Digital Frontiers

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Rapid Innovation: How Fintechs are Adapting Under COVID-19

To understand more about the impact on and the role of these providers, CFI, in partnership with the Swiss Capacity Building Facility, conducted research to understand fintechs’ early adaptation and coping models under COVID-19. This brief draws findings from the Inclusive Fintech 50 applicant data coupled with key informant interviews with investors and fintechs conducted in March…

Guide to Remote Due Diligence

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, founders and investors alike wondered what effects it would have on the startup market. How would companies adapt? What effects would the crisis have on operations? And would investors continue to evaluate potential opportunities? Accion has been working to find answers to these questions —and many more — over the…

Ghana’s Identification Ecosystem

This report provides an overview and analysis of Ghana’s identification ecosystem (IE). It discusses seven major identification (ID) systems: Birth Certificates, Voter ID cards, National Health Insurance cards, Driver’s Licences, Passports, National Identification cards (Ghanacard), and SIM cards. The authors focus on how these ID systems — especially the Ghanacard and Sim cards — shape…

Sustaining Savings Groups Linked to Financial Institutions Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

This blog looks at some of the recommendations put across by MSC on how savings groups can cope with the “new normal life” that has been brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, overcome the economic shocks, and build resilience against similar future pandemics.

Open Banking: How to Design for Financial Inclusion

Opening banking regimes free up the troves of customer data locked inside banks, allowing competitors to access the information and develop innovative financial products and services that have potential to better meet the needs of poor people. In this webinar, CGAP’s Ariadne Plaitakis presented what types of open banking-enabled products and business models CGAP believes…

Gender: The Blind Spot of the COVID-19 Response in Low- and Middle-income Countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for governments and citizens around the world, straining health systems, economies, and the very social fabric of nations. This blog explores four potential fallouts of COVID-19 that will create lasting socio-economic impact on women in India and other LMI countries.

From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the Wake of COVID-19

This publication summarizes data, research, and policy work by UN Women’s Policy and Programme Division on the pandemic’s impact on women and girls, including the impact on extreme poverty, employment, health, unpaid care, and violence against women and girls. The publication also brings into focus the paucity of gender data and calls for greater investment…

Optimizing Awareness, Communication, and Outreach for Government Payments in Times of Crisis

This paper outlines the essential components of communication and outreach programs for both the supply and demand side. It quotes examples from PMKGY, the relief package launched by the Government of India amid the COVID-19 outbreak, to highlight the challenges around communication that recipients and frontline workers faced.

Addressing the Weak Link in COVID-19 Relief: How Improving Strategic Communications can Boost the Impact of Social Protection Programs

Nations worldwide have responded to COVID-19 through 1,100 social protection programs to help 1.8 billion-plus people. Yet recipients are largely in the dark about the programs and do not know how to access funds. This blog examines the importance of better communication around social protection programs, particularly for the vulnerable population.

The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2020

The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity report is the annual flagship publication of the Connected Society programme. This report is in its third year and provides the mobile industry and other stakeholders with a comprehensive overview of the trends in global connectivity to inform progress towards closing the coverage and usage gaps and the key challenges.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Disruptive Technology Adoption in Emerging Markets

Disruptive technologies—like AI, blockchain, robotics, and 3D printing—are playing a key role in supporting the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in emerging markets. Despite uncertainties surrounding the economic outlook post–COVID-19, emerging markets are expected to experience an acceleration in the adoption of disruptive technologies and a proliferation of online business models and platforms. This note…

Leveraging Islamic Fintech to Improve Financial Inclusion

Islamic finance is a fast-booming segment of global finance. Serving a core population of 1.8 billion Muslims world-wide and a wider global ethical finance audience, its role is growing in global significance especially as it relates to global social financing needs. The global fintech revolution is having a similar impact for Islamic finance through the…

Introduction to Open APIs for Digital Finance

CGAP’s collection of tools and resources on open APIs. Digital financial services providers will find here information to help them decide whether open APIs make sense for their business and, if so, how to implement an open API strategy. Open APIs can unlock new revenue streams and customer bases for providers while catalyzing a robust,…

COVID-19 and SME Failures

This paper estimates the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business failures among small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in seventeen countries using a large representative firm-level database. Done so by using a simple model of firm cost-minimization and measure each firm’s liquidity shortfall during and after COVID-19. The framework allows for a rich combination…

Debt Restructuring in Microfinance

In July 2020, nearly 300 participants from 30 countries joined CGAP workshops to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting MFPs and their funders, microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs), in terms of renegotiating and restructuring debt claims on distressed MFPs. This Briefing touches on the key insights and recommendations that emerged from the workshops. The views…

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Digital Finance (WEE-DiFine)

The White Paper focuses on developing a conceptual framework to explore the pathways linking WEE and DFS in great detail, reviews the current empirical evidence for each of these pathways, identifies challenges observed in interpreting the evidence, and highlights a set of priority questions that cut across the different research areas to be explored in…

Tracking Mobile Money Regulatory Responses to COVID-19 – Part 2

This blog, provides an update of the COVID-19 Response Tracker and examines the impact of the regulatory measures on mobile money operators.

Achieving Development and Acceptance of an Open and Inclusive Digital Payments Infrastructure

This report was developed for financial inclusion policymakers and payment service regulators, this note proposes policy options and practical actions that can help moving toward developing open and inclusive digital payment infrastructures, while also incentivizing the acceptance and use of digital payments.

Bank of England Settlement Accounts

This paper states the Bank’s policy for providing settlement services to payment systems, for providing settlement accounts in sterling in the Bank’s Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system and for granting access to intraday liquidity.

Promoting Digital and Innovative SME Financing

Access to finance is a critical barrier for SMEs to start, sustain and grow their businesses.  About half of formal SMEs do not have access to formal credit, and instead rely on internal funds, or cash from friends and family, to launch and initially run their business.  An extensive survey of SMEs in 135 countries…

G-20: Data Enhancement and Coordination in SME Finance Report

Annual aggregate data is captured annually for only a minority of the world’s countries by the IMF, OECD and others.  Little if any data is available at country level on financing for women entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs or other key segments of interest to GPFI’s Financial Inclusion Action Plan.  Data collected by the IFIs and DFIs…

G20/OECD INFE Policy Guidance on Digitalisation and Financial Literacy

The digitalisation of financial products and services, and the consequent need to strengthen digital financial literacy has become an important component of the global policy-making agenda. This guidance aims to identify and promote effective initiatives that enhance digital and financial literacy in light of the unique characteristics, advantages, and risks of digital financial services and…

G20 Fukuoka Policy Priorities on Aging and Financial Inclusion

Aging is a global phenomenon. The number, and the proportion as a share of the population, of older people are both growing rapidly in many developed and developing countries. Other countries will experience such growth in years to come.  The United Nations predicts that, by 2050, there will be over two billion people aged 60 and…

G20 High-Level Policy Guidelines on Digital Financial Inclusion for Youth, Women and SMEs

The G20 High-Level Policy Guidelines on Digital Financial Inclusion for Youth, Women and SMEs (HLPGs) provides sets of featured policy options targeting financial inclusion gaps for youth (subject to child protection frameworks where relevant), women and SMEs through digital financial services in order to reach conditions in which all people can live, work and thrive;…

Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion

Digital financial services have expanded opportunities for millions of women across the globe. More than 240 million more women now have an account with a financial institution or mobile money service, compared to 2014. Through this increased engagement in the formal economy, women’s resilience to financial, economic and health shocks is improving.  However, there remains…

Mobile Money Saving Accounts: Helping the Bottom of the Pyramid to Save in Zimbabwe

 This paper on Academia discusses a serious problem confronting Zimbabwe, the savings gap, which essentially means that Zimbabwe as an economy cannot fund economic growth from domestic saving. There is a directly relationship between savings and income. Since savings largely depend on income, the low levels of income in the country translate into low levels of…

Policy Model for National Financial Inclusion Strategy

The AFI Member network’s knowledge and experience in developing, implementing, and revising National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) have had a significant impact on advancing financial inclusion. In general, NFIS have created enabling environments and the awareness for the deployment of strategic measures driving financial inclusion initiatives with the aim of achieving the specific financial inclusion goals as…

Digitizing Savings Groups: Evidence from Tanzania

Digital financial services reach men and women where they live, work and play—bringing banking services to customers and leaping over the last mile problem, the challenges in delivery of goods and services to the end of the supply. However, for many low-income people, particularly women, these services remain out of reach for a variety of…

Four Guiding Principles for User Research with Low-Income Women in Emerging Markets

Women’s World Banking have developed four principles to frame their user research with women in low- and middle-income countries, plus tips for putting each principle into practice during research design, implementation, and interpretation.

Data Protection and Privacy for Alternative Data

The objective of this paper is to provide guidance for countries to use in considering key options to mitigate risks associated with data protection and privacy, especially related to alternative data, but not to direct adoption of unduly prescriptive legislative provisions.

Cybersecurity and Financial Inclusion: Protecting Customers, Building Trust

Cyber-threats have become a growing concern in emerging financial markets and are weakening consumer trust and confidence in digital financial services. Industry players and governments in emerging markets are becoming aware of the need to develop regulatory frameworks, industry guidance and supervisory processes. However, cybersecurity requires expertise and resources that are often scarce in developing…

How Gender Impacts Insurance Perceptions

Pula, which provides accessible, scalable insurance solutions for smallholder farmers by bundling insurance with the inputs farmers already use including seeds and fertiliser, has produced a new learning report exploring how gender plays a role in registration decisions in East and Southern Africa. The report, co-funded by Shell Foundation and the UK government, uses Pula’s data on…

The Hidden Pitfalls of Digitalisation

This chapter of BIO’s digital survey looks at risks digital innovation could pose for financial inclusion.

Who are the Innovators, MFIs or Commercial Banks?

This chapter of BIO’s digital survey looks at digital products and services in relation to MFIs and commercial banks.

An Imperitive Need for a New Social Order in Microfinance Community – Towards Ushering in a Resilient Ecosystem in the Battle Against Corona Pandemic

The paper presented by Research Gate tries to understand the challenges that the Microfinance industry is facing during the pandemic, on the supply side, and the dynamics of social relations of the poor in the said bio war on the demand side, and suggest a new social order towards ushering in a resilient ecosystem in…

Digital Initiatives by Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women: A Lesson for Progressive MFIs in Bangladesh

MicroSave Consulting has issued two case studies concerning Shakti Foundation’s digital initiatives for women. The first case study charts the journey of women clients of Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women toward the adoption of voluntary savings products that ride on digital channels. While the second case study charts how Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women utilized…

A Case Study in Interoperable Payments in Myanmar’s Microfinance Industry Part 1, 2 & 3

Modusbox collaborated with UNCDF Myanmar on a six-month-long interoperability project in Myanmar’s microfinance industry to demonstrate the benefits of interoperable, real-time payments for microfinance customers in Myanmar. Part 1: The Challenges Part 2: Standardizing Digital Loan Repayments Part 3: 5 Takeaways for Banks and Regulators

Why the Economic Response to COVID-19 Needs to be Financially Inclusive and Gender Sensitive

The Special Report highlights key gender-related issues facing society during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the specific gender-sensitive financial inclusion responses that policymakers can undertake to ensure their mitigation and recovery activities are fully inclusive and work towards the network’s commitments in the Denarau Action Plan Gender is a cross-cutting theme in all aspects…

G20/OECD Policy Guidance on Financial Consumer Protection Approaches in the Digital Age

In an increasingly digital environment for financial products and services with the potential to support greater financial inclusion and inclusive growth, the need for effective financial consumer protection is more important than ever. At the same time, the policies and approaches developed and adopted by financial consumer protection authorities need to evolve and adapt in…

Client Perspectives on Consumer Protection: Analysis of a Client Survey in Cambodia

This report shares findings from a client survey in Cambodia on the consumer protection practices of financial service providers. A guidance note is also provided for organizations seeking to conduct similar surveys by IVR.

How to Build a Regulatory Sandbox: A Practical Guide for Policy Makers

Regulatory sandboxes have attracted significant attention for their potential to empower financial regulators struggling with fast-paced innovation. Through a sandbox, regulators can carefully monitor digital products, services and business models in a live testing environment, enabling firms to bring innovations to market more quickly and readily. But when and under what circumstance sandboxes are the…

Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Podcast Series

Tune in to hear the Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation (M4H) team discuss key issues with their mobile network operator and humanitarian partners in this podcast series.

Igniting SDG Progress Through Digital Financial Inclusion

How can this digital revolution help us reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals more quickly? One important answer is through digital financial inclusion. Inclusive digital financial services refer to mobile money, online accounts, electronic payments, insurance and credit, combinations of them and newer fintech apps, that reach people who were formerly excluded. Digital financial inclusion,…

Financial Literacy Training Toolkit for Refugees

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and PHB have developed a financial literacy training toolkit customized to meet the needs and realities of refugees and refugee hosting communities in Uganda.

Instant Payments and Guidelines for the Brazilian Instant Payments Ecosystem

Here the Central Bank of Brazil discusses instant payments, highlighting implementation, ecosystem and benefits. Where this paper builds on the discussion, offering guidelines for Brazilian instant payments.

Identity Proofing for COVID-19 Recovery

In order to address the systemic as well as the immediate challenges associated with COVID-19, Cenfri and FSD Africa have developed a guidance note, targeted at regulators, financial service providers and market facilitators, that provides clear steps and actions to take in transitioning toward remote identity proofing. The guidance highlights how traditional modalities for customer due diligence…

Digital Agriculture Maps

The GSMA AgriTech’s Digital Agriculture Maps report (DAMs), produced in collaboration with IDH Farmfit, offers a snapshot into the digital agriculture landscape in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). DAMs helps industry practitioners and potential investors understand key trends and emerging opportunities in the sector. It encourages innovation and adoption of best practices to support scalable…

Connected Society Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit

The Connected Society programme works with the mobile industry, tech companies, the development community and governments to increase access to and adoption of the mobile internet, focusing on underserved population groups in developing markets. One of their key activities is to generate and disseminate insights and learnings on the mobile internet coverage and usage gap.

Global State of Small Business

The Global State of Small Business Report, based on the Future of Business Survey, is an ongoing research collaboration by Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank to survey small and medium-sized businesses around the world over a six-month period in the context of COVID-19. The aim of these…

Beyond Credit: 3 Emerging Opportunities for Fintech Startups in the Gig Economy

According to BFA Global’s Catalyst Fund, experts from India and East Africa suggest that fintech startups and digital platforms should consider three additional opportunities: offering additional financial services; supporting skill-building and structured paths to career formalization; and expanding to serve adjacent populations.

Measuring Microfinance Impact: A Practitioner Perspective and Working Methodology

This paper results from a research project by the EIF on “Measuring Microfinance Impact in the EU. Policy recommendations for Financial and Social Inclusion” (MeMI). The aim of the project is to contribute to the debate whether microfinance is able to deliver the expected impact in terms of financial and social inclusion.

A Framework for Understanding the Financial Health of MSME Entrepreneurs

This paper presents CFI’s conceptual framework for understanding MSME financial health along with a survey instrument that measures indicators for each factor in the framework.

GSMA Mobile Money API

The GSMA Mobile Money API is an initiative developed through collaboration between the mobile money industry and the GSMA, aimed at helping the mobile money industry speak the same technical language by providing a modern harmonised API for mobile money transactions and management that is both easy to use and secure.

Green Delta, Bangladesh – The Case for Insuring Women for a Better Tomorrow

Green Delta Insurance Company (GDIC), a private non-life insurer in Bangladesh, was founded as a public limited company in December 1985. In 2013, GDIC became the first South Asian insurance company to receive equity investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. GDIC differs from most of Bangladesh’s non-life…

De-risking in Africa: Illicit Financial Flows and Regional Economic Hubs

This two-note series from The Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion, highlights the relationship between de-risking, IFFs and capital flows in the context of regional economic hubs. Detailing the concept of a regional economic hub, and exploring the methodologies for determining which countries are hubs within their respective regions.

