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Room 68: Money 

Object details

Length: 105 mm
Width: 43 mm
Depth: 14 mm
Museum number: 2012.4068.2a

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Mobile phone handset

Made in China for use in Haiti, 2012

This mobile phone is from the Caribbean island of Haiti where wireless and mobile technologies are increasingly used to make and receive payments. On the back of the phone is an image of Port Salut beach, and on the front the slogan reads ‘Nou se Ayiti’ or ‘we are Haiti’.

In January 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti. Almost one third of the island’s banks were destroyed, severely reducing services to the 10 per cent of people with bank accounts. However, as most people had mobile phones a new system was launched so that people could send and receive money using their mobiles.

Use of mobile technology to make payments has grown very quickly on the island. For example, the main market in Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince, was also badly damaged in the earthquake. It was quickly rebuilt and reopened a year later. While market traders still measure out rice and beans with the enamel cups they have used for more than 50 years, they now use mobile phones to pay their stall fees.

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