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Community and Activities for 2021

We ended three years of funding in 2020 on a high, achieving all of our community targets and in the majority of cases achieving way more than was expected! We now have a community size of around 15,000 professionals and 17 digital finance professional country-based associations  forming. Our blogs, cultivated knowledge bank and webinars  have…

2020 Community Activities: forming a Digital Finance Profession – Activités de la Communauté DFI en 2020: création d’une Profession de Spécialistes de la Finance Digitale

As part of its capacity building program, DFI established Communities of Practice (COPs) across cities in Africa and Asia beginning in 2015. These COPs have had amazing impact, with practitioners coming together to influence strategy, services and policy in their countries, and you can read some of their stories in our previous blog post. Commitment to…

Le Défi de la Protection des Consommateurs des Crédits Numériques en Afrique

Le succès du crédit numérique Avec la pénétration rapide du Mobile Money et des smartphones, les offres de crédits numériques se multiplient sur le continent. Après leur succès en Afrique de l’Est et australe les prestataires de crédits numériques ont désormais dans leur viseur l’Afrique de l’Ouest. En effet certains pays de la sous-région sont déjà les…

2020 DFI Community Activities – Les activités de la Communauté DFI en 2020

As 2020 draws to a close we can reflect on the community activities we have held at DFI over the year and also the progress our in-country associations and alumni are making. This part one features some of DFI’s achievements and our favourite webinars, blog posts and students of the month. Part two features the…

Session d’information sur le Cycle d’Expertise en Finance Digitale – Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP)

Ce webinaire a pour objectifs de permettre à la communauté francophone de Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) de mieux connaitre son offre de formations, ses communautés et de faire découvrir son cycle d’expertise en finance digitale – le Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP), un parcours de trois années conçu pour soutenir l’ambition de DFI de créer…

Digital Identity Week 2020 Summary

We held our first Digital Identity Week in November 2020. Led by David Porteous, Nolwazi Hlophe, and Sarah Corley, we discussed industry updates and the implementation of digital identity systems, also with the help industry experts: Professor Rajagopalan from MOSIP, Robert Karanja from Omidyar Network and Yiannis Theodorou, from GSMA’s Digital Identity programme. We also…

Les sources alternatives de financement qui révolutionnent le secteur financier en Afrique : crédit digital, Pay As You Go et crowdfunding

Sur la plateforme de crowdfunding (financement participatif) KIVA, un éleveur originaire du Burkina Faso fait appel au public pour un financement de  $ 2.700 soit environ F Cfa 1.500.000. Voici le descriptif de la demande de financement présentée sur le site web de KIVA. « S. S est un père de 06 enfants dont 3 vont…

Association Digital Frontiers Senegal – L’Association Digital Frontiers Sénégal

  The Association Digital Frontiers Senegal (ADF-SN) developed from DFI’s Senegal Community of Practice (COP) and is the first Francophone digital finance association to be established. The vision of ADF-SN is to be the benchmark association in the field of digital transformation in the next 3 years. An association working with all stakeholders and participating…

Ces technologies qui transforment le paysage des services financiers : IA, big data, biométrie…

Le dynamisme du marché de la téléphonie mobile et l’essor d’Internet en Afrique ont ouvert la voie au développement des services de mobile money et à l’émergence des banques digitales et néo-banques dont nous parlons dans notre blog du mois de Septembre . Si ces évolutions attirent l’attention et suscitent l’intérêt de beaucoup d’acteurs en…

Communities of Practice and Digital Finance Associations – Les Communautés de Praticiens (COP) et Associations Professionnelles de la Finance Digitale

As part of its capacity building program, DFI established Communities of Practice (COPs) across cities in Africa and Asia beginning in 2015. These COPs provided space for people to network and share knowledge, experiences and best practice. It brought together a diverse set of individuals from across different parts of the digital finance ecosystem, from commercial…

In the Spotlight…. Ethel Mupambwa and Gerald M. Nyakwawa

This month we are featuring a recent CDFP graduate and an award-winning entrepreneur, both of whom are founders of Digital Finance Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe (DPAZ)  – Gerald M. Nyakwawa and Ethel Mupambwa. They are both motivated to impacting lives and bringing greater financial inclusion to Zimbabwe, particularly for women and youth.   Ethel is…

Banques digitales et néo-banques : de quoi parlons-nous?

