Monty Munford Oct 17, 2010
Afghanistan supplies 92% of the world’s opiates. According to the latest available figures, the country produced 8,200 tons of heroin in 2008, more than double the the amount three years earlier.
But even being the heroin capital of the world, bringing in more money than most Afghans can dream of, the on-going war and rampant corruption means the money goes to the wrong people and the country has no infrastructure. There are no decent roads, no railways… But they do have mobile phones.
Four months ago, the Afghan National Police began to pay salaries through mobiles (using a text and Interactive Voice Response system), rather than in cash. The platform used was based on the M-Pesa service that has become highly successful in Kenya. Branded M-Paisa in Afghanistan, it was introduced by the operator Roshan in partnership with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and had an immediate effect.
Thanks to Vinod Khosla via his Twitter feed.