When the 1.3 billion people of India woke up on the morning of November 9th, 2016, many of them had become poor overnight. After Prime Minister Modi’s sudden decision to ban a staggering 86% of all cash in circulation, the 500 & 1.000 rupee notes had become nothing more than “worthless pieces of paper” and people could no longer pay for basic services. However, after much initial pain, the cash-ban has started a transformation of Indian society. As it appears, India is heading straight for the future.
The Prime Minister wanted to deal with issues of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption by forcing “black money” into the system again. However, by doing so, Modi might have triggered something bigger. Now, a technical revolution of mobile banking is underway in India – and it does actually make sense.
In New Delhi, the famous street food stand “Moolchand Paratha” reported a few years ago that 20% of its daily transactions came from mobile payments. In fact, it has been estimated that around half of the Indian population are already signed up to mobile-banking. This is not surprising – millions of Indians simply do not have access to conventional banks. Why bother with ATMs, paper money and travelling back and forth to bank offices when all you really need to handle money is a phone? This is an example of how technology is changing not only people’s lives, but our understanding of the whole economic system. Ultimately, it is an example of what the future will (probably) look like.
Now, in this issue of FUF Magazine we will take you through India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Congo, Rwanda and much more to see how innovation and technology are changing the way we think about global development. And why wouldn’t it? There are currently more mobile gadgets than there are humans on the planet and the iPhone (introduced 12 years ago) is not even a teenager yet. Thus, the possibilities seem to be endless! But maybe, just maybe, we should wait a bit before we declare 86% of all global cash as useless overnight.
Have a good read!