Il ne faut pas opposer les mots ‘banque digitale’ et ‘néo-banque’ car dans le fond, la frontière est assez mince par endroits. Les néo-banques, en effet, se définissent très souvent comme des banques 100% digitales. Il suffit de visiter les sites web de Revolut (Royaume-Uni), N26 (Allemagne) (1), Orange Bank Africa (Côte d’Ivoire) (2) ou…

DFI se rapproche davantage de sa communauté francophone

Bonne nouvelle pour les francophones passionnés de finance digitale ! DFI lance une série d’activités qui lui permettront d’interagir plus régulièrement avec sa communauté francophone. Partage de connaissances, discussions, retours d’expériences sont au programme à travers des activités telles que : des webinaires mensuels en français sur des thèmes d’actualité ; des publications d’articles sur des thèmes…

In the Spotlight….. Ophelia Ama Oni

In the spotlight this month is CDFP gradutate, COP Facilitator and President of the Digital Finance Practitioners Ghana – Ophelia Ama Oni. In our interview we share with you Ophelia’s CDFP journey, how it impacted her career and also about her role in leading the formation of an association for digital finance professionals in Ghana.…

Du chou-fleur aux licornes : Cinq leçons des cinq années d’existence d’une startup

Le mois de juillet marque le cinquième anniversaire de Digital Frontiers Institute. Notre mission reste la même : développer le capital humain dans les pays à revenu faible et intermédiaire dans des secteurs en ligne avec les objectifs de développement durable. Mais bien que nous nous nous soyons lancés dans la finance inclusive pour tous,…

Campus goes Mobile – Le Campus devient Mobile     

Did you know that you can now access your DFI courses on your smartphone? You need to download the Moodle Mobile app which is available from the iOS App Store or Android Google Play Store.  Once you have downloaded the Moodle Mobile app simply following these steps to connect to DFI’s campus:    Select I’m a learner  In the site address field type in: https://campus.digitalfrontiersinstitute.org/learn and…

Introducing Alfred Ikemon Biaou, CDFP Student

Introducing you all to Alfred Ikemon Biaou, who is a professional in the banking industry and specialises in electronic banking products and services. He has over 10 years’ experience in the field at UBA Bank and currently at Coris Bank International where he leads the e-banking & remittances unit. He’s always been passionate about solving…

Digital Frontiers Institute turns five, launches a new company direction and announces the incorporation of the Gateway Academy

‘It’s our fifth birthday – my how we’ve grown”  This July marks five years since Arjuna Costa at Omidyar saw something in David, Ignacio and I wanting to solve for the human capital gaps preventing global development initiatives from reaching their true potential. Omidyar seeded our start-up and led the charge to bring in funding from MasterCard…

Gateway Academy Merges with Digital Frontiers to form Gateway

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2020 – Gateway Academy, the digital learning platform for financial inclusion incubated by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), is merging with Digital Frontiers, a globally recognized non-profit that focuses on capacity building for the development community. The merger will help strengthen financial inclusion training, widen the markets served,…

Pop-up Discussion: What is Privacy Worth?

We launched a new way for our community to discuss, share their thoughts and create industry best practice, called ‘The Pop-up Discussion’. These sessions will focus one topic and discuss various aspects over a maximum of a week. There is no set time commitment and it is not a course, but somewhere to discuss and…

Our CDFP Journey with Gavin Krugel and Sarah Corley

In this video, Gavin Krugel and I share our journeys to become Certified Digital Finance Practitioners (CDFP). The CDFP program is a newly established certification built to support the emergence of a profession in digital financial services. The 3-year program provides professionals with the solid foundations and continued learning to ensure their success in this…

Transitioning Community of Practice Meetings Online

Communities of Practice (COP) were established in 2016 to support students on two of DFI’s global online courses. Over the years tried and tested approaches were used to engage students and help them contextualise the content to their local context. They also enabled students to connect and network together and collaborate on initiatives. Students met…

COVID-19 Resources

We’ve shared many covid-19 related resources and blogs via our League of Digital Finance Professionals group on LinkedIn and also included some papers and case studies in our cultivated knowledge bank. We thought we’d collate some of the popular sites, hubs and portals of information about covid-19 in this blog post to help you keep…

Interview with CDFP Student, Farouq Kakuru

Farouq is experiencing an illustrious career within banking. He began his career as a Teller with Stanbic Bank, where he received several promotions due to his performance, and now is a Relationship Manager of Electronic Channels at Bank of Africa, Uganda.  He has completed both the Certificate in Digital Money (CIDM) and Leading Digital Money…