(Un)stacking Financial Market Infrastructure

The biggest challenges in scaling effective financial infrastructures that work for poor people often are not about technology. Instead, they often revolve around questions of ownership, governance, economics, regulation, and political economy. These challenges are not small, but when addressed effectively, a system can emerge that improves the value of financial services for poor people.…

Digital Cash Transfers in Times of COVID-19: Opportunities and Considerations for Women’s Inclusion and Empowerment

Women’s economic empowerment will be essential for a global economic recovery. Given pre-existing gender gaps, there are concerns about exclusion for many of the social assistance programs already being rolled out around the world. Social protection systems that ignore gender inequality will likely fail to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 for women, and, at worst,…

Global Microscope 2019: The Enabling Environment for Financial Inclusion

The Global Microscope for Financial Inclusion, now in its 12th year, is a benchmarking index that assesses the enabling environment for financial access in 55 countries. The 2019 Microscope features 11 new indicators to better assess what governments are doing to address the gender gap in financial inclusion.

Case Study: Modernizing the Customer Experience Through Communications Technology

FINCA Forward implemented a four-month proof-of-concept (POC) of the Salutat solution in Guatemala to explore if their features could deliver a rich, modernized, and personalized customer experience in which individual needs are known and satisfied. The POC proved that Salutat’s solution had the potential to strengthen engagement with customers.

We Need to Support Growth of Digital Assistive Tech Innovation in Africa and Asia

The GSMA Assistive Tech team, together with Urban Emerge, conducted a landscape study to identify digital solutions emerging from Africa and Asia that are addressing the needs of people with disabilities.

Remittances and Financial Inclusion: “Sending Money Home” in the COVID Era

CFI spoke with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) about the explosive growth of digital remittances in recent months, the drive to lower transaction fees, support for scaling digital innovation, and more. This is the second in an occasional series of interviews with professionals from development finance institutions, international financial institutions, and donor agencies…

SDGs & Socially Responsible Finance (SRF) – Case Studies from Selected AFI Members

This case study examines the role of financial institutions in achieving the UN SDGs through socially responsible finance (SRF), a broad range of political and commercial adjustments aimed at ensuring financial systems protect society and the environment.

Impact of Covid-19 on Fintechs

Like other businesses, FinTechs too have been struggling to cope with the Pandemic. The reports compiled by MicroSave Consulting, highlight the impact of the pandemic on FinTechs in Indonesia and India.  

Preserving Liquidity: Policymaker Responses to COVID-19 and the Impact on Low-Income Customers

This paper examines how COVID-era economic policy measures – specifically those addressing liquidity – are directly affecting low-income segments and the financial institutions that serve them. In particular, the paper reviews the liquidity needs of financial institutions serving low-income customers in light of COVID-19, provides examples of policy measures being taken around the world to…

QR Code Merchant Payments: A Growth Opportunity for Mobile Money Providers

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) compiled a report on QR code merchant payments and their relationship with mobile money providers (MMPs). Describing MMPs as key players in the provision of financial services in emerging markets, and why MMPs see QR code merchant payments as a potential adjacent opportunity to expand their products and…

Decoupling Fintech Regulations from Mainstream Banks: A Catalyst for Innovation

This webinar organised by Digital Finance Professionals Ghana, discussed global trends in the DFS space and highlight strides that Ghana has chalked in growing its DFS market. Panelists for the webinar were: Derek B. Layrea – Head, Research and Communications, of Telecoms Chamber David Porteous – Chairman of Digital Frontiers and CEO of BFA Global…

Financial Inclusion Compass

The Financial Inclusion Compass was launched by European Microfinance Platform in 2018. The publication is based on a sector-wide mixed-methodology survey of various stakeholders, giving the chance for practitioners, investors, donors, academics and support service providers, among others to present their thoughts on the trends, future areas of focus, challenges and opportunities for inclusive finance…

Eswatini Central Bank Digital Currency Diagnostic Study

The Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion in partnership with The Central Bank of Eswatini conducted a diagnostic study which investigated the potential for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and the possible use cases for the implementation of a CBDC in Eswatini. This report provides a summary of the study findings.  

Lending Volumes to Agricultural SMEs Falling Short

The 2020 CSAF State of the Sector Report reflects on the present and future impacts of COVID-19 across the agriculture sector. CSAF’s data partner  analyzed 2019 data from CSAF’s alliance of 15 lenders, which shows that lending volumes to agricultural small and medium enterprises are nowhere near what’s needed to achieve the sector’s impact potential.

Technology Building Blocks for an Open API Strategy

For financial services providers looking to open APIs, the right combination of people, processes, and technology is essential. Too often, however, business leaders do not engage on key technology considerations, and business strategy is kept separate from technology strategy. This can lead to technically unreliable solutions that require intensive, ongoing technical support and create financial…

How to Engage Third Parties with Your Open APIs

This highlights deck from CGAP aims to drive awareness and use of APIs. It seeks to help DFS providers understand the differing needs of third parties across different segments, identify engagement activities that can address those needs, and start to think about an engagement strategy that is aligned with internal priorities and capacity. It will…

Delivering on the Potential of Digitized G2P: Driving Women’s Financial Inclusion and Empowerment Through Indonesia’s Program Keluarga Harapan

Financial institutions and governments have been working for years to leverage digitized G2P for women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment. COVID-19 has increased the stakes, as governments look to use G2P programs to strengthen women’s resilience. New research from Women’s World Banking offers insights on Indonesia’s PKH program, the country’s largest conditional cash transfer.

Living on Little – Kenya Financial Diaries

Living on Little, by Julie Zollmann, illuminates the many deep and overlooked ways that scarcity shapes the lives of ordinary Kenyans. Drawing on four years of systematic research with nearly 300 low-income families, this book offers readers a new and intimate perspective on poverty. Living on very little money doesn’t just mean that you worry…

Good ID in Latin America

Digital identity is essential for the sustainable digital transformation of society, the public sector and the economy. One question arises: Under what circumstances can digital identification be a tool for inclusion or pose a risk to the rights of individuals? Amid this dilemma comes the global Good ID movement, which seeks to recognize and promote the…

The Global State of Small Business Report

The Global State of Small Business Report, based on the Future of Business Survey, is an ongoing research collaboration by Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank to survey small and medium-sized businesses around the world over a six-month period in the context of COVID-19. The aim of these…

Garment Worker Diary Reports

The Garment Worker Diaries collect regular, credible data on the work hours, income, expenses, and financial tool use of workers in the global apparel and textile supply chain in producing countries. The objective of the project is to have the data inform: government policy decisions, collective bargaining, and factory and brand initiatives related to improving…

Inclusive Tech: Overcoming Barriers to Scale in Emerging Markets

Technology undoubtedly has the potential to improve the access, quality and relevance of financial services for underserved customers around the world. Dynamic tech startups lie at the forefront of innovation in this space, harnessing technology, data and lean operating models to design more affordable, accessible and appropriate products that meet the unique needs of underserved…

The Journeys Project

This site features the long-distance journeys of dispossessed people — refugees, migrants and asylum seekers who have traveled far to escape persecution and grinding poverty. We examine their stories though a financial lens to better understand the costs and strategies involved in their journeys as well as the economic approaches they use when putting down roots…

AXA Mansard, Nigeria – The Case for Insuring Women for a Better Tomorrow

In 2016, AXA Mansard—one of Nigeria’s largest insurance companies—began differentiating itself in an increasingly competitive retail market by focusing on women. With support from International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Women’s Insurance Program, the company sought to become the preferred insurer and the employer of choice for Nigerian women. This led the company to conduct market research…

General Information on Client Protection Law and Regulation

This list is the result of desk research on law and regulation regarding client protection in microfinance.

Case Study: Women’s Empowerment through Financial Inclusion Technology

This case study from FINCA speaks directly to the promotion of financial inclusion for women and equal access to capital, markets, digital technology and business development services. The initiative is a true testament to how access to credit, mobile technology and digital literacy are jointly contributing toward women’s economic empowerment.

1st For Women South Africa, The Case for Insuring Women for a Better Tomorrow

IFC has generated a case study on 1st for Women Insurance (1st for Women), which was launched in 2004 to provide insurance solutions specifically designed for South African women—a first in the country. The case study examines 1st for Women’s approach, the South African women’s market and developing women-centric insurance products.

The Scale and Usage of Digital Platform Ecosystems in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa

Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are leading digital app markets in Africa. The relatively high levels of app usage across these markets are driven by expanded smartphone penetration, as well as higher levels of access to digital financial services, including mobile money. This series of infographics showcases the data on the size and scale of…

How the Development Sector is Channeling Money to Digital Financial Services

Development funders are increasingly embracing the potential of digital financial services (DFS) to promote financial inclusion. As these funders – bilaterals, multilaterals, development finance institutions and private foundations – continue to look for ways to respond to emerging crises and opportunities, the support for digital finance and the ecosystem around it is increasing in prominence.…

How to Measure the Gender Impact of Investments

Within the field of impact investing, the emergence of Gender-Smart Investing (GSI) carries major significance. The growth of this investment lens has been rapid and the amounts invested are noteworthy. In 2018, 496 institutional asset owners reported that they applied gender lens criteria to $868 billion in assets; more than double the $397 billion identified…

Finance for Smallholders

The NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance (NpM), Rural Finance working group undertook a collaborative study of smallholder finance through or with farmers’ organisations that included 14 projects of partners in Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Uganda.

Policy Options in a Post-COVID-19 Africa

A COVID-19 policy response framework to recover and adapt. COVID-19 is leaving no country unaffected. The global scale of the pandemic is affecting trade, capital flows, tourism and remittances, while lockdown or other measures to contain the spread of the virus are affecting domestic output and livelihoods. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where most economies were in a…

Could the Poor Bank on Stablecoins?

Emerging technology is driving optimism about building a more inclusive digital economy. Will one innovation—a digital asset known as stablecoins—expand access to financial services among the poor and unbanked? Success may depend on innovators’ answers to five questions—and how regulators and consumers respond. This note by F. Christopher Calabia encourages further study of these questions…

Innovative Agri-Finance Challenge Fund Playbook

The Innovative Agri-Finance Challenge Fund Playbook is a collaborative effort to assist challenge fund managers, implementers, technical assistance providers, donors and other stakeholders in managing challenge funds effectively and improving the design and implementation of future challenge fund mechanisms.

Webinar on Demand: Top 10 Recommendations for Reaching Women with Mobile Across Low- and Middle-income Countries

This GSMA hosted webinar, considers real-life examples of what mobile operators are doing to reach female customers and discusses their top 10 recommendations for reaching women with mobile.

Inclusive FinTechs in Francophone Africa: Benin report

Although in early stages, the upcoming National Financial Inclusion Strategy of Benin will help increase opportunities for FinTechs in Benin, especially if they spend time to understand the market and understand how they can add value to it by working with incumbents. The key success factors for FinTechs to stimulate financial inclusion in Benin are…

India’s New Approach to Personal Data-Sharing

Over the past decade, India’s investments in its digital financial infrastructure—known as “India Stack”—have sped up the large-scale digitization of people’s financial lives. As more and more people begin to conduct transactions online, questions have emerged about how to provide millions of customers adequate data protection and privacy while allowing their data to flow throughout…

Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion

Digital financial services have expanded opportunities for millions of women across the globe. More than 240 million more women now have an account with a financial institution or mobile money service, compared to 2014. Through this increased engagement in the formal economy, women’s resilience to financial, economic and health shocks is improving. However, there remains…

Enhancing Cross-border Payments: Building Blocks of a Global Roadmap

The G20 has made enhancing cross-border payments a priority during the 2020 Saudi Arabian Presidency. Faster, cheaper, more transparent and more inclusive cross-border payment services would deliver widespread benefits for citizens and economies worldwide, supporting economic growth, international trade, global development and financial inclusion. This CPMI report, and its accompanying technical background report, represent the output…

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on CICO agents in Kenya

Microsave’s latest research on the impact of the COVID 19 on CICO agents in Kenya provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges that CICO agents currently face and their coping strategies. The report provides recommendations for policymakers and financial service providers to support them. The report highlights that the CICO agents face severe health risks…

KYC Innovations, Financial Inclusion and Integrity in Selected AFI Member Countries

It is estimated that approximately one billion people across the world do not have access to an officially recognizable identity. The accurate verification of identity is integral to the Know Your Customer (KYC) processes necessary for compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulation. The inability of financial institutions to properly verify…

Advancing the Digital Financial Inclusion of Youth

The focus on youth reflects the fact that almost half of the world’s 1.2bn young people aged between 15-24 remain unbanked. This report examines the factors that contribute to youth financial inclusion and the role of digital financial services in meeting young people’s financial needs. It then explores opportunities and challenges relating to advancing youth…

Governing Artificial Intelligence in Banking

AI is changing the face of the banking industry. How can banks meet the governance challenges and take advantage of this game-changing technology? To answer this crucial question, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Temenos have produced this new report, Overseeing AI: Governing Artificial Intelligence in Banking Key findings in the report include: 77% of banking…

Payment aspects of Financial Inclusion

The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and the World Bank Group have issued the final report on Payment aspects of financial inclusion. This builds on an earlier version of the report that underwent public consultation in late 2015 and seeks to tackle barriers to the adoption and usage of transaction accounts, which sit at the…

FinTech Start-ups in Côte d’Ivoire amid COVID-19: Expectations from the Government and the Regulator

This overview from Microsave gives a unique glimpse of the FinTech ecosystem of Côte d’Ivoire, how it has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and what measures and guidelines are being proposed and implemented by the government and regulators of the country. It can also be accessed in French here.

Review and Analysis of Identification and Registration Systems in Protracted and Recurrent Crisis

Data systems to register and identify recipients of transfers underpin everything in a targeted distribution system in terms of who is eligible, who is not, why, for what and for how long. Data collection for these systems is often the first contact point between crisis-affected populations and responders. This research on this topic explores the…

Policy Framework for Leveraging Digital Financial Services to Respond to Global Emergencies – Case of COVID-19

The global pandemic COVID-19 and the ensuing emergencies have reinforced the urgency of using Digital Financial Services (DFS) to preserve the functioning of financial systems and the security of people during the period of declining demand, reduced supplies, and tightening credit terms. Digital payments, particularly when accompanied by digital financial Infrastructure and enabling regulations, help…

Central Banks and Payments in the Digital Era

This report from BIS, highlights the role central banks play in maintaining the safety and integrity of the payment system and reviews how central banks are embracing innovation.

The Global Fintech Index

The Global Fintech Index launched the world’s first real-time ranking of fintech ecosystems and fintech companies globally. It ranks over 60 countries and 230 cities according to the strength of their Fintech ecosystem.

MSME Finance Gap Data

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are one of the strongest drivers of economic development, innovation and employment. Access to finance is frequently identified as a critical barrier to growth for MSMEs. Creating opportunities for MSMEs in emerging markets is a key way to advance economic development and reduce poverty. The private and public sector…

Inclusive Integrity Toolkit

Countries in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region have been on a development curve in setting up effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulatory responses that meet the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards. This toolkit is the first of its kind and benefits from extensive comments and reviews from FATF as…

Market Scoping Study for the Digitization of the Fish Value Chain in Uganda

Over the past five years, UNCDF has been working to stimulate private sector engagement in rural areas of Uganda through digital bulk payment projects across the following five agricultural value chains; coffee, dairy, maize, seed oil and tea. The digitization of these value chains brought about significant benefits and opportunities to agribusinesses in the developing…

Biometric Recognition and Authentication Systems

This guidance outlines the security profiles of biometric recognition technologies, and how to build secure authentication systems which incorporate them. This document is concerned with biometric systems for the verification of individuals, and will cover only those modalities which are commercially available, and appropriate to the field of cyber security. These are: fingerprint, face, iris, vein pattern, and speaker recognition.

