UDUMA MALI to benefit from a grant from the GSMA
170,000 euros to invest in mobile-based cashless payment facilities
The newly created Malian company UDUMA MALI is one of the 12 grantees of round three of the GSMA Mobile for Development (M4D) Utilities Innovation Fund, supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development. “This € 170.000 grant will be used to invest in mobile-based cashless payment facilities for a project that is going to provide 560.000 rural people with drinking water in the Sikasso region (Mali) for the 15 coming years”, explains Thierry BARBOTTE, Chairman of the ODIAL SOLUTIONS group and Director of UDUMA MALI. “In 2018, UDUMA MALI has entered into public service delegation contracts with the first 11 out of the 30 targeted municipalities.”
3 Malians out of 4 live in rural areas and provide themselves with drinking water by means of manual pumps. However, 1 pump out of 2 is regularly out of service. “This existing situation implies more time-consuming and exhausting water chores, has a high cost for the pump upkeep, affects the health conditions and contributes to the rural exodus”, states Nicolaas VAN DER WILK, Operations Manager of UDUMA MALI. Furthermore, boreholes made unusable by defective pumps represent nearly 66 billion CFA francs (100 million euros) in lost public investments.
Mobile technologies at the heart of the UDUMA model
The project, under the tutelage of the Malian Ministry for Energy and Water, is offering an alternative to this situation for the Sikasso region. The Malian local authorities are going to entrust the management and the operation of 1.400 water points equipped with manual pumps to the private operator UDUMA MALI. The operator guarantees a continuous water service (72-hour max downtime) for at least 15 years and renews a large part of the equipment.
UDUMA MALI will be charging a fixed user fee per consumed volume (500 CFA francs/m3, 0.76 euro). The water pumps will be equipped with digital water meters. The water service is provided by a caretaker (1 on each pump) and a mechanic (1 per 50 pumps), whose remunerations evolve with water consumptions. The new water service delivery model is expected to create small-scale income-generating activities for nearly 1.500 women in the Sikasso Region.
The GSMA M4D Utilities Innovation Fund grant will enable UDUMA MALI to deploy mobile-enabled devices for cashless revenue collection, combining Mobile Money and Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies. Nicolaas VAN DER WILK explains: “The M4D grant will be used to gain the required technological expertise, but also to spread awareness among the end-users on how to use these technologies. The grant-funding will absolutely help us jump-start operations in Mali”.
The M4D Utilities Innovation Fund and the GSMA
The Mobile for Development Utilities Innovation Fund was launched in June 2013 to test and scale the use of mobile to improve or increase access to energy, water and sanitation services. Across three phases of funding, grants were competitively awarded to 53 organisations across Asia and Africa. Seed grants were awarded for early stage trials, Market Validation grants for scaling or replication of business models.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.
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