Financial Inclusion in Zambia and the role of the ADFP

On an ordinary day, Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, is laden with agents on almost every corner of popular shopping malls, streets and communities. These agents contribute to the din in the city and offer various digital financial services to passersby and loyal returning clients. The agents are usually ready to offer money transfers, cash in…

Our Upcoming Webinars for April and May 2020

We have some great webinars coming up during April and May – as always places are limited to 100 so sign up to avoid disappointment.   This webinar explores how we may be unknowingly and unwittingly influenced by our own biases. By having people with differing points of view on our teams, we can avoid…

In memory of Ann Muhangi, DFS Champion

We received the sad news yesterday of the passing of Ann Muhangi. Ann was our COP facilitator in Uganda and the driving force behind the establishment of their professional association, Digital Frontiers Association (DFA). Ann was passionate about financial literacy and improving lives. She was an educator, coach, mentor, motivational speaker, and pioneer of savings…

Factors Contributing to the Success of the Bangladesh Community of Practice

The Dhaka Community of Practice (COP) started in April 2018, and was DFI’s first Asian COP. Through discussions with Bangladesh Bank, ten staff was awarded a scholarship for the Certificate in Digital Money (CIDM) course and one of the key driving forces behind this, Mohammad Rashed, became the group’s COP facilitator. The COP meetings were…

DFI’s Community of Professionals and its Impact 2019

Digital finance is an emergent and disruptive field. It is important for those working in the field to remain up-to-date and to apply what they learn. Peer engagement and interaction helps facilitate this continual development and growth of a profession. DFI students benefit from being part of a global, moderated peer-network called The League of…

DFI Measurement and Impact Report 2019

Foreword from Gavin Krugel The importance of measurement and impact of initiatives and meeting customer needs are topics which feature in DFI’s courses.  Over the last four years DFI tracked its own value as a capacity-building institution by monitoring and measuring impact. Our scope for measuring our impact is on the places and the people…

Launch of Association Digital Frontiers Senegal / Lancement de l’Association Digital Frontiers Sénégal

On 30th November the Association Digital Frontiers Senegal (ADF-SN) was launched. DFI alumni along with digital finance professionals were invited to the General Assembly (GA) to elect the board, appoint auditors and to decide on the vision and mission of the association. The Digital Frontiers Senegal Association aims to promote digital transformation and contribute to…

Shortage of Cash in Zimbabwe and its Impact on Digital Payments Adoption

Cash, also termed fiat currency, has always been a medium of exchange for trading and exchange of value. It is in this regard that we see some economies going through a lot of turbulences when this value is disturbed. In Zimbabwe, we note that the country went through this turbulence from early 2000 to date,…

Who are DFI’s first graduating CDFP class?

Digital Frontiers Institute established the Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP) program, in 2017, to support the growing need for a professional certification in digital financial services. Now, three years later, we celebrate the first ever graduating class from this one-of-a-kind course. Featuring students from across the world, including ones from Zambia, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Rwanda and the…

Introducing Mohammad Rashed – Our Fifth CDFP Graduate

Mohammad Rashed is our fifth CDFP graduate. We conducted an interview with him so we could learn more about his experience and CDFP journey. Mohammad Rashed has been serving Bangladesh Bank (central bank) since 2006 and is currently in the position of Joint Director. He was responsible for AML/CFT related supervision of Money Remittance as well…

Capacity Building in Rwanda

DFI together with Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) organised an event for DFI alumni and DFS professionals in Kigali on 1st November 2019. The topic for discussion was ‘The Power of Digital Platforms – Transforming Lives and Business.’   They keynote speaker was Shirley Mburu, associate from Bankable Frontiers Associates, a global consulting firm leveraging…

Introducing Tavonga Edson Masendeken – our Fourth CDFP Graduate

Tavonga Edson Masendeken was our fourth CDFP graduate. We had the pleasure of getting to know him during this process and we wanted to share with our community more about his journey into this exclusive CDFP membership club!   Tavonga is a digital transformation and fintech expert, with over 8 years’ experience in the field.…

Sports betting and its Relationship to Digital Credit: A Case Study for East Africa

From the time gambling was introduced in East Africa it was a niche activity enjoyed by a few participants in society mostly foreigners and specific groups. It was not a main stream activity but mainly confined to casinos with expatriates and elites making up the bulk of their customers (1). There were also national lotteries…

New Communities of Practice launched

The second half of 2019 saw four new Communities of Practice (COP) being established and another re-established. China held its first COP meeting in Shanghai, which was attended by 70 students, 50 from the current CIDM course and 20 alumni. It was also fantastic to see the Lagos COP return thanks to a large group…

Cote d’Ivoire’s Desire Nindjin Talks Digital Transformation

When Desire Nindjin joined MTN Cote d’Ivoire in 2006 after a six-year stint at EY as Financial Auditor, the world of digital financial services was still in its infancy (M-Pesa first launched in Kenya a year later).

