Sure, Google's mobile phone payment pilot project in Portland may not have taken off in a big way. But mobile transactions are increasing faster elsewhere in the world—including in some poor and far-flung corners.
A former executive with Afghanistan's largest telecom provider, Roshan, will be visiting Portland to talk about the mobile money transfer system the company launched there in 2007. Since then the system, called M-Paisa, has grown to approximately 1 million users, the company says—many Afghan National Police officers whose salaries are delivered through their phones—and caught the attention of both tech and international development circles.
Shainoor Khoja, who was until February a managing director at Roshan, will speak at Mercy Corps headquarters on Southwest First Ave., tonight at 7 p.m. (tickets $10, $5 students).
It should be an interesting talk. Or, if the idea of banking through your phone creeps you out a bit, it may be another incentive to go off the grid.