Akin Gump Partners With GBF to Expand Mobile Banking in Africa

(Washington, D.C.)  Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP recently advised its pro bono client the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF) on a deal that will help extend crucial mobile banking opportunities to sub-Saharan Africa.

Through GBF, Akin Gump attorneys provided pro bono legal counsel to Mobile Transactions International (MT), a GBF portfolio company headquartered in Zambia that connects its customers to the mass market using mobile technology and an extensive agent network. MT targets corporations, development sector organizations, government agencies and microfinance institutions across Africa to enable its customers to transact with unbanked end-users more easily, quickly, safely and affordably. The development of such a network is critical in Africa, where only 20 percent of families have a bank account.

The deal represents part of an ongoing relationship between Akin Gump and GBF, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build and support high-impact businesses that provide sustainable economic opportunities to millions of people around the world at the base of the economic pyramid. Since 2008, GBF has invested nearly $8.5 million in over 30 businesses that generate a significant social impact and are financially sustainable.

“We’re excited to partner with an organization like GBF,” stated Akin Gump pro bono partner Steve Schulman. “They’re doing tremendous work with businesses around the globe that is having a true, meaningful impact on people’s lives. I am also proud that Akin Gump has a culture where a young associate like Omar Hashmi feels empowered to develop and bring opportunities like this to the firm.”

The Akin Gump team includes Washington, D.C., corporate partner Jena Watson, investment funds senior counsel Christhy Vidal and counsel Erin Peters and corporate associate Omar Hashmi.

Added GBF’s Alycia Kellman, “The businesses we work with often have great ideas, but lack access to important resources such as legal counsel that allow them to develop and thrive. Having a top-tier firm like Akin Gump providing advice and support to help these companies get off the ground is an invaluable resource.”

To learn more about GBF, please visit www.gbfund.org.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 800 lawyers and advisors in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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