Charity Chikumbi and her journey to becoming the world first female CDFP

Charity Chikumbe was at a United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) conference in Johannesburg when she attended a presentation by Digital Frontiers Institute CEO, Gavin Krugel.

DFS Ecosystem Partnerships for Financial Inclusion in Zimbabwe

What are the benefits of DFS ecosystem partnerships and to what extend can they impact on financial inclusion? To enhance our financial services and in order to reach the marginalised, it is imperative that we make an effort to create a digital financial services partnership ecosystem which will include stakeholders such as the identity authority (Registrar-General),…

Lending in the Golden Data Age: Are Traditional Lenders Losing Ground to Fintech Lenders?

More than a third of the world’s adult population makes little or no use of formal financial services, let alone access to credit. Accenture estimates that bringing unbanked adults and small micro-businesses into the formal banking sector could generate about $380 billion in new net revenues globally by 2020. Are traditional lenders i.e. banks and…

The Unheard Cry of a Female Mobile Money Agent in Zambia

Walking along the streets of Lusaka Zambia, you see mobile money kiosks on almost every corner of popular streets. The roads are filled with numerous kiosks that offer various mobile money services to people around the premises. The kiosks are usually manned by friendly young women who are always ready to offer money transfer, deposit…

Development of a Digital Finance Profession in Uganda

Since 2009, when the Bank of Uganda issued a no-objection letter to Uganda’s first mobile money provider, there have been many milestones achieved to bring digital financial services to the population. This report by AFI discusses Uganda’s financial journey. Regulators including as Bank of Uganda and Uganda Communications Commission along with the development sector players…

Changes in SADC and South Africa promise progress in financial inclusion, but will incumbent payment systems operators move fast enough to support it? Thoughts from African Global Payments Summit – 2019 Johannesburg

Discussions and speeches at the Africa Global Payments Summit suggest that SADC is gearing for change with new regional infrastructure in SADC and potential changes in South African regulation to include regulated non-bank participants in the SA Payment System. PASA and BankServ conclude research on modernising the SA Payment System: Projects such as the ‘Project…

DFI aims to further the financial inclusion agenda with Digital Finance for All

Financial service providers have traditionally offered products that serve the needs of workers and enterprises in the formal economy. However, in many countries, the majority of the population earns income in the informal economy, which limits their ability to access formal financial services.  Compounding the issue, financial institutions that have tried to build products and…

Transition from Switch to the League of Digital Finance Professionals

Earlier this year, DFI decided to move from using our sister platform to campus – Switch, with the aim of increasing interaction, collaboration and learning. At the end of March, we launched the League of Digital Finance Professionals, a global moderated CoP, on LinkedIn. We now have almost 600 members of the group, with members…

Community of Practice Conference 2019

DFI has 16 active Communities of Practice (COPs) around the globe who are meeting regularly to discuss digital finance and financial inclusion. Approximately 45% of our alumni are based in these cities and have the opportunity benefit from COPs. COPs are an essential part of DFI’s capacity building approach and from our analysis we know…

30 scholarships to female students for Digital ID 2019

Fintech companies continue to grapple with an underrepresentation of women in leadership roles. This, according to a report by the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) in which findings revealed that among the 400 respondents, only 12.5 percent of those in leadership roles are women.  To close the gender gap in the rapidly expanding digital identity sector,…

Libra – what’s behind the hype?

