Sterling Speaks to ICT 150 Class

Prior to joining NetHope in January 2015, Sterling founded and directed the first Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) professional master's program in the United States, a program that places equal emphasis on technology, methodology, and development studies. Sterling also consults extensively for the United Nations, development agencies and high technology companies interested in utilizing technology for societal benefit. 

In her presentation to the ICT 150 class Sterling spoke about mobile money and digital financial services as it relates to ICTD. 

Banking the Unbanked: Only about one out of every five adults living on less than $2 (U.S.) per day has a formal account - that means nearly 80 percent of poor adults are excluded from the formal sector. 

Click here to watch M-PESA - Changing lives in a changing world. 

Mobile money is an innovative, technological approach to banking in developing countries. Advancements in technology and network capabilities have introduced safer, speedier, more reliable and transparent ways for exchanging funds like salary, social welfare payments, cash-for-work programs, and money transfers in those communities. 

According to the infographic above, fragile states like Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Laos are the most unbanked but also more at risk for forced migration or having to flee conflict. NetHope focuses its mobile banking efforts in these countries in order to keep people more financially sound, especially in populations that keep their cash on them or in their house. 

NetHope is a USAID (United States Agency for International Development) implementer, it is the bilateral in Washington D.C. that is funded by Congress to approach humanitarian and development issues around the world. For more information about NetHope, visit

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