Payment facilities and Africa’s platform ecosystem: What does the data tell us?

Digital platforms, also known as multi-sided marketplaces, are seamlessly matching customers to suppliers of goods and services in e-commerce and other emerging industries, thereby creating new pathways for individuals to participate in the digital economy. At the heart of the rapid rise of Africa’s digital platforms are the payment methods and channels that facilitate and…

The Hidden Costs of Cash to Ghana’s Cocoa Sector

In Ghana, cash is the primary payment method used to purchase cocoa, with over 90% of farmer-level transactions (more than GHS 7 billion, or USD 1.26 billion) conducted using cash every year. As the cocoa sector considers its transition to digital payments, this report seeks to determine the overall costs and risks of using cash,…

The Causes and Consequences of Mobile Money Taxation

Mobile money taxation is a controversial subject. On the one hand mobile money has been something of a development success story in those countries where it has taken hold. On the other, developing countries face a range of issues when it comes to raising sufficient revenue to fund public services. This paper from the GSMA takes a fresh…

Digital Savings Groups

The SEEP Network defines digital savings groups (DSGs) as “technologies and systems that digitize savings group records, procedures or transactions.” What is most exciting about the growing range of DSG solutions is their potential for scale – creating new incentives for market actors, reducing the cost of training, and dramatically increasing the potential for outreach.…

A Survey of Research on Retail Central Bank Digital Currency

This paper examines key considerations around central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by the general public, based on a comprehensive review of recent research, central bank experiments, and ongoing discussions among stakeholders. It looks at the reasons why central banks are exploring retail CBDC issuance, policy and design considerations; legal, governance and regulatory perspectives;…

Innovation Ecosystems

Innovations of all kinds contribute to greater economic growth, and tech innovations, in particular, can increase digital inclusion for individuals. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For an innovation ecosystem to flourish, you need tech-savvy entrepreneurs, access to finance and a balanced network of connectors, plus an enabling environment. These ecosystems consist of, among…

Covid-19 and Remittances in Africa

The spread of Covid-19 and ‘stay at home’ measures in response to it are dramatically reshaping global societies and economies. This report from the European Commission contributes to understanding the potential economic implications of the Covid-19 crisis by focusing on its implications for migrant remittances in Africa. Large declines in remittance inflows could affect the…

How Mobile Money is Increasingly Interoperable

Achieving fully interoperable mobile money services that fulfil the needs of customers remains a goal for both the industry and the financial inclusion community. Emerging evidence from six markets sheds light on why this is the case. As more countries consider and implement a mobile money interoperability solution, this report from GSMA builds the evidence base…

COVID-19 and the Insurance Industry: Why a Gender-Sensitive Response Matters

Women play key roles in their homes, communities, and businesses. If insurers develop targeted approaches and products for women, they have the potential to earn up to $1.7 trillion by 2030. They can also help increase women’s understanding and willingness to buy insurance products to better protect their families or the companies women own or operate. The…

Remittances in Times of Crisis: Facing the Challenges of COVID-19

On 19 March 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations called for an urgent and coordinated response from the international community to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Five days later, the Remittance Community Task Force (RCTF) was launched by Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development (GFRID) 2020 co-organizers, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),…

Fintech Toolkit: Smart Regulatory and Market Approaches to Financial Technology Innovation

This toolkit presents novel regulatory and market approaches policymakers, regulators, and development professionals can adopt to enable safe Fintech innovation.

The Long-Term Effectiveness of Financial Education Classroom Workshops in Rural Areas the Case of Armenia

Financial literacy is becoming more important, prompting public authorities, international organizations and the private sector to implement a variety of financial education programs. This case study features Armenia’s experience with classroom-based financial education workshops and the Central Bank of Armenia’s (CBA) efforts to measure the effectiveness of these workshops on financial inclusion and financial behavior.

Regulating Financial Services in an Era of Technological Disruption

Financial regulators are challenged to respond to the innovation opportunities presented by financial technology (fintech). Current rules are not necessarily sufficient or effective to adequately regulate new business models and new products relating to innovations such as crypto assets or digital financial services. Regulators that fail to respond in a timely manner may drive innovation…

The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Fintech Adoption

This paper draws on mobile application data from 74 countries to document the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the adoption of digital finance and fintech. It estimates that the spread of COVID-19 and related government lockdowns have led to between a 24-32% increase in the relative rate of daily downloads of finance mobile applications…

Microinsurance Case Brief: Mozambique

Mozambique faces high levels of financial exclusion, particularly among the two thirds of the population living in rural areas. Access to insurance is low and awareness and knowledge is low. NBC Mozambique was founded in 2014 and is currently the only licensed microinsurer in Mozambique. This Case Brief showcases their approaches to securing partnerships to…

Agricultural Insurance for Smallholder Farmers: Digital Innovations for Scale

Globally, less than 20 per cent of smallholder farmers have insurance. Low awareness of insurance products and the high cost of premiums have restricted farmer uptake of indemnity-based insurance services. Insurance providers have largely overlooked smallholders due to the cost of acquiring and serving rural customers. Index insurance offers ways of overcoming some of the…

Clients Deserve to Know: Using Radio to Educate and Empower Consumers in Africa

Everyone has a role to play to improve financial consumer protection, including clients. This report explores lessons learned from three CFI initiatives in Ghana, Benin, and Uganda to raise consumer awareness of their rights and responsibilities when accessing financial services.

Ghana’s Digital Financial Services Policy

Ghana became the first country to launch a digital financial services (DFS) policy. While the policy has been years in the making, the government hopes the policy will support various measures it is taking to leverage DFS in its COVID-19 response. Developed with technical support from CGAP and funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for…

Mozambique Annual Fintech Report 2019

This Fintech Report is the first of its kind to be written in Mozambique in a collaboration between FSDMoç and the Mozambican Fintech Association. Fintechs are companies, in most cases startups, that develop innovative technologies in the financial sector, creating disruptive services for the final consumer. In an industry strongly linked to systems, processes, paradigms and…

COVID-19 Changing the Landscape for Migrants and Remittances

The pandemic’s effect on the flow of global remittances sent by migrants back home to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is projected to be one of sharp decline – a fall by about one fifth this year. The estimated 20 per cent slump represents US$ 109 billion in 2020. The hardship of COVID-19 felt by migrants…

Identity at the Margins: A Journey Continued

This narrative is a composite of experiences shared with the Caribou Digital research team, including direct quotes, presented in three short vignettes to highlight critical elements of how refugees engage with the identification systems of UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations.

VSLA and CARE Adaptations to COVID-19 and Past Crises

This brief from Care International includes examples of mitigating measures being put in place by VSLA members and CARE to lessen the impact of the pandemic on VSLA groups and their members. The brief also shares experiences of how VSLAs have adapted and delivered support through past epidemics and crises.

Golbal Dialogue on Regulatory Approaches for Inclusive FinTech

Financial policymakers and regulators in emerging and developing countries are mindful of the potential that FinTech holds for financial inclusion. While there is an increasing global convergence on the debate about and  implementation of regulatory and supervisory responses to these business model innovations, knowledge on how to deal with the risks of fast-moving technologies remains…

G2P: Fiji’s Electronic Welfare Transfer System

Digitizing social welfare payments can be a win-win for all stakeholders involved when done right; the recipients of welfare receive their payments in a more convenient and cost-effective way, the government can streamline services to make them more efficient and reduce illegitimate payment, and the service provider gains more customers. It was this thinking that…

Partnering During Crisis

he ubiquity and scale of mobile networks has made mobile an attractive delivery channel for many types of humanitarian assistance, and recent evidence shows that humanitarian stakeholders and the private sector are recognising the potential to offer essential products and services in an emerging digital humanitarian ecosystem. However, there is little available evidence of the…

Digitizing Payments in the Time of COVID19 and Beyond

UNCDF organized this webinar to discuss how fast-tracking digital payments at a time of crisis can be crucial in delivering aid and in post-crisis recovery. Three speakers from the UNCDF Inclusive Digital Economies team, Ali Akram, Sabine Mensah and Jaspreet Singh, were invited to share their experience and expertise. The objective of the webinar was to…

Mobile Money Recommendations to Central Banks in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges for the global economy. It has affected global health systems, affected peoples’ livelihoods and will, invariably, leave long lasting economic effects. Many countries have adopted partial or total ‘lock downs’, restricting movement in a bid to “flatten the curve” and to limit the spread of the virus.…

CICO Agents: The Under-Valued “First Responders”

Microsave’s ongoing research uncovered a set of unique challenges that cash-in/cash-out (CICO) agents currently face in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report looks at the experience and behaviors of CICO agents across eight countries and explores ways to support them through favorable policies, even as the disease rages on around the world.

Gender and Financial Misconduct: A Field Experiment on Mobile Money

The findings of this study on SSRN raise important issues at the intersection of economics and culture, and indicate that preexisting social distance (particularly unequal gender empowerment and gendered beliefs) can incentivize undesirable market outcomes and may be an important source of local financial market frictions.

The GSMA AgriTech Toolkit for the Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains

The Toolkit for the Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains is a collection of resources that illustrate how digital technologies can address pain points for farmers and value chain actors, such as agribusinesses and cooperatives, in the agricultural last mile. These resources support the use of digital technologies for digital procurement, by enabling the transition from…

Innovative Financial Products and Services for Women in Asia and the Pacific

This paper from Asian Development Bank examines digital financial services and products—powered by financial technology—as well as low technology solutions that can boost digital financial inclusion for women in remote and rural areas. New and innovative digital approaches that facilitate access to finance can effectively support the socioeconomic empowerment of women in Asia and the…

Achieving Business Impact with Data

There has never been a better time to achieve impact with data. More and more data is available, computing power is ever increasing, and mathematical techniques and the so-called data science are getting more and more advanced. What’s more, “digital” and “data” have become the talk of the town. Yet while talking about data as…

Testing “Lenga” a New Financial Education Kit in Tanzania

For the past three years in Tanzania, UNCDF and its partners have been developing and delivering financial education through a wide range of mechanisms, such as SMS (Arifu), tablet-based apps (Jijenge), videos (Noa Ubongo, Shamba Shape-Up), campaigns (Saving is Love), in-person trainings, and using savings groups as inclusive and supportive platforms for learning. This year, UNCDF…

Savings at the Frontier – Getting closer

Savings at the Frontier (SatF) was set up in 2015 to promote formal financial service provision to savings groups and savings collectors (informal savings mechanisms (ISMs). It has partnered with nine financial service providers (FSPs) in Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia to explore viable business models for reaching “the financial access frontier.” This focus note describes…

Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion in the Fintech Era

Technological innovation has made major inroads into financial services, especially payments. The pace of innovation has substantially increased in the past five years, leading to the “era of fintech”. Fintech presents both opportunities and challenges for financial access and inclusion. It can support improved access to safe transaction accounts and encourage their frequent use. However,…

Citizens and States: How Can Digital ID and Payments Improve State Capacity and Effectiveness?

In Bangladesh, a mother can now receive her child’s education scholarship through her mobile phone account instead of having to stand in long lines at the school on a prearranged day for a cash handout. Not only does this save her time and effort and provide accurate and documented payment, it also relieves school officials…

Blockchain Interoperability Considerations and Approach

The emergence of blockchain technology holds great promise for supply chain organizations. However, concerns around blockchain interoperability can serve as an obstacle to deployment. The World Economic Forum (Forum) and Deloitte examined the challenges and potential solutions for interoperability in the context of supply chain, global trade and the fourth industrial revolution. Read the report…

UNHCR Cash Assistance and COVID-19: Emerging Field Practices

This document from UNHCR is a snapshot of the many innovative field practices emerging in light of COVID-19. UNHCR preparedness and response to COVID-19 is comprehensive including cash assistance as a quick and efficient means of getting assistance to people fast, empowering families to deal with the crisis and meet their basic needs, mitigating some…

CVA in COVID-19 Contexts: Guidance from the CaLP network

This is a summary of the key points from rsources being shared on CVA and COVID-19. It is a living document and we  be updated as new resources are added. It is intended to help organisations understand and prepare for likely impacts of COVID-19 on their work, consider whether CVA is right for the contexts…

Don’t Jump Straight to Digital: What Ebola Taught Us About Trying to Force New Systems in Crisis

In this podcast from Care International, Holly Radice talks about how people have limited bandwidth to adopt new things in crisis, and how cash transfers in Ebola failed at digital solutions because of unrealistic expectations. Her recommendations: do everything you can to adapt and expand existing systems to push out cash safely, examine your context very carefully and…

Making Digital Finance Work for Women in the MENA Region: Eight Lessons from the Field

This brief from Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund highlights two regional case studies: the female agents, DFS Learning Program and other learnings from the MENA region that had an impact on how digital financial services can be used to accelerate women’s economic empowerment . The brief on making digital finance work for women in the MENA…

Mobile Money Regulatory Index

The Mobile Money Regulatory Index measures regulatory enablers of mobile money adoption. It has been constructed according to the steps set out in the guidelines developed by the OECD and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). This methodology document presents the theoretical framework that underpins the Index; the process for selecting the indicators, along…

Humanitarian Cash Transfers and Financial Inclusion

Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan receive more than one quarter of their humanitarian assistance in the form of cash and vouchers. Leveraging this aid delivery to connect refugees to the formal financial system requires the host country to have widespread digital financial ecosystem in place and coordination among governments, aid agencies, and financial service…

Measuring Financial Health: What Policymakers Need to Know

Citizens, politicians and policymakers know that effectively managing one’s financial resources – being financially healthy – is central to the success of both individuals and broad populations. If financial health is to be a useful construct, it is important to be clear about what it means, how it is measured, and how it can be…

The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2020

This third edition of The Mobile Gender Gap Report will consider how women’s mobile access and use are changing, and how efforts to reach women with technology should evolve alongside. This report provides: Updated figures on gender gaps in mobile ownership and mobile internet use in LMICs and how these are changing For the first…

The Contribution of FinTechs for MSME Development: What can Mozambique Learn from FinTechs in South Africa and Kenya?

This study, the Contribution of Fintechs for MSME Finance was produced by Helder Buvana as part of his journey to become a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner. It looks at how innovation, mainly technological innovation, is contributing to change the traditional way financial services are delivered to customers and how these new waves can reduce the…

The GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab for Mobile Money Interoperability

The GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab has released its Interoperability Test Platform, the first joint test environment including two key technologies, the GSMA Mobile Money API and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Mojaloop. With this test platform, the GSMA provides the industry with an open-source and secure environment, enabling ecosystem participants to test their systems…

State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2019

2019 marked a major milestone for the mobile money industry: the number of registered mobile money accounts surpassed one billion. Reaching the one billion mark is a tremendous achievement for an industry that is just over a decade old. The mobile money industry of today has a host of seasoned providers with a broad set…

Digitizing Value Chain Payments: A digital solution from Ghana

In Ghana, Tanager has been complementing the development of agribusiness markets by linking agribusinesses with ecosystems for cashless banking as a bridge between rural communities and brick-and-mortar banking services. In order to roll out mobile payment platforms across supply chains, and provide last-mile financial services to rural farmers, Tanager partners with agribusinesses, producers, and mobile…

Building a Resilient Industry: How Mobile Network Operators Prepare for and Respond to Natural Disasters

Mobile networks and connectivity have become increasingly necessary in times of crisis. They allow us to connect with loved ones, whether they are down the street or on the other side of the world. They fill not only a very human need to connect during times of hardship, but they also allow the coordination of…

Insur;Hack Report

The Insur;Hack (focusing specifically on insurtech) was a collaborative effort designed to provide competing teams with sector-specific training and mentorship, as well as the chance to win financial and physical resources that enable them to ideate, prototype and build digital products that can help to disrupt the insurance industry. The event sought to pioneer innovation in…

Guidance on Digital ID

Digital ID systems are evolving rapidly.  To determine whether a digital ID is suitable, governments, financial institutions and other stakeholders should: Understand the assurance levels of the digital ID system’s technology, architecture and governance Given its assurance levels, determine whether it is appropriately reliable, independent in light of potential risks that it is used to…

Case Study: Strengthening Agricultural Supply Chains Through The Delivery of Financial Services

This case study by the Fund for Rural Prosperity looks at the lessons learned from Ibero Uganda’s approach to financially including coffee farming families.

