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A Bank MacGyver Would Be Proud Of

Nonprofit Nuru International's video shows how it built a microloan and banking structure in rural Kenya.

Solar power, netbooks, 3G wireless modems and dumb phones.

What does that equal (other than an IT infrastructure MacGyver would be proud of)? For rural Africa, that assortment of technology is a bank.

The above video, posted a couple days ago by Nuru International, demonstrates the nonprofit's community development microloan program in action in Kenya. It's fairly simple; in addition to basic hardware requirements, they use open source Opera Mini and Mifos. The cell phone - through M-Pesa - takes place of cash.

The simplicity of the system speaks for itself. In promoting a system in which the extremely poor and unbanked have access to a (somewhat) more traditional system of receiving loans, conducting business and storing money in accounts, Nuru shows that effective mobile banking doesn't always have to be about shiny smartphones and leading-edge technology.

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