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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

23 mins ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.

A tale of two jobs reports

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Whatever you think about the economy, you’ll find something in this morning’s conflicting jobs report to reinforce your views: America's job market is white-hot and the labor market is anemic.

Between the lines: The conflict comes from the two separate surveys the government uses to compile the report.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.