Ericsson says it is developing the Ericsson Emergency Wallet solution that will be used in emergency situations where financial infrastructure is lacking.
Ericsson says the Ericsson Emergency Wallet is a mobile financial services solution, for deployment in the immediate aftermath of disaster or crises to support humanitarian organizations and affected populations.
It will enable the distribution and use of digital funds by relief workers and impacted populations, which can help address issues such as safety, expense and traceability that are associated with handling cash, according to Ericsson.
Ericsson says many of its humanitarian partners have requested digital financial services solutions for emergency situations, following an urgent need for an Emergency Wallet solution, as mobile financial services, including mobile money and mobile wallets, are among the quickest, safest, and most efficient ways of extending the benefits of basic financial transactions to people who need them.
David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee (IRC) says, “Digital payment mechanisms are essential to delivering effective cash transfers to address the large scale humanitarian needs caused by today’s crises. However, only 30% of countries facing severe humanitarian emergencies have digital payments infrastructure to support scaled-up response. The IRC welcomes efforts such as the Ericsson Emergency Wallet solution to close this gap.”
Ericsson presented its intentions at the World Humanitarian Summit, in support of the United Nations’ Connecting Business Initiative. The solution demonstrates the potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to transform humanitarian response.
It builds on Ericsson’s Technology for Good initiatives and the company’s experience in developing scalable mobile financial service solutions, the company says.
The solution design and prototyping is co-funded via the Level One Project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Ericsson.
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson has a long-standing commitment to humanitarian response – for example, our employee volunteer program, Ericsson Response, has supported 40 missions in over 30 countries during the past 15 years.
“In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are helping to build a new ecosystem that creates better opportunities for global financial inclusion. This unique combination of partners will be a powerful catalyst for bringing mobile financial services to humanitarian relief efforts everywhere.”
The emergency wallet is an important part of a broader public-private commitment to the Level One Project, an effort to bring everyone into the formal economy by providing digital financial services to all.
Kosta Peric, Deputy Director of the Financial Services for the Poor initiative for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says: “We recognize that Ericsson is committed to delivering a digital financial services platform to improve humanitarian response. The partnership around the Level One Project works for beneficiaries and humanitarian organizations in times of greatest need.”
Ericsson is also committed to working actively with Connecting Business Initiative networks globally to provide technology solutions and employee expertise in support of disaster and humanitarian response, says the company.