API Deployments in Inclusive Finance

APIs are often viewed as potential solutions for traditional financial institutions, particularly small and midsize banks, to partner with upstart financial technology companies (fintechs) to offer innovate products, especially to low-income customers. In practice, however, due to the maturity of the fintech market, fear of losing competitive advantage, and a variety of strategic errors in planning…

Proportionate Regulation in Uganda: A Gateway for Refugees Accessing Mobile Services in Their Own Name

The world’s refugee population is growing. Although mobile connectivity is not an antidote to the challenges refugees face, evidence shows that access to connectivity improves the lives of refugees in a variety of ways. Proof of identity is often required for individuals to activate mobile-enabled services in their own name, but many refugees do not have…

Digital Banks: How can they deepen financial inclusion?

New technologies and business models are upending long-established markets across virtually every major sector, including the financial services sector. Traditional retail banks are joined by a growing number of digital partners and other competitors. One example are digital banks – firms that adopt new technologies to offer more effective banking services. This slide deck from…

Fintech, Regtech and the Role of Compliance Report 2020

The 4th Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence report has been published on fintech, regtech and the role of compliance in 2020. It explores the adoption and use of technology and its implications for compliance. The report also highlights the shifting role of the regulator and concerns about best or better practice approaches to tackle the rise…

Understanding Women’s Rural Transition and Service Needs – Opportunities for Financial Service Providers

In this webinar recording FinEquity’s Social Norms lead , Nisha Singh facilitated a conversation with the Anne Maftei and Clara Colina from the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab on the recently published Pathways to Prosperity report and the associated gender deep dive. The authors highlighted the novel approach to customer segmentation proposed in the report. Based…

Is There a Case for For-Purpose Remittances?

This report from Cenfri reveals the findings from their qualitative and quantitative research with remittance senders who live in the United Kingdom and send remittances to either Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria or Uganda. Remittances act as key sources of financial support for households: They reduce the likelihood of impoverishment, contribute to improved health and education, and provide…

Leveraging Mobile to Accelerate Digital Identity Ecosystems: Considerations for Policymakers in Africa

The white paper written by Yiannis Theodorou, Acting Head of Digital Identity at GSMA, discusses how mobile could be leveraged to accelerate digital identity ecosystems in Africa.

Digital Credit Scoring for Farmers: Opportunities for Agritech Companies in Myanmar

Despite rapid urbanisation in recent years, agriculture dominates Myanmar’s rural economy. Sectoral challenges, like farmers’ limited access to credit and associated low levels of financial inclusion, affect farmer livelihoods and limit opportunities for growth. Recently, innovative agritech companies have been testing the use of digital technologies to mitigate some of these challenges. This report from…

Seeking Solutions: New Roles for Technology in Cash and Voucher Programs

More people have been forced to flee their homes than at the height of World War II. The scale of these humanitarian crises are challenging, and sometimes outpacing, the capacity of institutions created to respond to them. Yet, the approaches available to reach populations in need have also advanced. In particular, the trend towards distributing…

Fintech Benchmarks Proof-of-Concept Report

Investment capital is flowing into fintech startups, yet it is still challenging to get capital to many fintechs addressing last-mile challenges. Evidence suggests this is driven in large part by a lack of information. Using data collected to test an initial set of Data Standards for Inclusive Fintech, this report from MIX presents insights into…

Digital Finance APIs Come with Risks – Here’s One Way to Manage Them

Often an open API initiative starts when a digital financial services (DFS) provider sees the potential for scaling the exposure of services, such as payments, to partners and third parties. However, internal resistance can squelch the initiative, as management grapples with potential security, data privacy and brand reputation risks. While these concerns are valid, if…

Space for Finance in Developing Countries

This research was conducted by Caribou Space for the International Partnership Programme, a five-year, £30 million per year initiative run by the UK Space Agency. This report outlines why and how the space industry has a role to play in addressing challenges within the finance sector in developing countries. It is part of a series…

Passwordless Authentication: The Next Breakthrough in Secure Digital Transformation

Authentication is the cornerstone of secure digital transformation for platform businesses, and beyond that, a pillar of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: from internet of things (IoT) devices that need authentication for machine-to-machine communication, to artificial intelligence (AI) that will be used both to secure and bypass authentication systems, and even blockchain, for which trustworthy authentication…

The Identities Research Project

The Identities research project explores user experiences of identity technology, brought to you by Caribou Digital, Omidyar Network and the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIITB). The need for user-centered research in “digital identity” arose out of concerns around top-down identity systems and lack of insights on how these are being understood and used,…

Digital Identity and Social Cash Transfers

The efficient implementation of social protection systems – and particularly social cash transfers – requires new digital tools that facilitate the efficient selection and enrollment of beneficiaries and the targeted and transparent delivery of funds. Effective methods of verifying beneficiary identities are essential to these processes; however, several issues are likely to hinder this. This…

Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development

In 2017, a group of development partners, international organizations, government agencies, and NGOs actively working to design and support identification (ID) systems came together organically to develop a set of shared principles essential for maximizing the benefits of identification for development while mitigating the risks. These Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development have now been endorsed by…

Global Risks Report 2020

The 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report is published as critical risks are manifesting. The global economy is facing an increased risk of stagnation, climate change is striking harder and more rapidly than expected, and fragmented cyberspace threatens the full potential of next-generation technologies — all while citizens worldwide protest political and economic…

G20 Action Plan on SME Financing: Self-Assessment Consolidated Progress Report 2019

This report represents the comparison of the 2019 self-reported responses against those provided by the G20 countries in 2017.

Financially Underserved Kenyans and Their Market Potential: A segmentation Study

This segmentation study identifies Kenyans whose financial needs are not adequately met by the solutions available in the financial market, as well as the untapped opportunities they offer to financial service providers. The study was conducted by FSD Kenya and CGAP using data from FinAccess 2019. Over the past two decades, Kenya has made significant…

Unlocking Credit For Women-Owned Enterprises in Southeast Asia through Value Chain Digitization

This report by Women’s World Banking explores the answers to three key questions: Which value chains in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam represent priority opportunities to develop increased credit offerings for women-owned MSMEs (micro-, small- & medium-sized enterprises) through value chain digitization? What forms of value chain digitization would be best suited to women-owned…

Making Data Work for the Poor

With the rise of digital technologies, the use of personal data by private companies is growing rapidly. But how do we know they will use this data responsibly and in consumers’ best interests? In emerging and developing markets, the question is particularly acute because the predominant model rests upon obtaining consumer consent to use their…

Impending Arrival – a Sequel to the Survey on Central Bank Digital Currency

Research and experimentation on central bank digital currencies continue to fuel discussion and debate. This BIS paper updates an earlier survey that asked central banks how their plans in this area are developing. The latest responses show emerging market economies reporting stronger motivations and a higher likelihood that they will issue digital currencies, with central…

Changing Mindsets to Empower Women

This blog post and video interview on Next Billion features Roshaneh Zafar discusing how Kashf Foundation handles the challenges of serving women customers in Pakistan, why its services go far beyond microcredit, and where the development sector’s investments in women are still falling short.

Customer-Centric Guide

The CGAP Customer-Centric Guide is a collection of hands-on toolkits and experiments that help with the design and delivery of effective financial services for low-income customers.

The Real Story of Women’s Financial Inclusion in India

This research report from Microsave Consulting explores the real problems restricting women’s access to, and usage of, formal financial services in India, and recommends the use of introducing different categories of women so that use, uptake and design of products can be improved.    

Digital Identity Tracker

The Digital ID Tracker®, produced in collaboration with PYMNTS.com and Jumio, is a monthly resource for updates on trends and changes in the digital ID industry.    

Digitising Payments in Agricultural Value Chains: The Revenue Opportunity to 2025

This report from the GSMA explores the potential revenue opportunity of digitising agricultural payments for mobile money providers. Two types of payment are ripe for digitisation: B2B payments; procurement payments from agribusinesses to smallholder farmers in formal value chains and G2P payments; subsidies paid out by governments to smallholder farmers. These opportunities offer mobile money…

The Rise of Challenger Banks – Are the Apps Taking Over?

The banking sector is experiencing a major shift globally, as Challenger Banks are becoming increasingly formidable competitors to traditional banks and have begun to capture significant market share. Furthermore, the lines between banks and other consumer financial services providers are blurring, with several alternative lenders and robo-advisors beginning to offer banking products to their customers.…

Digital Financial Services in Nigeria

In 2016, the initial hypotheses was that: 1) financial services providers (FSPs) addressing financial inclusion had little understanding of the customers they were serving; 2) FSPs could learn distribution solutions from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies that seemed to be able to reach all parts of Nigeria; 3) the operating business models, resources and…

Zooming in on Informal Savings Mechanisms in Zambia

This study of informal savings mechanisms (ISMs) and their users was conducted in three provinces of Zambia in 2019. Commissioned by the Savings at the Frontier (SatF) programme (a partnership between Mastercard Foundation and Oxford Policy Management) and Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ) it was conducted by Oxford Policy Management in collaboration with Paul Rippey…

Experiences in Gender-Sensitive Solutions to Collateral Constraints

A common theme that arises in agricultural lending is the topic of collateral. There is shared acknowledgement that collateral requirements by most financial institutions and regulatory systems in low-income countries inhibit access to credit for smallholder farmers and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the agriculture sector, particularly for those led by women. Conventional…

Do No Harm Framework

This Do No Harm framework is meant to guide project/product/service design, implementation, monitoring and project exit with a focus on “doing no harm while doing good” for the women and families Grameen Foundation and its partners serve. Social norms shape how people behave and expect others to behave. They define what women’s and men’s roles…

Financial Inclusion Compass 2019

This is the second Compass survey. The 2018 edition started with a blank page – and was well received. The paper that came out of that survey touched on many of these issues: where does the obligation to protect clients start and end; what response is due to sector entrants that threaten incumbents and lack…

The Future of Commerce – Consumer Protection Attitudes Study 2020

As digital commerce gains traction in Hong Kong and Macau, cashless payments become more ubiquitous in our everyday life. We have seen the emergence of challenger banks and fintechs, more innovation from incumbents, and advancement into open data. This is a perfect storm of innovation. What exactly do consumers think about recent developments in mobile…

Decentralised Identity

This short article from GSMA explains the concept of decentralised identity.

Case Study of a Banking MVNO

Providing mobile banking services allows banks to significantly enhance the convenience, flexibility, accessibility, and affordability of their banking services. Money has been moving to the digital ecosystem for the last 25 years, with the arrival of internet banking, banking applications, and even digital money. Banks need to create a digital and mobile extension to their existing service…

An Analysis of ID Proxy Initiatives Across the Globe

Real-time instant payments have become a hallmark of the digital economy and financial system. As part of Cenfri’s growing work in payment ecosystems, this report clarifies and investigates proxy and addressing services as a critical lever for adoption of instant or near instant payments as part of the evolution of payment systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

Diagnostic study of the Zambian payments system

This diagnostic study by Cenfri explores Zambia’s payments landscape and provides insight and key learnings as Zambia’s 2018 – 2022 payment strategy to modernise the payment system and promote a cash-light society. This report outlines salient features of the Zambian economic context and political economy with a bearing on the National Payment System. It provides a…

Annual Report – UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development

This annual report looks back at the last ten years of the UNSGSA and the progress made within inclusive finance. It highlights the journey of change featuring specific sections on Jordan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Argentina. It also looks at the road ahead and priorities for the next ten years.

Nonbank E-Money Issuers vs. Payments Banks: How Do They Compare?

A key regulatory enabler for building inclusive digital financial services is creating a special licensing window for electronic money issuers (EMIs). Because EMIs have a lower risk profile than banks, they require less regulatory oversight. A special licensing category that recognizes that their role is to store customer funds converted into e-money held in basic…

Behavioral Design for Digital Financial Services

This playbook is a guide for financial service providers to use behavioral design to increase engagement with digital tools. All of the strategies are rooted in behavioral science—the study of how people act and make decisions in the real world. It outlines design principles for common barriers to adoption that take into account how people process…

Integrating Gender into Cash and Voucher Assistance in Humanitarian Settings

Given the Grand Bargain commitments to increase the use of cash and voucher assistance (CVA) where appropriate, it is critical that these commitments unfold hand in hand with commitments also made to gender equality in humanitarian settings. Recent research has shown, without adequate gender analysis and targeting, cash and voucher assistance can fail to reach…

Capabilities in Digital Financial Services

This white paper from ONOW Myanmar discusses their efforts to build capabilities in digital financial capabilities. The paper encompasses efforts in digital and financial literacy, tied to real world uptake and use of DFS.

Leveraging Digital Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

This working paper from UN Women is based on initial discussions with and between Task Force members, technical experts, practitioners, innovators, and other stakeholders, as well as on a review of available literature. The paper provides a basis to review the barriers, risks, and opportunities related to gender and the accessibility and utilization of digital…

Fair Play: Ensuring Competition in Digital Financial Services

In many emerging economies, digital financial services markets are limited to one or two major providers, reducing innovation, customer choice and potentially facilitating monopolistic or cartelistic behavior. Why are DFS markets prone to concentration? Is this a problem? In this primer, CGAP applies a framework to help answer these questions and demonstrate how regulation can have…

How Digital Finance is Bringing Change to Peoples’ Lives

In 2014, Mastercard Foundation and UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) formed a partnership to try to replicate and scale a model that had found success in the Pacific region – taking a market development approach to increasing digital financial inclusion. Through the partnership, UNCDF was able to expand the Mobile Money for the Poor programme (MM4P)…

7 Strategies for Designing Successful Micro Pensions

This e-book on micro pensions will introduce seven strategies for designing successful micro pensions and its aim is for readers to have a better understanding of how micro pensions can benefit their organization and country.

Global Fintech Index 2020 Rankings Report

This is the first index designed to rank fintech activity globally, to understand the scale and scope of fintech activity in different regions of the world.

