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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

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.