UN launches mobile phone food purchase scheme for Ivory Coast
A programme using mobile phones to carry out cash transfers that will enable the population of the Ivory Coast to purchase food has been launched by the United Nations (UN).A programme using mobile phones to carry out cash transfers that will enable the population of the Ivory Coast to purchase food has been launched by the United Nations (UN).
The body will disperse a total of $1.6 billion (€1.2 billion) through the project, which is aimed at over 10,000 vulnerable households in Abidjan's Abobo and Yopougon districts.
Mobile phone users will be alerted to available funds via a text message to their device and then have the ability to draw money from ATMs operated by African telecoms provider MTN.
The initiative is being run by the UN's World Food Programme and Country Director in the Ivory Coast for the body Alain Cordeil said it is "particularly suited to households with low purchasing power".
It will improve the lives of poor individuals who have suffered following the political turmoil that occurred when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave his post after losing an election in November 2010.
Steps are also being taken to improve the financial stability of small businesses in the nation and around 800 enterprises are to benefit from a support programme being introduced by the European Union, according to Xinhua news agency.