioning demanding ever open doors. Why the emptiness this year?
Rapid adoption of technology is changing the scene quickly.There is no need to pay 2000 shillings on the minibus fare to the bank.Probably no need for the bank.
Silly institution I was paying is slower to change and me,foreigner failing to trust.This new world is leapfrogging the duplicate forms and archaic chequebook as money speeds up its journey transferred by phone.Mobile money is reaching the heart of the communities, instantaneously and imaginatively. Reliability, accuracy,speed, safety.Shops are beginning to be money mobile as are schools and institutions.
Mobile magic money is here to enhance and empower.Will it be a tool for international payments? Could we tip our mango growers for instance, if his or her number is on the fruit? Will the phone companies be as problematic as the old banks? Will greed rob or will this accessible transfer system set millions free? The Gates Foundation have a vision of the latter. Pray it is so.