A FinTech Strategy for Ireland

This document aims to set the scene with a definition of FinTech and an overview of FinTech in Ireland and Globally – setting out key investment statistics which demonstrate the significant growth in FinTech which has taken place. It then examines the key success factors or attributes of a well-functioning FinTech eco-system and analyse Ireland…

How Cross-border Payments are Evolving

The ability to send and receive fast, transparent and trackable cross-border payments is a key driver to success in global business and trade. The correspondent banking community has made giant leaps forward to meet the requirements of global companies in 2019. This ebook from SWIFT explores how cross-border payments have progressed and utilising the following advancements:…

Navigating the Shift to Digital Humanitarian Assistance: Lessons from the International Rescue Commitee’s Experience

The objective of this case study is to understand the International Rescue Commitees’s (IRC) motivation and experience shifting from in-kind to cash assistance – with a focus on digital cash – at both the headquarter (HQ) and country level. It explores the drivers and lessons learned in leveraging digital payment modalities, specifically mobile money. It…

The Trillion-Dollar Question

For years, digital financial services providers have tried and failed to seize a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity: the large-scale digitization of retail payments in emerging markets.What must providers do differently to make digital payments work better than cash for merchants and their customers? CGAP Senior Financial Sector Specialist Peter Zetterli’s search for an answer led him to a…

Social Performance Management in Microfinance: Practices, Results and Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance has an intrinsic social mission: it is generally described as a system which makes it possible to provide financial services to those who are vulnerable and have very few resources, and it has been developed to fill a need and to position itself as an alternative solution to the traditional banking and financial services,…

Improving Operational Efficiency of MFIs Through Tablet Banking

Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) provide a range of financial and non-financial services to low-income households around the globe as it is costly for financial institutions to provide the same services. MFIs have been offering these services to the unserved and underserved population but they are also struggling to balance outreach with costs. Use of technology,…

Deciphering the Trillion-valued Unicorn – Ant Financial

World Bank rated Ant Financial as the most valuable fintech company worldwide in  their 2019 World Development Report. Its valuation is approximately $160 billion. Ant Financial is growing rapidly and outperforming financial institutions, both the innovation capability of is financial business adn the technical output capability serving third-party financial and non-financial institutions are indispensable consideration…

Financial Technologies as a Factor of Financial Inclusion of Women

The purpose of this paper is to study the use of financial technologies by women in the financial market of Tajikistan, to identify existing barriers and drivers for expanding opportunities through financial technologies to increase the level of financial inclusion of women in the Republic of Tajikistan. The main method of research is a sociological…

Cyber Security in Financial Sector Development: Challenges and Potential Solutions for Financial Inclusion

This paper assesses the relevance of cyber security for the development of inclusive financial systems in developing countries. The growing use of digital financial services and shared service platforms has increased the financial sector’s exposure to cyber risks. Financial service providers and their customers, regulators and supervisors are challenged with the increase in cyber threats…

Agent Networks at the Last Mile

Most digital financial services users around the world live in cash-based societies, and they require a cheap and easy way to switch between the worlds of cash and digital currency. Agent networks that provide this service tend to cluster around urban and peri-urban areas and larger rural towns. However, global evidence shows that emerging agent network…

Mobile money: A product of choice for women to send and receive remittances

Women constitute the majority of remittance recipients globally and remittances have an impact on both women’s actual income as well as on social norms. This article from GSMA explores the patterns of remittances and why it has a gendered appeal.

Consumer Insights Research in Malaysia

The consumer insights research series is designed to inspire providers, regulators and other financial market facilitators to design financial services and markets that respond to the aspirations of low-to-moderate income (LMI) people and improve their financial health. Why financial health? Financial health matters because our research shows that financial pressures prevent LMI people from having a…

State of Aadhaar 2019

Conceived as an ambitious project to provide universal identity to more than one billion Indians, Aadhaar is unparalleled in its reach and aspiration. An important objective of the project has been to improve the ability of the Indian state to provide efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of welfare services to a large number of residents…

A Tale of Two Sisters: Microfinance Institutions and PAYGo Solar

The microfinance institutions of the future will not know every client personally. They will acquire and service customers through a variety of partnerships, products, and channels, as some providers are already demonstrating. This publication from CGAP traces the journey of two global microfinance groups, Baobab and FINCA, that have worked with their “sister” pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar subsidiaries…

Big Data Could Mean Big Opportunity

At nearly USD 150 billion, the gap in smallholder financing remains wide, and financial institutions by and large continue to find smallholder farmers a difficult and costly segment to serve. The result is that far too many smallholders remain without access to the finance – particularly credit – they need to obtain critical inputs, make…

The Human Account

The Human Account is a public information resource and tool aimed at enabling better design of products and policies to help people live a healthier financial life.  Around the world, whether rich or poor, we all share similar goals for our financial lives: security and the opportunity to create a better future for ourselves and…

Fair Play: Ensuring Competition in Digital Financial Services

In many emerging economies, digital financial services markets are limited to one or two major providers, reducing innovation, customer choice and potentially facilitating monopolistic or cartelistic behavior. Why are DFS markets prone to concentration? Is this a problem? This paper from CGAP applies a framework to help answer these questions and demonstrate how regulation can…

Agent Networks at the Last Mile

Most digital financial services users around the world live in cash-based societies, and they require a cheap and easy way to switch between the worlds of cash and digital currency. Agent networks that provide this service tend to cluster around urban and peri-urban areas and larger rural towns. However, global evidence shows that emerging agent network…

PoWER assessment of Women’s Economic Empowerment in The Gambia

This document from UNCDF presents the final analysis of data collected through desk research, interviews, focus group discussions, and surveys on women and girls’ financial inclusion in The Gambia. It provides the overall context of financial inclusion, demand-side analysis of women and girls’ financial needs, an outlook on financial service provision to women and girls,…

Agriculture and Food

The World Bank’s Agriculture and Food resource gives an insight into the innovation, infrastructure and resources they are delivering into the food and agriculture sector. There are sections on data and also reports on impact and achievement.

Digital Credit Scoring in Agriculture: Best Practices of Assessing Credit Risks in Value Chains

Farmer-level data collected from digital channels can be used to evaluate and rank potential borrowers in order of their likelihood to repay a loan. Such credit scoring models could help increase the scale and scope of lending to small holder farmers and augment existing value chain finance programs and informal lending. Several concurrent industry trends…

Taxing Mobile Phone Transactions in Africa: Lessons from Kenya

Taxation on mobile phone-based transactions and on airtime has been introduced in Kenya and is spreading to other African countries. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa view mobile phones as a booming subsector easy to tax due to the increasing turnover of transactions and the formal nature of such transactions by both formal and informal enterprises.…

Designing Products and Developing Institutions to Serve Low-income Women”

Major takeaways from this publication from Women’s World Banking  include: How to develop a successful digital savings product for women, how to create sustainable financial products for youth and their families, must haves for credit programs focused on women-owned businesses, and best practices for creating leadership programs to drive change.

Fintech Development and Regulatory Frameworks in Indonesia

This paper from the ABDI Institute showcases the growth as well as the challenging factors for fintech development in Indonesia. As the eighth-biggest economy in terms of gross domestic product, and with an internet participation ratio of more than 50% and more than 50 million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the country shows huge…

Leveraging Digital Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 

For women and girls, the digital revolution represents one of the biggest opportunities and threats to gender equality. In recognition of this critical dichotomy, the UNSG Task Force on Digital Financing for the SDGs has selected gender as one of the main themes of its work. This working paper provides a basis to review the…

Women and Money

IDEO.org is a two-year initiative to surface the complex realities that keep women excluded from financial services and build solutions that unlock new opportunities to include women. In research was conducted in six contexts: Tanzania, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and India culminating in a report that illuminates global insights and opportunities for design. You can…

The Fintech Landscape in Rwanda

This report by UNCDF provides findings and proposed recommendations from an assessment of the fintech landscape in Rwanda. The report looks at four ecosystem attributes: 1) availability of talent, (2) demand for products and services, (3) availability of capital for start-ups and innovators, and (4) government policies and regulations regarding innovation.

Doing Business 2020

The Doing Business 2020 study shows that developing economies are catching up with developed economies in ease of doing business. Still, the gap remains wide. An entrepreneur in a low-income economy typically spends around 50 percent of the country’s per-capita income to launch a company, compared with just 4.2 percent for an entrepreneur in a…

Women, Business and the Law

Gender equality is a critical component of economic growth. Women are half of the world’s population and we have our role to play in creating a more prosperous world. But we won’t succeed in playing it if the laws are holding us back. To develop a better understanding of how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are…

Designing fintech solutions for inclusion

Part of the mandate of BFA’s Catalyst Fund is to share insights and lessons learned from their experience accelerating 25 inclusive fintech companies in emerging markets globally. This article discusses best practices in designing solutions for low-income populations, around the idea of Conscious coupling: how to ensure tech innovation does not undermine inclusion.

Pathways to Prosperity: 2019 Rural and Agricultural Finance State of the Sector Report

The last three years have seen a rapid acceleration in technology-driven innovation, which has powered changes in existing rural finance models, enabled providers to develop new service delivery models, and facilitated the bundling of services in new ways. It has also brought a more diverse influx of service and capital providers, which has reshaped the…

Harnessing the power of mobile money to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

This report from GSMA brings together existing evidence to explore the ways in which mobile money is contributing to the digitalisation of finance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The insights presented here illustrate the potential of mobile money to help achieve the 2030 targets by driving sustainable and inclusive growth, and providing solutions…

Examining the financial regulation of consumer-facing fintech in India

The excitement around fintech in India is palpable. This enthusiasm can be attributed to fintech’s potential as a market-led solution to the policy objective of financial inclusion. Fintech can expand the reach of formal finance by offering users personalized financial products in an economically viable manner. Unsurprisingly then, regulation of fintech is central to financial…

An Analysis of Trends in Cost of Remittances Worldwide

This is the most recent report from the Remittance Prices Worldwide website. The September 2019 report analyses global, regional and country specific trends in the cost of international remittances.

Cybersecurity for Financial Inclusion: Framework & Risk Guide

This document provides key principles and best practices that will offer guidance to assist regulatory and supervisory authorities in devising tools for the financial sector to deal with cybersecurity risks. The Cybersecurity Guide is also useful for financial service providers to help them strengthen their cyber-risk management in the provision of financial services that target…

Strengthening Resilience Through Savings Groups

In July and August 2019, members of the United Nations Capital Development Fund visited more than 30 different savings groups in the North-Western region of Kigoma, Tanzania, in order to conduct a socio-economic health assessment and explore what are the best practices that are used by different groups in refugee camps and host communities. These…

Policy Model for E-Money

AFI network’s knowledge and experience in applying various e-Money policies and regulatory approaches have had a significant impact in advancing financial inclusion. It has helped create enabling environments for the deployment of innovative financial services by building resilience in the financial systems and protecting clients in this spectrum of electronic money services. The E-Money Policy…

Social Commerce Entrepreneurship and New Opportunities for Women’s Financial Inclusion in India and Indonesia

With support from Standard Chartered and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Women’s World Banking conducted research in India and Indonesia to investigate the potential of social commerce to advance women entrepreneurs’ financial inclusion.

Garment Workers Experience with Wage Digitization in Bangladesh

Microfinance Opportunities, in collaboration with the Social Performance Task Force, conducted research to understand the experiences of garment workers in Bangladesh whose employers changed from paying them in cash to paying them digitally, either into a bank or a mobile money account. The purpose of this research is to identify ways in which an awareness…

Gateway Guide to Digital Transformation of Microfinance Institutions

This Gateway Guide was written to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) on their pathway to digital transformation. It sums up the latest research and practical lessons, along with useful links and resources.  

Risk-based Customer Due Diligence

in the context of policies on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), advancing financial inclusion poses special challenges. Regulation must protect the integrity of financial systems and, at the same time, put the least burden on outreach to poor people and the unbanked. Achieving this balance requires a risk-based system of customer…

Unlocking Smallholder Insights for Financial Service Providers

Driving financial inclusion necessitates that we introduce changes in the very architecture of the financial sector of an economy, particularly with respect to outreach. This transformation requires as a first step, understanding the characteristics of the target segment, using extensive data collection, analysis and inference to help FSPs develop financial products suited to the former’s…

Making Digital Credit Truly Responsible: Insights from analysis of digital credit in Kenya

Seven years since the launch of the first digital credit offering in Kenya, this analysis from the Smart Campaign and microsave gives observations, insights and an understanding of digital credit and users in Kenya.

The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019

Agricultural transformation is a priority in the policy agenda of African governments in their quest to meet the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity, climate change, youth unemployment and overall economic growth. With the right policies, innovation and investment, the continent’s agriculture could be transformed into a powerhouse not only to feed a growing population…

Segmentation of Smallholder Households: Meeting the Range of Financial Needs in Agricultural Families

There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries. And, despite some improvement in their access to general financial services, relatively little progress has been made in financial services specific to their agricultural activities. This paper from CGAP examines the challenge of providing financial services that support the multiple goals of…

Payments Innovation: Finding Payments’ 2020 Hidden Value Today

This podcast from PYMENTS explores the trends and developments expected for 2020 and what disruptions are anticipated in the digital finance space.

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

This research paper by Robinson Mbae and Edmond Machengete explores the relationship of sports betting with digital credit, looking at how these have prevailed, the common consumer and amounts bet and borrowed. It also explores the role of regulation and education, and why its impact on financial inclusion and exclusion. You can also watch a recording…

Risk-Based Customer Due Diligence: Regulatory Approaches

Regulators face a challenge in balancing policies on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism against placing the least burden on outreach to the poor and unbanked. This Technical Note provides guidance on using risk-based approaches to customer due diligence (CDD), supported by examples drawn from around the world. There are three regulatory options for employing…

Deposit Insurance Treatment of E-Money: An Analysis of Policy Choices

The expansion of digital financial accounts among poor customers has raised the question of whether e-money should be covered by deposit insurance and if so, how. This Technical Note examines the options while arguing that deposit insurance should not be the first line of defense, for two primary reasons. In many emerging markets where authorities have limited resources,…

The Suptech Generations

Financial authorities’ use of technology has evolved over the years, leading to different generations of technology that culminate in what the paper by BIS, considers as suptech. Suptech refers to the application of big data or artificial intelligence (AI) to tools used by financial authorities. There are many ways of exploring suptech tools and these…

The Client Protection Principles

Responsible financial inclusion is being fully transparent in the pricing, terms and conditions of all financial products. Responsible financial inclusion is working with clients so they do not borrow more money than they can repay or use products that they do not need. Responsible financial inclusion employs respectful collection practices and adopts high ethical standards…

Consumer Protection Standards for Digital Credit

With an emerging consensus around the importance of responsible digital credit, demand is rising for a shared set of criteria to assess the practices of digital lenders. Investors and regulators want a way to evaluate consumer protection practices among the financial service providers they invest in or regulate. Digital financial service providers also want guidance to…

Handbook on Consumer Protection for Inclusive Finance

As digital technologies transform financial inclusion, with new providers, products, and delivery channels reaching out to the financially excluded, the need increases for effective legal and regulatory frameworks to protect low-income consumers. A sound legal framework for consumer financial protection will support financial inclusion and innovation, allow new products and services to responsibly reach previously…

The Value of Pre-Authorization Screening in the Payments Ecosystem of Today

Ekata’s e-book, The Value of Pre-Authorization Screening in the Payments Ecosystem of Today, highlights essential ways pre-authorization screening solves payment challenges. Learn not only about the difficulties in the transactions space, but how to create a layered identity verification approach that will solve PSD2 and fraud headaches.

Small Holder Families Data Hub

The CGAP Smallholder Families Data Hub provides interactive dashboards which give easy access to more than 300,000 data points on smallholder families’ financial lives, drawn from nationally representative household surveys across six countries: Bangladesh Côte d’Ivoire Mozambique Nigeria Tanzania Uganda

Global Microscope 2019: The Enabling Environment for Financial Inclusion

Regulators play a significant role in catalyzing or impeding a country’s progress toward financial inclusion. By evaluating five domains of the regulatory environments in 55 countries (i.e., government and policy support, stability and integrity, products and outlets, consumer protection and infrastructure), the Global Microscope identifies each country’s current policies and regulations and notes which are…

Digitizing Merchant Payments: Why and How

Digitizing merchant payments represents a major opportunity for financial services providers in developing economies because small retailers around the world accept trillions of dollars in cash payments every year. The value of the data generated by digitizing those transactions is considerable and could be an even more compelling incentive to pursue merchant payments than direct…

Investigating the Impact of Global Stablecoins

This report by BIS examines the challenges, risks and benefits that global stablecoins may pose.

Technology Convergence: IOT, Data and AI: What happens when these forces converge

This podcast explores developments in the industry relating to the Internet of Things, data, AI and Machine Learning. It discusses what is fiction and what is possible and what we should be looking for in the future.

