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Gates Foundation deputy director Kosta Peric focuses on bringing financial services to the world's poor. Photo: Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering the software needed to power mobile wallets free of charge as part of an effort to bring more financial services to the developing world.

Why it matters: Mobile wallets have proved a huge hit in a few places, such as Kenya, but there are many places without access to phone-based banking, and the lack of interoperable software has kept a cross-border system from taking hold and left even successful efforts isolated.

The software, dubbed Mojaloop (playing off Moja, the Swahili word for "one"), was paid for by the Gates Foundation and developed through a number of technology partners. The goal is for it to be used by governments, central banks and private financial institutions, though the foundation isn't initially announcing any committed customers.

"Today there are still two billion people on the planet not connected in any way, shape, or form to the financial system," said Kosta Peric, the foundation deputy director in charge of its financial services efforts. And even where mobile money has taken hold, Peric says that it often requires the people sending the money and receiving it to be in the same country, using the same financial services firm

"It wouldn't be very useful if you had a mobile phone and you could only call people on the same provider as you," Peric told Axios.

Go deeper

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Report: Pentagon watchdog finds Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff

Rep. Ronny Jackson walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while working as White House physician, according to an official report obtained by CNN Tuesday night.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense inspector general's report stems from a years-long investigation. Jackson has called the allegations "false and fabricated."

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.