Vodafone Fiji recently announced the launch of the M-PAiSA pilot program. The news places Fiji firmly amongst the group of early adopters of mobile phone banking services.

In the past, this blog has featured articles on what it means  now that technological innovation can come from all over the globe. It is a great feeling to be able to point to an example now in my own country.

With the launch of this service, we can see some of the unintended benefits of telecommunications liberalisation. Competition in mobile phone service has meant that providers would have to deliver new and innovative services and offerings to differentiate themselves to consumers.

By becoming just the 2nd or 3rd country out of the nearly 60 that Vodafone operates in, to offer such a service, the leadership has shown that they understand the importance of being on the cutting-edge when it comes to offering groundbreaking services.

The Vodafone media release says it best:

We are trendsetters in our region—the first in the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand, and one of only a handful in the world that offer a mobile money transfer service.

The rapid pace of technological change today means a much more level global playing field where emerging markets and small countries can leapfrog much more advanced neighbors. In Fiji, where are held hostage to one-sided flows of trade and information favoring our larger regional neighbors, this news is promising sign of our ability to chart a new course.

No word from Digicel on a launch of similar service in the near future.