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Mobile Money Advocate

John Owens

I would like to welcome you to my latest Inclusive Digital Financial Services blog. I started this blog to help the development community, donor organizations, governments, regulators, mobile network operators, bankers, 3rd party mobile money operators, payment operators, Microfinance networks and now the FinTech community to share experiences and observations about the ways in which digital financial services can be used and expanded around the world. My name is John Owens and I am a lawyer, a development specialist, and a senior advisor on financial inclusion and access to finance, and an active digital financial services strategist. I started working on use cases for digital financial services while I managed and directed the USAID-supported Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) program in the Philippines. In late 2004, our team developed a service that would allow clients of rural banks to pay their loans back via mobile money in a product we called Text-A-Payment which rode on the GCASH Mobile E-money platform developed by Globe Telecom and its subsidiary G-Xchange Inc. After several months of experimenting how to use e-money to support greater financial inclusion, I quickly realized the potential and power of digital financial services and this small pilot expanded in ways that I never dreamed possible. See the video Distant Access to learn more about this exciting initiative. From the start of this adventure back in 2004, I have been fortunate to interact, meet and visit with those involved in developing and supporting inclusive digital financial services from around the world. After these experiences and my over 25 years working on financial inclusion in the developing world, I have learned quite a bit about what will help to make inclusive digital financial services services expand. From 2012 until the end of 2013, I had been tasked by Chemonics International to look at ways to better incorporate digittal payments into development projects around the world. Based on my learnings, my interaction with multiple public and private sector players and being an active digital and mobile payment user myself, I was encouraged by friends and colleagues to set up this blog. In mid-2013, I joined the Alliance of Financial Inclusion (AFI) as a consultant and by the beginning of 2014, I took up the full time position with AFI as their Senior Advisor on Digital Financial Services and Financial Inclusion Policies. I am now a senior digital financial services advisor and have worked with private sector FinTech players, development banks, International organizations, central banks and Microfinance networks to support, strategize and cross fertilize experiences from around the globe  The views on this blog are my own and don’t necessarily represent positions, strategies, or opinions of any of the companies or organizations that I work with. If you would like to learn more about me, go to my LinkedIn profile or on my About.me profile. You can also follow the Inclusive Digital Financial Services page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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