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Migrants' remittances and mobile transfer in emerging markets

Nicolas Mirabaud (Mirabaud et Cie, Geneva, Switzerland)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 10 April 2009



The purpose of this paper is to analyze the solutions provided by mobile money transfer (MMT) technology to facilitate migrants' remittances to their home country. The paper seeks to identify the main difficulties faced by migrants when sending money home and how mobile money addresses them. It also seeks to understand how some telecom companies have managed to be successful in their implementation of MMT services in emerging markets.


The paper presents two successful cases of mobile money service in the Philippines and in Kenya and analyses the MMT Initiative, a lobbying group in which telecom companies gather to secure their position on the market. It is based on data collected from internet sources, articles, reports and case studies.


Owing to their size, remittances have a massive impact on developing countries economies, communities and individuals. The market's large potential attracts vast number of telecom companies rushing to get the first move advantage. The study of the two examples explains their success through their ability to adapt to local needs taking in consideration cultural, economical and distribution systems specificities. If social benefits are provided through integration of part of local population in the economical life, profit‐oriented business strategies pursued might be dangerous on a longer term.

Practical implications

This study identifies successful business models. While similarities in lack of infrastructure of developing countries favors generalization, international expansion will only be made possible by real transnational strategy adapted to local needs.


This paper demonstrates how implementation of new technologies can provide social benefits in emerging markets. It encourages entrepreneurs to strongly take into consideration local responsiveness in order to be able to achieve sustainable growth.



Mirabaud, N. (2009), "Migrants' remittances and mobile transfer in emerging markets", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 108-118.



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