To understand the scale and scope of MAP’s solutions, it is necessary to understand the many fundamental challenges common to developing nations. These are the defining issues that have crippled pre-transformation economies (PTEs) for decades.
Banking: for the few. An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide—among them, 80 percent of Africa’s adults—have no access whatsoever to legitimate banking services.
Financial and communications infrastructure: absent or inadequate. Rural populations are the vast majority of the underserved, who have little or no telecommunications access.
Alternative financial services: unregulated. Microfinance and other local alternatives are unregulated, insecure, and subject to abuse. To bring them under regulatory control is beyond the scope of PTE governments.
National ID system: nonexistent. Funds from donors and other sources are plentiful in many PTEs, but the distribution process is crippled by lack of a national ID system. While rural populations can function using localized quasi-ID systems, institutions cannot. Absent a national ID system, entire underserved populations—80% of Africa’s adults, for example—are unknowable and unable to join the legitimate economy.
Cash economy: dangerous. Where there are no banks, funds can be received and loans repaid only in cash. Those who carry, collect, and deliver it are vulnerable to theft and victimization by middlemen.
Cash economy, no ID: fraud. The cash system makes fraud all but inevitable. An official who creates employee rosters and work rolls can easily add ghost workers and inflate or invent work hours.
Cash economy: mattress, not multiplier. In PTEs where cash moves from hand to hand—or hand to hiding place—instead of being banked or invested, the multiplier effect required for economic growth is virtually nonexistent.