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Bill & Melinda’s Big Bet!

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Gates started their foundation in 2000 with the idea that by backing innovative work in health and education, they could help dramatically reduce inequity.

Experiments in mobile banking have been launched since late 1999. I can proudly say that I was leading a team that launched mobile banking in that year in a developed market with growing broadband internet, large percentage of the population banked, and a growing penetration of internet based banking users.   Seven years later Safaricom launched M-Pesa into a market that had a low penetration of banked users, low internet penetration, fast growing mobile growth, and commerce represented by physical cash; as it turns out all elements of a potential successful implementation but managed carefully by a mobile operator that realized investment would be the key to success.

As Bill & Melinda have stated “The progress we’ve seen so far is very exciting — so exciting that we are doubling down on the bet we made 15 years ago, and picking ambitious goals for what’s possible 15 years from now.”

I too look forward to the progress of the mobile money industry and look forward to working closely with my customers to transform this industry to ensure their continued success.

The specific excerpt from the foundation can be found here with a link to the full newsletter.

The Gates Big Bet for the next 15 years:


The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.