Impact of Digital Finance on Financial Inclusion and Stability

This article provides a discussion on some issues associated with digital finance – an area which has not been critically addressed in the literature. Digital finance and financial inclusion has several benefits to financial services users, digital finance providers, governments and the economy; notwithstanding, a number of issues still persist which if addressed can make…

World FinTech Report 2019

The World FinTech Report 2019 from Capgemini and Efma explores how the future is moving to a shared marketplace where banks must think beyond open banking and transition to an impending phase called Open X. This is a shift from: Product to experience Ownership to shared access Assets to data Building/buying to partnerships

World Insurance Report 2019

As new risks are impacting the insurance landscape, the World Insurance Report 2019 from Capgemini and Efma explores the opportunity for insurers to develop new, technologically-advanced products to provide comprehensive risk coverage and better manage shifting customer expectations.

Capabilities in Digital Financial Services – Calming the Fears of Myanmar’s Unbanked

This paper from ONOW Myanmar covers the results from a six-month pilot which was conducted in early 2019 through our digital platform Build3, which utilizes chatbot technology. For the pilot, ONOW partnered with USAID, Visa Myanmar, Yoma Bank and Ayeyarwaddy Farmers Bank to reach more than 160,000 users. The paper covers the methodology and insights…

UNCDF Global Strategy: Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era

The past two decades have seen a phenomenal change in the adoption of mobile and digital technology in emerging markets. As a result, the sector predicts that the number of unique mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2025, equivalent to 71 percent of the world’s population; yet, a more significant opportunity lies in mobile…

Toward a New Impact Narrative for Financial Inclusion

How do financial services impact the lives of poor people? Though the global development community has debated this question for decades, we seem to be no closer to an answer today than we were when we started. A growing number of rigorous studies meant to clarify the impact debate have instead produced mixed — seemingly…

Resilience in Action

The Resilience in Action Series aims to bring development practitioners one step closer to bridging the gap between theory and practice for integrating a resilience lens in programming, answering questions such as: How does a resilience lens change the design of interventions in key sectors? How do we shift design and implementation of interventions to…

Financial Inclusion for what?

For Financial Inclusion Week 2019, CFI sought out a small group of financial inclusion thought leaders to comment and take a position on this year’s theme, “Financial Inclusion: For What?” CFI Director of Communications Virginia Moore sat down with Bobbi Gray (Grameen Foundation), Till Bruett (DAI), and Shivani Siroya (Tala) to discuss the theme and…

Pay, Set and Match! Payment services for SMEs

Banking Circle is committed to continually investigating where the current banking offering is failing businesses and providing real solutions that FinTechs and PSPs can offer to real businesses. As such, the banking infrastructure provider regularly carries out detailed research, which it shares with the industry to encourage conversation and collaboration to find solutions. The latest…

European Payments Predictions 2019

In this report by Clearhaus, nine industry experts share their experience and give insights into how payments in Europe will change and become more digitalised.

SME Financial Inclusion for Sustained Growth in the Middle East and Central Asia

This paper by the IMF offers empirical evidence that greater financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can promote higher economic growth and employment, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. Firstly the report shows that countries with higher SME financial inclusion exhibit more effective monetary policy transmission and tax collection. Secondly,…

The Rise of Digital Money

This paper from IMF marks the launch of a new IMF series, Fintech Notes. Building on years of IMF staff work, it will explore pressing topics in the digital economy and be issued periodically. The series will carry work by IMF staff and will seek to provide insight into the intersection of technology and the…

Sustainable finance in emerging markets and the role of securities regulators

During the past several years, market participants, regulators and policy makers have increasingly focused their attention on issues concerning sustainable finance in its many forms. These issues are particularly relevant for growth and emerging markets as they seek to develop capital markets in their jurisdictions. Accordingly, in late 2017, IOSCO’s Growth and Emerging Markets Committee…

FinTech in Financial Inclusion: Machine Learning Applications in Assessing Credit Risk

Recent advances in digital technology and big data have allowed FinTech (financial technology) lending to emerge as a potentially promising solution to reduce the cost of credit and increase financial inclusion. However, machine learning (ML) methods that lie at the heart of FinTech credit have remained largely a black box for the nontechnical audience. This…

The end of cash: Why, when and how to flick the switch

Will the 21st century see the rise of a cashless society? The introduction of credit cards, digital wallets and cryptocurrencies have led experts over the past decade to speculate on the progressive demise of physical money, with stakeholders such as banks, consumers and governments seemingly gaining from the change. If the world went cashless tomorrow,…

FinTechs in Sub-Saharan Africa

FinTechs in Europe, North America and Asia have caught the attention of many financial institutions and investors in recent years: the trends and effects of FinTechs in these markets have consequently been thoroughly analyzed. This report from EY aims to shed light on a market that exhibits tremendous potential for FinTech investments, but which has…

World Payments Report 2019

The World Payments Report 2019 from Capgemini is the leading source for data, trends and insights on global and regional non-cash payments, the key regulatory and industry initiatives (KRIIs), and today’s dynamic payments environment. This 15th edition analyzes the digital transformation across the global payments market as new market participants like BigTechs, emerging technologies, and…

World InsurTech Report 2019

World InsurTech Report 2019 The World InsurTech Report (WITR) 2019 from Capgemini and Efma explores the Insurance marketplace of the future and offers insights into how established insurers and InsurTechs can remain competitive in a dynamic business environment.

State of practice: Savings groups and the role of government in sub-Saharan Africa

In recent years, governments across sub-Saharan Africa have deepened their engagement with savings groups, recognising the potential of the community-based microfinance model to contribute to national development agendas. This report, based on an extensive desk review and interviews with 46 government representatives from 22 countries, identifies and describes 74 government initiatives related to policies, regulation…

10 Lessons Learnt: Closing the Gender Gap in Internet Access and Use

The internet has made communication quicker and easier, information more easily available, businesses more efficient, and education, entertainment and public services more accessible than ever before. According to the ITU, more than half of the world’s population is now connected to the internet. Internet connectivity is not, however, equitable and the gender gap persists. For…

e-Estonia – an advanced digital society

Named ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’ by Wired, ingenious Estonians are pathfinders, who have built an efficient, secure and transparent ecosystem that saves time and money. e-Estonia invites you to follow the digital journey. The website provides information and solutions they have implemented and their impact.

Regulating for responsible data innovation: the role of insurance regulators in dealing with risks relating to consumer data protection and privacy

Data innovation is challenging the traditional role of insurance regulators. Two major dilemmas emerge that insurance regulators and indeed all financial sector regulators face when confronted with how to regulate consumer data: 1. They must tread the balance to achieve positive consumer outcomes, by both enabling data-driven innovation but still protecting consumers from the risks…

Java, Python or Kotlin for Fintech?

There are many different development languages being used by Fintechs. This blog post explores the differences between Java and Python, and their application within digital finance. This second article advocates more for python for Fintechs. This third article explores the advantages of Kotlin for mobile applications and apps.

AgriPay – the Zanaco Farmers’ Account

AgriFin is leveraging the power, convenience, and prevalence of mobile phones to help smallholder farmers boost their harvests and incomes. AgriFin employs a market facilitation model to drive scalable, commercial product innovation for SHF with agricultural ecosystem partners who include mobile network operators, financial institutions, service providers, farmer networks, technology innovators, agriculture value chain players,…

Geodata for Inclusive Finance: Data Privacy Study

This report contains key issues identified regarding the collection, storage, use, and sharing of client geodata with a focus on best practices, challenges, as well as arising open questions.

Building Resilience through Financial Inclusion: A Review of Existing Evidence and Knowledge Gaps

Low-income households around the world are particularly vulnerable to shocks, but also the least prepared when a shock hits. The effects of climate change, including floods, droughts, and other weather-related disasters, are adding another layer of risk for already vulnerable households. In this context, it is increasingly important that poor households build resilience—that they strengthen…

Inching closer to understanding the digital finance impact question

Thee third edition of the Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM) has been launched by the FiDA Partnership . While the first edition contained 40 studies, two years on the EGM has almost doubled . Each year, as studies amass, we inch closer to understanding the impact of various digital finance products on low-income users. The updated…

A Client Needs-Centred Approach to Financial Inclusion Measurement

Much progress has been made towards measuring the success of financial inclusion. Since the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Financial Inclusion Data (FID) Working Group was created, it has established a core set of financial inclusion indicators to standardize how access and usage of financial services are measured. As well as creating a common framework for measuring and using data to inform policymaking, FID also provides a…

Exploring Africa’s digital platforms: Insurance in e-hailing

In recent years the platform economy has rapidly transformed various economic sectors such as hospitality, ecommerce and transportation. One of the most important subsectors of the platform economy is e-hailing. E-hailing platforms connect passengers and drivers of cars, taxis or any other form of transportation using virtual devices such as a computer or mobile device.…

Regulating for innovation: an evolving framework

This focus note from Cenfri aims to equip regulators with a decision framework that illustrates the available tools required to regulate for innovation. Digital innovation is changing the nature of financial markets. Innovation can create opportunities, enhance efficiencies, increase competition, drive scale, and improve the reach and value of financial products and services to consumers.…

The Role of Digital Identification in Agriculture : Emerging Applications

Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty. Agriculture accounts for nearly one-third of global gross domestic product (GDP), and the majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas and make a living through agriculture. To end extreme poverty by 2030, most of the income gains will need to…

Privacy by Design : Current Practices in Estonia, India, and Austria

Digital identification systems, integrated with civil registration, can play a transformational role across many development areas, such as financial inclusion, expanding access to services and social safety nets, and effective humanitarian response. But while the opportunity is great, so are the risks. One set of risks results from collecting, using, and managing personal data, which…

Advancing Financial Inclusion through Digital ID

In Peru, a public–private initiative uses the country’s national ID system to verify users of a cellphone money platform – allowing small traders to do business simply, securely and without cash. In this case study you will meet Maria – she’s a small business owner who was initially hesitant in signing up to Peru’s e-wallet app, BIM.…

How To: Create Digital ID for Inclusive Development

 This guide from USAID explores the intersections between development programmes and broader ID systems. Targeted at development practitioners – including donors, programme managers, and monitoring and evaluation specialists – this report from USAID explores the intersections between ID systems and development aims. In the first section of the report, the authors highlight the impact of…

Insurtech Tracker

In light of the insurtech trends, Cenfri wanted to understand to what extent insurtechs in emerging markets are able to better serve the customer and provide more value to both the insurer and the end-user The initial work considered insurtech in microinsurance, types of insurtechs which are prevalent in emerging markets and the challenges they were…

Legal and regulatory frameworks of blockchains and smart contracts

This paper examines the intersection of blockchain and the law. Our analysis begins with an overview of legal issues as they pertain to blockchain technology per se, and in particular issues that arise due to the decentralised nature of many blockchain-based platforms. We follow this with a look at the legal implications of different kinds of smart contracts. These include smart…

Blockchain and Digital Identity

There are few things more central to a functioning society and economy than identity. Without a way to identify each other and our possessions we would hardly be able to build large nations or create global markets. Unfortunately, there are persistent – and increasingly serious – problems with the way digital identity works. For historical and other reasons, the digital…

The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019

Agricultural transformation is a priority in the policy agenda of African governments in their quest to meet the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity, climate change, youth unemployment and overall economic growth. With the right policies, innovation and investment, the continent’s agriculture could be transformed into a powerhouse not only to feed a growing population…

Improving Distribution of Digital Financial Services in Rural Areas

UNCDF Senegal is supporting the fintech InTouch in an agent network expansion project to address the low penetration of digital financial services in rural areas of Senegal. The project which is one of UNCDF intervention strategies in Senegal, intends to promote prototypes that demonstrate the existing opportunities for digital finance in the country. Through an…

Blockchain 101: What Is It and How Can It Empower Women? – Webinar

The promise — and potential — of blockchain to drive social impact is massive. From financial services, through supply chains, land and identity registries, blockchain is set to become the next transformative technology in development and humanitarian relief. Some of the initial blockchain use cases also showcase potential for how it can drive women’s economic empowerment – by enabling…

Mitigating Women’s Safety Concerns with Mobile: A Case Study of Vodafone Idea’s Sakhi service

In October 2018, Vodafone Idea Ltd launched Sakhi, a service to address key barriers women face to accessing and using mobile in India, as well as women’s concerns about personal safety – both the safety issues and threats that may arise from owning a mobile and general safety concerns that women experience that mobile could help…

Hidden Constraints to Digital Financial Inclusion: The Oral-Literate Divide

The vision that digital finance can achieve universal financial inclusion is premised on the rarely questioned assumption that the world is rapidly moving towards universal literacy and numeracy. In fact, text and arithmetic notation shape the relationship between formal finance and about a billion of the world’s poorest adults. This ‘oral’ population, stranded outside the…

Inclusive Fintech 50: White Paper on findings

Fintech investment is booming. In 2018, a record USD 111.8 billion was invested in fintech, and the sector garnered extensive media coverage and interest. But despite fintech’s growing profile—and even though it can help unlock trillions of dollars in value by reaching financially underserved households and businesses—fintech solutions have yet to reach the majority of…

Keeping Machine Learning Honest! The Need for the Truthalizer

Machine learning (ML) provides institutions with predictive analytics that leverage large amounts of both historical and continually-generated data to obtain actionable insights. These insights, in turn, allow institutions to design and deploy interventions to increase revenue, lower costs, and compete in a dynamic marketplace by providing more customer-centric products and services. However, few understand or…

Integrating Gender in Research Planning

Research can open doors for more gender equitable futures. Gender analysis is built on an understanding of the differences and inequalities in the interrelated lives of women, men, and members of other gender diverse groups, often shaped by unequal power relations and norms that dictate what roles, attitudes and behaviours are considered normal or appropriate.…

The Goalkeepers Report 2019: Examining inequality and how geography and gender stack the deck for (or against) you

Goalkeepers is the annual report from the Gates Foundation on the world’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 17 ambitious goals the member states of the United Nations committed to reaching by 2030, yet many of these projects are going to miss the targets that were agreed. Inequality due to both geography and gender…

Data Driving Action for Women Dialogue Series

During the 63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, BNY Mellon and Data2X’s Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) partnership, including the Global Banking Alliance for Women, convened senior representatives from global financial institutions for a dialogue on a central question: how can financial institutions best serve women clients, and how can data guide these efforts? The roundtable discussion generated thoughtful insights and concrete examples…

Policy framework for women’s financial inclusion using digital financial services

This framework from afi provides guidance to regulators and policymakers of the AFI network and beyond, in leveraging DFS to advance women’s financial inclusion. The policy framework is a result of in-depth secondary research and extensive consultation with AFI member countries, stakeholders (including various regulators across the globe), key bilateral and multilateral bodies, research agencies…

FinTech for Financial Inclusion: A Framework for Digital Financial Transformation

The full potential of FinTech for financial inclusion may be realized with a strategic framework of underlying infrastructure and an enabling policy and regulatory environment to support digital financial transformation. Drawing from experiences in a range of developing, emerging and developed countries, this research from afi suggests that the best approach is staged and progressive,…

How Open APIs Fueled the Growth of Eko in India

When Indian money transfer company Eko decided to open APIs back in 2016, the company was concentrated in just two cities. Today, thanks to open APIs, it originates transactions across India and processes over $300 million per month. In this video, co-founder Abhinav Sinha describes the role that APIs have played in the business’s growth…

Digital Economy Report 2019

The rapid spread of digital technologies is transforming many economic and social activities. While creating many new opportunities, widening digital divides threaten to leave developing countries, and especially least developed countries, further behind. A smart embrace of new technologies, enhanced partnerships and greater intellectual leadership are needed to redefine digital development strategies and the future…

Did you see my tweet? Monitoring financial consumer protection via social media

Social media is changing customer service by shifting the ways in which consumers seek resolution of problems and the channels that firms make available to consumers. The ability for consumers to directly, instantly, and publicly praise or chastise the service of a firm has led to increased accountability and new ways to remotely resolve customer…

Accelerating Financial Inclusion with New Data

There are many internal and external challenges that providers must address for the promise of new data to be fully realized. From getting the right culture and technical talent in place to engaging with regulators and partners on data sharing and management, there are numerous obstacles to negotiate in capitalizing on the explosion of new…

Responsible Digital Credit

This report from Centre for Financial Inclusion outlines the digital credit landscape and the risks customers face, and examines the best practices, standards and initiatives that exist or should be implemented to improve consumer protection in digital lending. Ultimately it will take a village to ensure that digital credit clients are protected—including governments, regulators, industry players,…

Fintech founders up close

This series of videos from Accion gives an insight into the mind and experience of Fintech founders. They share their reasons and experiences with starting up their companies.

