- Published: Wednesday, 18 May 2016 17:35
Digital payments to emergency workers saved time and more than $10m in costs during the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, a United Nations-backed initiative has found.
A study by the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA), a partnership of governments, companies and international organisations, found that most of the cost savings came from eliminating illegitimate workers who were not really involved in the response.
Using mobile phones as “digital wallets” instead of cash ensured the right people were paid the right amount, and on time.
Ruth Goodwin-Groen, managing director at the BTCA, said that Sierra Leone’s experience showed the importance of establishing national policy frameworks and infrastructure that enable flexible digital payments, especially before a humanitarian crisis strikes.