The announcement about the new global currency, Libra, has seen a frenzied response across the world and within our own DFS community. Many are taking to social media to share their ideas, excitement and concerns. Libra is marketing itself as ‘being for everyone.’ It cites the number of unbanked globally and is positioning itself as…

Building the digital finance community in Zambia

Digital finance professionals in Zambia have established the Association of Digital Finance Professionals with the support of Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) and FSD Zambia. Sarah Corley, Community and Professional Development Manager at DFI, explains the reason for their success as an association and as a leading country in the digital finance space for professional development.…

The Jordan Landscape – A Situational Analysis

Financial inclusion in Jordan has increased from 24.6% in 2014 to 33.1% in 2017. 13.2% are informally served and 38 % remains excluded. The signing of the Maya Declaration in 2016 and the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2018-2020 aims to increase financial inclusion to 42% by 2020 and to cut gender financial inequality to 30%.…

Expanding the League of DFS Professionals

For us at Digital Frontiers Institute (DF), our journey with our students doesn’t just stop at the end of the course. We are committed to supporting your continuous professional development. We also want to create and grow a global digital profession. As part of this, we are extremely proud to announce the launch of The…

Launch of the Association of Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP) in Zambia

Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) are proud to have been part of the launch of the Association for Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP) in Zambia. ADFP was formed in 2018 by DFI alumni and members of our Zambian Community of Practice (CoP) and was officially launched and registered on 14th March 2019. The ADFP was endorsed by…

How the EU’s PSD2 open banking challenge could shape global regulations

As of Friday 14 March, payment service providers within the European Union have to comply with the requirements of the revised Second Payments Services Directive (PSD2), a far-reaching series of open banking regulations. But implementing these new regulations has already proven challenging. What’s more, a number of other regulatory authorities around the world are watching…

Community of Practice – 2018 achievements

213 Community of Practice (COP) meetings were held in 2018 with 1494 places being filled, the most in DFI’s history. These places were filled by 603 individuals, meaning 40% of attendees are going to multiple meetings which indicates how useful people are finding them. COPs are where like-minded students and DFI alumni come together face-to-face…

Call for Applications: Non-Executive Director to the Board

The Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) is pleased to announce an open call for applications for a Non-Executive Director to the Board. DFI’s current board comprises five directors: the three founders in full time or part time roles, as well as a two independent non-executive directors. Due to a significant expansion in size, scope and reach,…

Digital Frontiers Institute, Omidyar Network commit to increase women’s roles in the digital identity sector

Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) is offering 20 full scholarships for female candidates in DFI’s Digital Identity online certification course, with support from Omidyar Network. Increasing gender representation in the rapidly expanding digital identity sector and the roles they play in the larger fintech ecosystems is a priority for South Africa-based DFI. Fintech companies in Africa,…

Is our Gender and Digital Financial Services course for you?

As part of our ongoing work to improve financial inclusion across gender lines, Digital Frontiers Institute’s brand new Blind Spots: Gender & Digital Financial Services course begins on October 15th. Aimed at combating disappointing adoption and impact rates for digital financial services among women and other marginalised populations, the course will be taught by Professor…

DFI partners with CAFI at Renmin University in China for the successful completion of the first cohort of the Certificate in Digital Money in Mandarin

Drawn from a range of public and private sector financial institutions across mainland China, a cohort of 160 students have just completed our Certificate in Digital Money (CIDM). For the first time ever, the CIDM course was offered in Mandarin and run in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Financial Inclusion at Renmin University (CAFI).…

The Digital Frontiers Institute and TalentintheCloud partner up to promote formal education in Digital Financial Services

The Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) is proud to announce its new strategic partnership with TalentintheCloud, Africa’s only fintech recruitment specialists. This partnership will ensure a close relationship between fintech talent and development on the continent, boosting the sector with highly trained and well-placed professionals. “We believe this partnership will not only boost the credibility of…

Communities of Practice – what are they and what are their benefits?

  One of the unique aspects of DFI is the focus on taking action and bringing about change in yourself, your organization, industry and country. One of the ways DFI is supporting this is through establishing Communities of Practice (COPs). A COP is a group of people who have a common interest or passion who…

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FSD Africa and Omidyar Networks extend funding by a further $10 million in DFI to ramp up successful online training model for fintech globally, meet unexpectedly strong demand.

The Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) was founded two years ago to address the human capital gap in the fintech industry. Its growth and success in developing fintech…

How DFI and our partners are addressing the gender gap in fintech.