The Future of G2P Payments: Expanding Customer Choice

Many low-income country governments have begun to digitize government-to-person (G2P) payments by making electronic transfers directly into the accounts of individual customers. While digitization has helped to fill the gaps in delivery, further advances are needed. Building modern payments systems can: Improve the customer experience by allowing customers to choose which providers and accounts they…

Cloud Computing for Financial Inclusion: Lessons from the Philippines

Earlier this year, Cantilan Bank became the first financial institution in the Philippines to fully leverage cloud computing technology. After an 18-month pilot the rural bank transferred its core banking services and data onto a community cloud service.  This milestone was the result of a cautious but forward-looking application of the Central Bank’s “test-and-learn” approach…

Making digital credit truly responsible- Insights from analysis of digital credit in Kenya

Digital credit is instant, automated, and remote, providing borrowers with quick access to short-term loans. The relative ease with which providers can reach the mass market has profound implications for the future of financial services. The potential for financial inclusion is unprecedented. However, it is up to all financial sector stakeholders to ensure that digital…

Lessons learned from the rise of “super apps” and the disruption of banking as we know it

Why would a user go to a bank when ecommerce marketplaces exist? Haven’t ecommerce players perfected the art of predicting and serving users’ purchase needs? Are banks too late to the Super app game, or possibly in the wrong game altogether? The Innovation & Design group at Visa, found these questions intriguing and they looked into some of…

Principles for Digital Payments in Humanitarian Response

Cash transfers in humanitarian response can be leveraged to prioritize emergency needs first and, at the same time, build a bridge towards sustainable development goals including economic, social, and financial inclusion. When cash is transferred through digital payment mechanisms — one of many options available for delivery of cash in humanitarian assistance – this potentially…

Suptech Applications for Anti-money Laundering

Suptech, or the use by financial authorities of data collection or advanced data analytics tools enabled by innovative technologies, seems more advanced in the field of anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT). In particular, AML/CFT authorities need suptech-enabled advanced data analytics tools to analyse large volumes of information at their disposal.…

Gender Self-Assessment Toolkit for Financial Service Providers

With support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), UNCDF has been working to address system-wide constraints to women’s financial inclusion through working with financial services providers (FSPs) in ASEAN. To this end, UNCDF developed a toolkit composed of an institutional gender self-assessment tool (GSAT) and a standardised process with facilitator guides to…

Beyond KYC Utilities: Collaborative Customer Due Diligence

The private and public sectors are increasingly leveraging new technologies to deliver collaborative approaches for financial service providers (FSPs) to meet customer due diligence (CDD) requirements. These include sharing data and elements of compliance functions on a level that was previously unthinkable. By pooling resources, these collaborative approaches have the potential to lower CDD costs…

Beyond KYC Utilities: Collaborative Customer Due Dilligence

The private and public sectors are increasingly leveraging new technologies to deliver collaborative approaches for financial service providers (FSPs) to meet customer due diligence (CDD) requirements. These include sharing data and elements of compliance functions on a level that was previously unthinkable. By pooling resources, these collaborative approaches have the potential to lower CDD costs…

Taxing mobile phone transactions in Africa Lessons from Kenya

The taxation on mobile phone-based transactions and on airtime has been introduced in Kenya and is spreading to other African countries. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa view mobile phones as a booming sub-sector easy to tax due to the increasing turnover of transactions and the formal nature of such transactions by both formal and informal enterprises. The increasing…

Blockchain: Cutting through the noise

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), often referred to as blockchain, has garnered a lot of attention in the past few years. Is it just “a solution in search of a problem” or, does it offer answers for real-world policy questions such as digital identity and remittances? This six-blog series, from The Better Than Cash Alliance, aims…

The role of privacy frameworks in building trust for digital identity services

With an estimated 1 billion people worldwide who lack an official proof of identity, mainly underserved populations located across Africa and Asia, the risk of exclusion from increasingly digital economies remains high as the ability to digitally prove one’s identity is typically core to most online transactions. In addition to being able to prove one’s…

Profiting from Parity : Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Business in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world, with approximately 42 percent of the non-agricultural labor force classified as self-employed or employers. Yet most entrepreneurs are unable to grow their businesses beyond small-scale subsistence operations, impeding their contribution to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. This is particularly so for women. This new…

Inclusive Finance? Headline Findings from FinAccess 2019

Kenya aims to become a middle-income country by 2030, delivering a high quality of life to all. Finance plays a central role in the economy, facilitating trade and underpinning the efficient pooling and allocation of resources and risk. From the perspective of the individual, financial tools can contribute directly to better managing household resources, cushioning…

Reach, Benefit and Empower Women with Financial Services

This paper, showcases the importance of appropriate financial services for women to increase female entrepreneurship in agriculture and to secure the highly necessary agricultural growth. We aim to encourage the NpM members (inclusive finance investors) and other professionals working in the financial sector to ensure that women are reached by financial services, but also to…

Inclusive Digital Financial Services: A Reference Guide for Regulators

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor Program (FSP) believes that effective financial services are paramount in the fight against poverty. Nonetheless, today more than 1.7 billion people live outside the formal financial sector. Increasing their access to high quality, affordable financial services will accelerate the well-being of households, communities, and economies in…

Economic Identities for Small Business Owners: Insights from Nigeria

Recent end-user research conducted by the GSMA Digital Identity programme highlighted that informal business owners in Nigeria – many of which are women – often struggle to demonstrate their personal and business credentials to service providers and customers. As a result, they often lack access to market information and support, pay more for financial services…

Price Comparison Websites

The large and growing industry of price comparison websites (PCWs) or ‘web aggregators’ is poised to benefit consumers by increasing competitive pricing pressure on firms by acquainting shoppers with more prices. However, these sites also charge firms for sales, which feeds back to raise prices. This report investigates the impact of introducing PCWs to a…

Cybersecurity Guideline for Payment Service Providers

The Cental Bank of Kenya has developed a Cybersecurity Guideline for Payment Service Providers (PSPs). The objective is to create a safer and more secure cyberspace that underpins information system security priorities, to promote stability of the Kenyan payment system sub-sector. The Guideline sets the minimum standards that PSPs are required to adopt in order…

Inclusive Digital Financial Services: A Reference Guide for Regulators

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor Program (FSP) believes that effective financial services are paramount in the fight against poverty. Nonetheless, today more than 1.7 billion people live outside the formal financial sector. Increasing their access to high quality, affordable financial services will accelerate the well-being of households, communities, and economies in…

Endline Evaluation: AgriFin Mobile

Agri-Fin Mobile was a six-year, multi-country programme that partnered with key, local private actors to derive business models that delivered bundled agriculture and financial services to smallholder farmers. These services were intended to leverage both existing and emerging digital technologies and mobile networks to attempt to maximize impact and scale. Mercy Corps, with funding from…

REPOA: Mobile Phone Ownership and DFS in Tanzania

While mobile phone access is a strong influencer of digital financial services amongst women, barriers to usage are often less clear. In Tanzania, REPOA undertook an RCT with 1350 women, to study women’s uptake of Digital Financial Services beyond basic and smart phone ownership. This significant research offered several findings around the factors that influence usage of DFS, including the role…

Data Analytics and Digital Financial Service – Handbook

The Data Analytics and Digital Financial Services Handbook gives financial service providers an overview of the potential that data and data analytics present for financial inclusion in terms of improving efficiency of operations and effectiveness of product development and marketing, as well as increase outreach through innovative data-driven lending methods. The handbook is intended to…

A New Banking Model For Africa: Lessons on digitization from four years of operations

From 2014 to 2018, IFC and the Mastercard Foundation conducted a longitudinal study with nine partner financial institutions (FIs) in seven Sub-Saharan African countries to understand if Digital Financial Services are a viable strategy for these institutions to expand financial access. More precisely, the study explains the strategic objectives of the institutions and describes how they planned and implemented their DFS rollouts.…

Micro-entrepreneurs in the Platform Era

This research by FiDA involved talked to 27 micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya about how they use platforms (from social media sites to e-commerce marketplaces and online freelancing websites) in their day-to-day business. The platform practices these conversations revealed include: the prevalence of social media use, the intermingling of online and offline worlds, the adjustments made to tweak online credibility, and the unique approaches…

Innovative and Sustainable Data Collection

This blog post from Insight2Impact summarises the potential of using SMS for surveys and further information and ideas are discussed in the accompanying report Innovative and Sustainable Data Collection which describes the results of their pre-pilot of using mobiles for data collection.

Credit Scoring in Financial Inclusion

Statistical models can help lenders in emerging markets standardize and improve their lending decisions. These models define customer scoring based on a statistical analysis of past borrowers’ characteristics instead of relying on the subjective judgments of loan officers. Evidence shows that statistical models improve the accuracy of credit decisions and make lending more cost-efficient. They…

Emerging Evidence on Financial Inclusion

Research on the impact of financial services on the lives of low-income people provides valuable insights. However, these studies tend to focus on microcredit or a single financial product, such as savings or mobile money. As a result, an overly simplistic and product-focused story has emerged. Recognizing the need for a more nuanced and clearer…

Digital Identity Series

DAI produced a Digital Identity Series, which gives and overview of Digital ID. Connect to each part of the series below: Digital Identity Series Part 3: Barriers to Inclusion for All Digital Identity Series Part 2: Digital Identity and Politics Digital Identity Series Part 1: Digital Identity and Informed Consent

The Digital Lives of Refugees

This research produced by GSMA with UNHCR, looks at the ways in which refugees are using mobile phones to help guide digital interventions by humanitarian organisations and mobile network operators.  This research explores the ways in which mobile technology can improve access to financial services, utilities (notably energy) and identity services, as well as information…

Displaced and Disconnected

UNHCR recognizes that one of the ‘hard stops’ in facilitating mobile connectivity and access to finance for displaced populations is non-conducive regulatory environments. In particular, ID-related legal requirements have proven a significant barrier to access. For example, a refugee who cannot legally activate a mobile connection, open a bank account or access a mobile money…

Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) & Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Risk Management in Emerging Market Banks

For banks in emerging markets, the regulatory landscape is more complicated than ever. Rules  designed to fight money laundering and root out terror finance have made the financial system safer  and more resilient but have also increased the cost and complexity of doing business in developing countries—with negative consequences for cross-border trade and the networks…

FinTech: The Experience So Far

The Bali Fintech Agenda (BFA) was approved last year by the IMF and World Bank Group. It lays out key issues to consider in how technological innovation is changing the provision of financial services with implications for economic efficiency and growth, financial stability, inclusion, and integrity. In approving the BFA, IMF Executive Directors asked staff to review fintech developments and…

A Gender-Inclusive Southeast Asia through Entrepreneurship

This report, commissioned by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), and developed by Dalberg Advisors, looks at changing the lives of women through entrepreneurship. While many development indicators demonstrate that the lives of women in Southeast Asia have improved drastically, endemic problems continue to keep women from fulfilling their potential. Over 70% of women remain employed in the informal sector, one…

Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa

This report prepared at the request of the G7 French Presidency, is a blueprint for closing that gap of 400 million and creating a world that is both more prosperous and more equal for everyone. This year, the French Presidency of the G7 chose a theme based on a big, bold, important idea: fighting inequality. Like most ideas, though, it…

E-commerce as a Potential New Engine for Growth in Asia

The use of e-commerce around the world has accelerated in recent years, with Asia, led by China, spearheading the rise. Using cross-country enterprise survey data, this paper from the IMF shows that firms engaged in e-commerce have higher productivity and generate a larger share of their revenues from exports than other firms. This is particularly…

Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services

Very few technologies have captured the popular imagination like Artificial Intelligence (AI). It has become a key feature in science fiction movies and news stories about technology. But beyond the hype, organisations are looking at how it can transform their businesses, drive efficiencies and help them to serve customers better. This report from UK Finance explores…

Operations assessment and impact evaluation of Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH)

Microsave Consulting did an impact evaluation of the PKH conditional cash transfer program, one of the largest social assistance programs in Indonesia and managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs which has been operational since 2007. The objective of the study was to give a snapshot of the implementation of the program and to evaluate the…

API Pricing for Digital Financial Service Providers: Getting Started

Digital financial services (DFS) providers face several challenges when developing pricing strategies for open application programming interfaces (APIs). They must balance their own business objectives, including the need to achieve a return on investment, with the needs of API consumers to experiment and learn as they build and grow their businesses. This guide from CGAP aims to help…

Leveraging Technologies to Improve the Quality and Maximize the Productivity of Agent Models

Despite the growing volume of agents, the agent network model is rife with utilization and operational challenges. This brief from CFI examines the role of technological innovation as a potential driver for improving the quality and maximizing the productivity of agent models. Despite the growing volume of agents, the agent network model is rife with…

How we can save (for) our future

The challenges to provide ageing populations with a financially secure retirement are well known. Recent trends in retirement system design and changing workforce dynamics mean individuals are taking more responsibility and risk to achieve adequate incomes in retirement. At the same time, many individuals do not have easy access to retirement savings vehicles. Society must ensure retirement systems are…

The Rise of Digital Money

This paper by the IMF offers a conceptual framework to categorize new digital monies, identify some of their risks, think through the implications, and offer some policy options for central banks to consider. The focus is mostly on the interplay between new forms of money and the banking sector; thus on financial stability and consumer protection. Other risks and implications—touching on financial…

EY Global Fintech Adoption Index 2019

FinTech has evolved in significant ways since the publication of the first global EY FinTech Adoption Index in 2015. That year EY observed that FinTech, while nascent, was “clearly more than just hype.” The next report, in 2017, found that the industry had grown rapidly and had “achieved initial mass adoption. This 2019 EY Global Fintech Adoption Index reviews interviews…

The Role of Digital Financial Inclusion in Preparing for Older Age and Retirement

As populations age and birth rates decline in many parts of the world, digital solutions have an important role to play in ensuring financial well-being for older adults. Globally, the number of people aged 60 years or over has more than doubled since 1980, and the share of older adults is projected to double again…

Financial Journey of Refugees

The Financial Journey of Refugees project, led by Roxani Krystalli and Kim Wilson, investigates what money and financial transactions can reveal about the journeys and experiences of forced migration. It examines money as a key node of the displacement experience: fueling transactions among formal and informal actors along the way; determining livelihood options; shaping or…

Omidyar Network Unpacks Good ID

To be truly empowering, Omidyar Network believes digital forms of identification must embed privacy, inclusion, user value and control, and security. Public and private ID issuers should also build trust through transparency and accountability. Good ID is our normative framing for any digital identity system that prioritizes individual empowerment while ensuring adequate safeguards. We envision the Good ID frame to be inclusive…

Five Principles for Building Women’s Capacity for Digital Financial Services

The digitalisation of G2P payments could financially include millions more women, however, many women do not use their accounts and cash out immediately upon receipt of funds. While there are several supply-side factors affecting women’s full participation (poorly designed products, lack of choice, etc.), one of the more common hypotheses is that women lack the knowledge and skills to…

E-commerce in Agriculture: New Business Models for Smallholders’ Inclusion into the Formal Economy

Selling produce through online channels enables farmers to bypass intermediaries, leading to improved income for the farmers, reduced wastage and fresher produce for customers. These benefits are particularly important in developing economies, where more than 97% of people employed in agriculture live and where the sector’s contribution to GDP is in double digits. Mobile operators…

Smallholder Households: Distinct Segments, Different Needs

The 500 million smallholder households worldwide are ready for targeted innovation and solutions, but they are a diverse group. To design and deliver high-value services, financial services providers, government bodies, and agricultural development partners should distinguish among Subsisting, Commercializing, and Diversifying smallholder households. These three segments differ according to their crop and livestock sales, amount…

Telesom ZAAD: Pushing the mobile money CVA frontier

This case study by the GSMA reveals the promise of mobile money-enabled cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programmes in Somaliland. It documents the innovative steps that ZAAD and humanitarian organisations have already taken to meet the needs of beneficiaries, and highlights the challenges mobile money providers (MMPs) and humanitarian organisations must overcome to scale further and…

Sex-Disaggregated Data Toolkit: How to Leverage Sex-Disaggregated Financial Inclusion Data to Accelerate Women’s Financial Inclusion

This AFI Financial Inclusion Data (FID) Working Group Guideline Note outlines steps to using supply and demand side sex-disaggregated data to close the financial inclusion gender gap based on the experience of AFI Member institutions in a range of countries including: Bangladesh, Burundi, Costa Rica, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Malaysia, Morocco, Rwanda, Samoa,…

Libra – A New Digital Currency

Libra brings together a number of global organisations including Facebook, Visa, Mastercard, Uber, Women’s World Banking and Mercy Corps who together are launching a new global currency. The Libra mission is: “A simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.” Its aim is to “Reinvent money. Transform the global economy. So people everywhere…

Central Bank Digital Currency and Financial Inclusion

Central banks have started to actively explore central bank digital currency (CBDC) – a new digital form of legal tender that mimics cash. The first note on this by Cenfri showed there are both potential benefits and risks to this. Benefits could include: enhance the efficiency of national payment systems ease the convenience of payment processes…

Data in FSP Decision Making. Findings From Six African Countries.

