WHO taps into Africa’s flourishing mobile money space

The WHO digital finance team has built and deployed digital payment systems in 24 countries across the continent since its inception

Since 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has effectively automated payments for over two million African health professionals.

The experimental concept involves paying frontline health workers using mobile money rather than cash.

The WHO Digital Finance Team has built and deployed digital payment systems in 24 countries across the continent since its inception.

Benin, Botswana, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo, and Zimbabwe are among the most recent countries to use the system.

WHO is one of the worldwide organisations moving away from the inconvenient and risky habit of paying wages in cash.

The health organisation has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance, an 80-member United Nations alliance dedicated to improving payment digitisation and expanding financial inclusion.

“With these inspiring results, WHO is clearly taking a leadership role in accelerating the digital transformation in the provision of health outcomes globally,” said Tidhar Wald, managing director of the Better Than Cash Alliance.

According to the WHO’s Digital Finance Team, more than 80% of workers questioned in a number of nations prefer digital payments.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded studies found that timely compensation improved morale and staff retention

Maria May, senior programme officer for Inclusive Financial Systems at the Gates Foundation, stated that over the last four years, WHO has used the growing presence of mobile money in Africa to ensure that the courageous frontline healthcare workers are paid quickly, and securely.

“There is substantial evidence that digitising payments can support people, especially women, to gain access to financial services and increase control over their earnings,” she said

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