Leon Perlman

Independent Consultant

Leon Perlman is a doctoral-level expert in digital financial services, payments systems, financial inclusion, mobile technology, and compliance, with over 16 years of experience in the sector. He has experience advising central banks, finance ministries, the ITU, the Gates Foundation, GSMA, the World Bank/IFC, and the World Economic Forum.

A former scientist and successful entrepreneur, Leon has worked in the telecommunications and micro-payments industry since the mid 1990’s and has a wide range of experience in both developed and developing markets. Leon holds the degrees of BSc, BSc (Hons), MSc, BProc (Law), LLB, and LLD.



CFI Research Fellowship Description

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Mobile Financial Services Technology Inequality

Challenges of Technology Access for Enhancing Financial Inclusion

Technology has been a pivotal and successful enabler of financial inclusion. However, even with each technical evolution, sets of technical, cost, competition, capacity and access challenges persist. CFI Research Fellow Leon Perlman looks at the advantages, disadvantages and challenges that fasten on the existing and evolving technologies, bearer services, access platforms and user devices for mobile financial services (MFS) in Technology Inequality: Opportunities and Challenges for Mobile Financial Services. His on-the-ground research conducted in 12 different countries finds that smartphone-enabled MFS is not an impending panacea for financial inclusion. Due to the slow spread of reliable, high-quality 3G coverage and sufficiently capable smartphones, the majority of MFS will be accessed on feature phones, using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), SIM Application Toolkit (STK) and java-applets, rather than internet-enabled smartphones, for the foreseeable future.



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