Fintech is likely to struggle with the gender gap for a while still, as there is no instant solution to this problem. Through concerted and focused programmes and initiatives such as DFI’s…

Why Kenya leads the continent in fintech remuneration packages

The scarcity of fintech talent in Africa means that competition between companies for the best people is incredibly high. One strategy for attracting the best people to your company is to pay them better than anyone else. With this in mind, Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) surveyed more than 400 employees at 69 companies in 10…

Understanding gender parity in fintech

Just as in technology and finance industries around the world, fintech companies in Africa are grappling with a severe underrepresentation of women in leadership roles and throughout their businesses. When compiling the data in the Fintech Talent Africa report, Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) gave a particular focus to gender balance, knowing that this is a…

Seven strategies for improving employee engagement in the Fintech sector

Fostering strong employee engagement is one of the key factors in creating a sustainable and successful business, and retaining the best talent. It can be a daunting task to develop an engaged workforce, especially for a young team working at a startup company in a volatile and disruptive industry. Those who get it right stand…

Explore Africa’s fintech talent landscape with the Digital Frontiers Institute

New Reports Highlight Salaries and Gender Gap Across Africa’s Fintech Industry To better understand and address human talent gaps that exist in Africa’s Fintech landscape, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI)…

Capacity Building for the New Era of Digital Finance – DFI Launches Certificate in Digital Money in Mandarin with CAFI

Digital commerce is now advancing rapidly in many parts of the world, with China at the forefront. The growth has come in part because new providers have been able to leverage low-cost mobile channels and fully digitize their processes: e-commerce leaders like Alibaba and Paypal, for example, earn almost double the revenue per employee (around…

From scripted cordiality to solving empathy. Not as SIMPLE…

In the age of digital finance, customer centricity becomes a key element for success. New, specialized fintech companies are raising the bar in terms of user interfaces and customer experiences. User-friendly applications, simple processes, easy-to-fill forms, customized dashboards…, these are all touch points between customers and the company that seem well-designed to provide a great…

Move over Behavioral Economics: Hello, Emotional Finance

Our brains are imperfect calculating machines: who could argue otherwise? There are cognitive biases galore: I get that. So psychology matters: sure. But I have always had a hard time with run-of-the-mill behavioral economics, which portrays these cognitive biases as deviations from the straight path, as disturbances from some kind of ideal rationality that people…

Consumer Protection in your DFS Go-to Market Plan

My January article introduced you to Consumer Protection in DFS, why it is important from a business perspective in order to create sustainability, and why regulators are focusing on it.  It provided links to the various International Guidelines on Consumer Protection applicable to DFS and suggested a high-level approach for you to follow to incorporate consumer…

Study Paper: ‘AML/CFT Regulations for Mobile Money: Global Standards, Practices & Recommendations for Bangladesh’

Executive Summary Access to financial system by the lower segment of the society is assumed as one of the seminal steps to establish a poverty free equitable society. Serving the poor through Mobile Financial Services is a much-praised agenda in the global development forum. Bangladesh is playing flagship role in using this vehicle to expedite…

The “golden age” of digital finance in China

China’s Ant Financial Group announced in January 2017 that it will acquire the second biggest global money transfer operator, US-based Moneygram, for $880 million. This sizable new deal spotlights the global ambitions of China’s internet finance giants. The Alibaba Group, with which Ant is connected, together with Tencent Holdings and Baidu, are among the six…

Call to Action – FinTech Talent Africa: Time to Act!

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “The war for talent”, a term coined by Steven Hanking in the late 1990’s. It has never rung more true than this very moment for our industry. There is a large and growing shortage of people with the knowledge and experience necessary to promote the growth of…

Consumer Protection in Digital Financial Services – What should I do about it?

In December 2016 I published an article Your Top 10 Things to get Right in a Digital Financial Services Business summarizing responses to a short survey asking that very question. The resulting DFS Framework outlines what you should focus on from launch to maturity, and the post provides several links to freely available material to help you…

Talking digital finance with venture capitalist Sanjay Swamy

In three years from now, what do we hope will have happened within India’s digital finance industry? It’s a big question, and just one of a few that DFI co-founder Ignacio Mas had the chance to discuss with Sanjay Swamy during a visit to Bangalore, where he was doing some research for a new DFI course…

Paid, But Not Paying Off: Why G2P Payments Are Not Yet Driving Financial Inclusion

Your alarm goes off. It’s 3 a.m. on the last Friday of the month. You don’t hesitate to get out of bed. You know you need to get to the local office of the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) to get in the queue to receive your pension. You’re anxious. You don’t want to be…

(Micro)insurtech: 5 challenges tech is addressing in microinsurance

The business of insurance is hard. Microinsurance has proven to be mostly impossible. Whilst promising exampleshave been documented of insurers achieving the impossible, sometimes even at scale, insurance cover for billions of excluded adults appears to be a long way down the road. Reviewing our research to date we’ve attempted to identify the top reasons why this challenge…

Could this be microinsurance’s uber moment?

