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Do agent networks help to boost savings?

Savings benefit both the providers of Digital Financial Services (DFS) and their customers. Customers who use DFS accounts to save money can improve their financial resilience, build a buffer against income shocks, and be in a better position to invest and engage in long-term financial planning. Financial Service Providers (FSP) that have more savers in their portfolio can profit by generating more income and lowering their cost of funds. The claim that agents can drive savings mobilization has been a major incentive for introducing agent networks. Yet, the question of whether agent networks can boost savings has rarely been systematically assessed. This report showcases IFC research with Baobab Senegal (BSN) and Madagascar (BMG) and findings from a longitudinal study with nine microfinance institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report explores the impact of agent networks on customer behaviour relating to savings.

IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. The Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030: end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in every country.

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