Over the last decade, microinsurance has grown from covering fewer than 100 million risks, to covering more than 500 million. But are we overstating what this growth means for insurance market development? The diagram below illustrates how an insurance market typically develops in a country: from initially just underwriting large corporate risks, such as insuring large-scale…

Big data for small policies

What does big data mean for microinsurance? There are 24.2 million adults in Tanzania. About 15 million experienced an insurable event in 2013. Less than 3 million of those reported to have insurance and even less (200,000) actually used insurance to manage their risk. In other words, 14.8 million adults had to rely on other…

Is regtech a noun or a verb?

That seems like a silly question—it’s a noun, right? After all, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority which coined the term in 2015 defined regtech in a noun-like way as “a subset of fintech that focuses on technologies that may facilitate the delivery of regulatory requirements more efficiently or effectively than existing capabilities.” As a subset of fintech,…

Jumping to conclusions: How commonly held assumptions have skewed our view on women’s financial inclusion

Have you heard of the Fosbury Flop? Probably not. But you’d know one if you saw it. It’s the technique that high jumpers use when jumping back-first over high bars, commonly seen at the Olympics. It wasn’t always the accepted way of doing things, of course. Previously, athletes approached the bar front-on, and jumping over…

A balancing act: Using innovation to enhance financial inclusion whilst protecting personal data

Data has permeated all facets of our lives. It is more available and accessible than ever before. In just a few hours one person can create a multitude of data points from just one mobile device. This is what Gabriel’s* morning looks like: 6:10am: He logs in to Facebook and likes several friends’ photos 6:35am:…

Why a plastic bottle trumps a bank account

… and what that tells us about the impact of financial inclusion on people’s lives. Patience, a restaurant owner in Goma in the eastern DRC, has a dream of owning her own land. She saves a modest 2000 Congolese Francs (just less than USD 2) every day. This is no small feat: it requires daily sacrifices…

A key reason why a mobile money operation has failed comes back to how it has been operationalized

Today there are only a handful of successful mobile money deployments around the globe. Most of us only see the tip of the iceberg. Mobile Money, how difficult can it really be to implement? Surely, it’s just about opening a bank account, appointing a few agents, implementing a platform and getting a license, right? Maybe…

“I’ve got your back” – the role of mutualitées in the DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country with a volatile history and topography that’s tough to navigate. It’s not the easiest place to live when you consider the risks that you are exposed to on a regular basis. These might include sickness, unemployment, and unexpected expenses, but also more specific and remarkable…

Considered Social Media as a Change Management Channel yet?

Most of us can identify with the chaos change can create in an organization. While often in the best long-term interest of an organization, it can overwhelm and frustrate its people in the near term. It is safe to say that it is challenging to manage change and more often than not, it is managed…

Are we ready for the new world of work?

I spent 3 minutes of pure adventure after stumbling across a video clip of Jabob Morgan, Futurist and Author, while doing research yesterday. Call me a “People Dork”, if you want, but this got my heart-rate up! There are a few reasons why this clip resonated with me. Firstly, Jacob gave me something to aspire…

WePay: The future of digital finance

The Economist magazine of 6 August 2016 featured a cover story on China’s ‘tech giants’. Most prominent are the three internet companies whose first letters are to be found in the so called “BAT” trilogy: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. Each of these dominates a category of internet-based services in China in ways somewhat similar to the…

Digitisation of Government Payments Task Force Benefits from Digital Money Training

Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSDK), in partnership with FSD Africa and the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), held a graduation ceremony at the Serena Hotel for the Digitisation of Government Payments…

This road will not get you there – Customer Perspectives, Financial Inclusion

This week I drove 600 km from Cape Town airport to my home and sheep farm in the rural Karoo. Whereas the drive was pleasant and gave me time to reflect on many things, the joy of driving was definitely not the purpose of this journey. Getting home to my family was the goal. I…

Banks need a paradigm shift to make headway in developing countries

In 1778 the first modern-day savings bank in Germany was founded in Hamburg. The bank was set up to develop solutions for people with low incomes to save small sums of money and support business startups. Fast forward two centuries and there are now 431 savings banks in Germany with 15 600 branches and total…

Storming the Walls – How Mozambique’s ‘Citadel Economy’ shapes financial inclusion

When I first travelled through Mozambique, the picture was idyllic. Leaving sprawling Maputo behind, my main impression was of beaches, coconut trees and serene dhows. Every now and then you pass through a small village. You plan your mileage carefully, or run the risk of being left to buy plastic bottles of fuel next to…

Feedback – we all struggle with it, without fail!

Having attended the co-creation workshop last week and spending time with many Human Capital developers I was reminded that feedback is a skill that most people struggle with. Admit it, it is just not easy giving someone a piece of your mind in a frank yet respectful way. I stumbled across a post “How to…

Beyond financial inclusion: financial health?

I have just spent two days at the EMERGE 2016 Conference in New Orleans, organized by US based non-profit resource center CFSI. This annual event brings together some 700 people from across the US financial sector with a particular interest in extending the reach of appropriate financial services. Tellingly, the event used to be called “The Underbanked Symposium” a…

New partnership to help 1,500 professionals boost financial inclusion through digital finance services

A new certified training programme in digital money will help 1,500 professionals gain technical knowledge and drive innovation in digital money, thanks to a partnership between FSD Africa and the…

Want to know more about digital lending? Hear it first hand from a trailblazer.

DFI was privileged to spend some time with Lito Villanueva, President & CEO of FINTQ, a FinTech company of Voyager Innovations in the Philippines on the 31st of May this year. Lito leads the crew at Voyager who are responsible for the very successful digital consumer loans platform Lendr. What did we learn from this…

The Unified Payments Interface – A Game Changer For India?

India already has a diverse and complex payments system, which is moving away from paper-based clearing (cheques etc.) to digital. The last 3 years’ trends clearly show the direction of the market ― less and less paper, and more and more electronic payments ― with all electronic categories growing both in volume and value terms.…

Bangladesh Bank–the controversy continues…

News of the cyber heist of some $81m from the account of Bangladesh’s central bank at the New York Fed broke during the first Certificate in Digital Money course. It attracted much attention among students and even more from cyber-crime and digital banking followers worldwide–as a very visible example of just how fast and easily…

Digital Frontiers Institute and Karandaaz Pakistan partner to develop Human Capital in the Pakistan Digital Finance Industry

Islamabad, 11 May, 2016: Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), an organization that promotes continued professional development in digital finance, and Karandaaz Pakistan…

Introducing Australia’s New Payments Platform

The Coming Age of Real-Time Retail Payments Systems The landscape of the contemporary payment systems is being profoundly shaped by disruptive technologies and innovative payment services. Among these innovations, the emergence of mobile technology and ubiquitous m-commerce has aroused the market’s longing for having in place payment services that offer safety, speed, and ubiquity for…

Moving Money in Nigeria: Are there any “EaZy” Solutions?

I’ve been in Nigeria for four weeks now. Despite having a job focused on electronic payments, I’ve operated with paper notes since arrival – constantly shifting thick wads of Naira (the local currency) between my luggage and wallet. The whole process of getting cash in Nigeria has been a hassle. The government has refused to…

Are you Satoshi Nakamoto?

The bitcoin protocol was first published in 2008 under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. For years there has been speculation about exactly who this really was who invented the first global scale cryptocurrency. Some people were ‘outed’, erroneously: Newsweek Magazine looked a bit red-faced in 2014 when it identified the inventor of bitcoin as California based Dorian Nakamoto, but he denied the…

ApplePay is adding a million customers a week—is this high or low?

One of the better kept secrets of the payment world at present is the real number of active ApplePay customers. Introduced by Apple in September 2014 linked to the iPhone6, ApplePay represented a leap forward in mobile payments using smartphones because of its customer convenience (through its NFC interface to POS) and enhanced security (including…

What comes first? The chicken or the egg? A source of funds story.

One of the big dilemmas today for mobile payment solution providers is making mobile payments so user friendly for the poor that they could make every conceivable payment without even considering cash. It’s not about coming up with use cases and enough functionality. There are tons of use cases – paying school fees, making internet…

Oh Mama – an introduction to one of South Africa’s newest money transfer providers

Remittances act as a crucial lifeline for recipient households, however, for migrant workers, getting their money back home can prove tricky at best and impossible at worst. Some of the barriers include affordability and regulatory barriers – only documented migrants can send via formal channels. There have been a number of regulatory changes in South…