Insight2Impact partnered with FSD Africa and Oxford Policy Management, and they conducted an online survey which identified ways Financial Service Providers (FSPs) collect, store and use data. 333 companies from six countries (Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) replied to the survey. The data was analysed into different types of FSPs (such as banks, MFI,…

DigiFarm: A Digital Platform for Farmers

M-PESA has achieved great uptake within Kenya and is including more people financially. Safaricom and Mercy Corps’AgriFin Accelerate program came together to explore how the M-PESA platform can be used to transform agriculture within the country, which employs 75% of the workforce and provides 30% of the country’s GDP. There are over 7 million smallholder…

Making digital credit truly responsible

This video from Microsave gives a brief highlight of what we have learned so far about digital credit in Kenya over the last 7 years.

Can Social Norms Theory Provide a Roadmap for Women’s Financial Inclusion?

With one in every three women still being financially excluded, there is increased recognition of the role that gendered social norms play in limiting economic opportunities for women. Social Norms shape women’s access to and control over resources and consequently their ability to access financial products and services. While a lot of attention has been…

Digital identity opportunities for women: Insights from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Rwanda

Drawing on in-country qualitative research, this study from the GSMA explores the specific incentives, challenges, preferences and benefits that women and girls will encounter, compared to men, when engaging with digital identity systems or services. It identifies how both men and women navigate day-to-day identity-related pain points, as well as the short- and long-term incentives…

Bangladesh: The Impact of Wage Digitalisation

This study measured the impact of wage digitization on the uptake of mobile money by neighborhood residents and merchants. The difference-in-differences method was used to measure change between the digitized and non-digitized neighborhoods between baseline and endline surveys. The study provides detailed information on the population of each factory neighborhood, including RMG workers whose wages…

Report of the High Level Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments

This report is based on the findings of the Reserve Bank of India committee, called to review the status of digitization of payments, identify gaps in the ecosystem, and suggest ways of plugging them. It was tasked to suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening digital payments and measures to strengthen safety and security.

How digitized supply chain finance can help small merchants grow

This guide has been developed by Accion for institutions interested in developing a supply chain finance solution (CSF). SCF is the use of financing mechanisms that can optimize the management of liquidity tied up in supply chain processes. SCF solutions have long been offered by big banks to large corporations, such as fast moving consumer…

150 Financial Definitions in 8 Languages

This website explains and translates 150 financial terms into the following languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hindi, Chinese, Swahili and Arabic.

Mobile Money Glossary

This glossary by GSMA provides definitions for common mobile money industry terminology in English, French and Spanish

Financial Inclusion Glossary

The purpose of the Financial Inclusion Glossary is to develop shared language about financial inclusion. The Glossary defines terms essential for extending financial services to all who can use them.

Charting the Customer Journey in the Digital Age

This report by CFI looks at how mainstream financial institutions are creating effective digital customer journeys for underserved clients. It explores the three primary phases involved in digital transformation and provide examples of how innovative financial institutions are addressing its challenges with creative solutions for emerging customers. The report includes helpful case cases studies from…

National Payments Corporation of India and the Remaking of Payments in India

The lessons learned from the NPCI success story can be useful for policy makers in financial inclusion and other markets. Some factors illustrated in the NPCI story include: An industry-led approach to ownership and governance, with strong regulator backing. Competitive economics through a utility model, mixed with smart growth and a start-up culture. A strategy of incremental,…

OECD/INFE High-level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education

Within a fast evolving financial landscape where access to financial services is made easier while more risks are being transferred to citizens, financial literacy has become a key life skill for individuals as well as micro and small businesses. Financial education can help enhance financial literacy by increasing financial knowledge, skills and attitudes. In turn,…

G20/OECD Policy Guidance Financial Consumer Protection Approaches in the Digital Age

Given the increasingly digital environment for financial products and services and the potential for digitalisation to support greater financial inclusion and inclusive growth, the need for effective financial consumer protection is more important than ever. It is equally important that the policies and approaches developed and adopted by financial consumer protection authorities need to evolve and adapt in…

Fintechs and Financial Inclusion

Fintechs are innovating at every step of the financial services value chain, often through new value propositions, including flexible products and better ways to address the financial challenges faced by low-income customers. They are making financial services more affordable and accessible. They are improving the customer experience of financial services and accelerating use and engagement.…

We Need to Talk About Credit

In the past five years, we have seen a lot of change in how credit markets are developing, not least because of the rapid growth in digital credit associated with mobile financial services. But how much do we actually know about digital credit? And how does it relate to other types of credit in the…

Global Outreach and Financial Performance Benchmark Report 2017-2018

The journey of delivering affordable financial services in emerging markets has evolved over the years. Specifically, FY 2017 presented new opportunities to achieve financial inclusion goals while there were also challenges that were overcome. At the end of FY 2017, 762 financial service providers (FSPs) submitted outreach and financial performance data to MIX Market. Year-over-year…

Staying Ahead of Cyber Crime

Greater organisational collaboration across the financial services sector, working alongside law enforcement and Government agencies, will be the key means of putting cyber criminals out of business according to the latest report from UK Finance and KPMG. The report, “Staying Ahead of Cyber crime”  discusses how greater cooperation both within businesses and between firms, law enforcement…

Microfinance Institutions: Prospects for B2B FinTechs?

This well researched blog post by Mondato summaries the evolution and future for microfinance and the challenges faced as their reach extends further to those at the base of the economic pyramid. The blog touches on the study by IFC and Mastercard Foundation which identified a priority framework for digitalisation of MFIs and discusses the challenges and…

Women’s Empowerment and Savings Groups: What do we know?

The SEEP Network examined the pathways between Savings Groups and women’s empowerment and how how women’s empowerment outcomes can be enhanced and better sustained through Savings Groups. This research was completed through a comprehensive literature review, analysing data from four large programs in East Africa, and research in Ethiopia and Tanzania. It focused on the the relationship between…

Inclusive Digital Ecosystems of the Future

In this white paper, Inclusive Digital Ecosystems of the Future, by FIBR (partnership between BFA and Mastercard Foundation), the likely effects of the rise of digital superplatforms on the digital finance ecosystem is discussed. This paper describes and explores the phenomenon from different angles in order to explore potential implications for Africa in particular and generally…

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. Realizing that inadequate access to and usage of financial services limits opportunities to start and grow a business, create jobs and gain access to inputs, equipment, skills and knowledge, the Central Bank…

Handbooks for use of mobile money enabled cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programmes

Billions of dollars in humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programmes are currently delivered annually, and the humanitarian sector predicts this rapid growth will continue. Much of this assistance is delivered through digital channels, such as mobile money. Mobile money is one of the most prolific financial systems in developing countries and is, where available, the most viable option…

Behavioural Interventions that Advance Financial Inclusion

This report by Cenfri, looks at behavioural interventions that influence financial decisions or behaviours of customers. These kind of interventions can reduce the cost of acquisition, increase retention and use of financial services, but of course the interventions come at a cost to the financial service provider. The cost-benefit analysis is discussed and some recommendations…

Africa’s digital platforms and financial services: An eight-country overview

Explore i2i’s latest research on Digital Africa, the platform economy and associated financial services. This focus note gives the key findings of multi-sided digital platforms in eight sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The Role of Digital Finance in Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals

UNCDF and BFA have developed ideas behind measuring the impact of digital finance beyond just looking at account ownership to include impact on other SDGs. An example being pay as you go solar lighting, which can impact on education and ending poverty by allowing children to study and adults to work in the evenings. The focus…

UNESCO’s Internet universality indicators: a framework for assessing Internet development

UNESCO has produced a Framework for Assessing Internet Development, based on the four ROAM categories: R – that the internet is based on Human Rights O – that it is Open A – that it should be Accessible to all, and M – that it is nurtured by Multistakeholder participation. Safety, gender, children, sustainable development…

10 reasons to be optimistic that full financial inclusion is possible through digital payments

The past decade has seen great strides in building awareness of the global financial inclusion agenda, and very positive steps in achieving tangible change. The latest Global Findex data revealed that 69 percent of adults – 3.8 billion people – now have a bank account. This is up from 62 percent in 2014 and just 51 percent…

The Effectiveness of Short-Term Financial Education Workshops in Rural Areas: The Case of Armenia

A randomised control trial was conducted in Armenia, to assess the short-term impact of classroom based financial education workshops. Download the case study  to learn their strengths and limitations and ideas for measuring the effectiveness of financial education.  

Payments study tour report

Broadening financial inclusion has been a social, economic and political priority in South Africa since 1994, but we now recognise that meaningful inclusion goes way beyond ensuring someone simply has a bank account. The promise of digital channels and digital transactions is that they will truly democratise the financial system for the benefit of all.…

Guide to ICT solutions for smallholder farmer

The ICT4AG Handbook, A quick guide to ICT solutions for smallholder farmers, provides an overview of the range of technologies and how they can be useful for smallholder farmers. This handbook is written with Bangladesh in mind, it is a useful reference document for anyone interested in engaging smallholder farmers to digitalise.    

The potential of merchant data in improving credit access

Access to credit is a challenge that many MSMEs face. Often this is due to lack of data and financial records on the business. This case study produced by a DataHack4FI country winner in Zambia, explores the use of using data such as sales, expenses and investments to generate a credit score which could be…

The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019

The GSMA’s Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019 outlines the changes in the gender gap among low and middle income countries along with identifying barriers and opportunities facing equal mobile ownership and use. Read more here

Illicit Financial Flows: A Financial Integrity Perspective

Addressing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) is a target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article by Cenfri explores the different definitions of IFFs, challenges of quantifying IFFs, and the impact they have on financial integrity. Read more here.

Key Drivers, Emerging Trends and Developments in Corporate Banking

Finextra, in association with Oracle, has put together a summary of the key market drivers, emerging trends and developments affecting corporate banking. Digital innovations, such as virtual accounts, AI, machine learning, open APIs and blockchain all feature in the report which you can download here.

How Mobile Money Agents Can Expand Financial Inclusion

Boston Consulting Group have put together an interesting article outlining how agent networks have made an impact on financial inclusion, and they make three key recommendations for action including: identifying viable markets for expansion, drive expansion to the frontier and be innovative. Read more here

Labour Pains: Discovering the Financial Lives of Zambian Mothers

Zambian women are still largely excluded from formal financial services, and gender barriers are high due to social and cultural norms. This report summarises research by the UNCDF which looked at the needs of Zambian mothers as a user group (similar to farmers or refugees). Read more here to see the similarities and differences found and…

Sizing the mobile gender gap in refugee contexts

GSMA has done a lot of research showing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and mobile internet use. In this case study, they looked specifically at whether there are gaps within refugee contexts, what those gaps are and the implications for humanitarian aid in two refugee settlements.

The case for mobile money enabled cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programming

The humanitarian sector has been evaluating the distribution of cash during times of crisis, and mobile money has been increasingly viewed as a solution. GSMA have put together a report with recommendations for MNOs and humanitarian organisations on how this can be done efficiently and effectively. Read more about the evaluation and recommendations here.

Central Banks and Distributed Ledger Technology: How are Central Banks Exploring Blockchain Today?

The World Economic Forum have produced a white paper which explores globally which central banks are exploring the use of blockchain technology and those researching and experimenting with central bank digital currency (CBDC). Known for their caution and risk adverse approach, it is interesting to see how many central banks believe the technology may help…

Acquisition and Engagement Strategies to Reach Women with Digital Financial Services

Women’s World Banking and Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA), have partnered since 2014 to build the capacity of leading financial institutions in Nigeria, Tanzania and Malawi focusing on how women, particularly those with a low income, and financial products to meet their needs. This report outlines lessons learnt from youth and adult savings, digital credit,…

A SHIFT in Focus: How to Transform Financial Access into Use

UNCDF’s Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) programme looked for ways to use existing data to measure usage of financial products – taking it a step beyond just measuring access. The data available gave a great insight into use of products and services within Cambodia and allowed practical and insightful recommendations to be developed for improvements…

Impact of Mobile Technology and Policy on Agriculture in Uganda

Mercy Corps AgriFin Mobile Program has been working in Indonesia, Uganda and Zimbabwe on establishing models where farm and crop management tools and financial services are ‘bundled’ in affordable, unified platforms on digital channels to promote mass commercial uptake. This study assesses the current situation in Uganda with regards to uptake of mobile devices and services, and…

Insights as to how to engage women farmers in digital financial services

This infographic from Mercy Corps gives six insights as to how to engage women farmers in digital financial services. These learnings are from AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) programs in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, and highlight the need for human centered design.  

The Growth of FinTech

This infographic outlines the growth if FinTech and gives an overview of the FinTech landscape, their areas and disruption, acquisition and adoption.

Learnings from comparing consumer credit protection systems in Pakistan and South Africa

Trust in the product and the financial service provider plays a vital role when looking at uptake and usage. Having effective recourse procedures is an important component of creating and keeping consumer trust.  This informative blog post from Cenfri looks at consumer recourse in Pakistan and South Africa, and identifies best practices and actions for improvement.

How Digital Solutions Can Bolster Women’s Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa

This note from World Bank Group explores the many ways that women in Sub-Saharan Africa are using digital payment services through mobile phones, the internet, and bank accounts. It also outlines opportunities to use digital technology to bring financial services to women who still have no accounts.

Un-Blocking identity in a Digital World

Distributed Ledger technology (DLT) is often held up as a solution for payments, money transfers and currencies. But a new paper by The Whitechapel Think Tank, supported by UK Finance, looks at how technology can provide a potential solution to safely validating identity and verification.

Ethical use of Customer Data in a Digital Economy

The ethical use of data, and the extensive use of AI in day-to-day customer interactions have been an area of increased focus for politicians and regulators globally, as well as for news and media channels, over the last couple of years. New centres of research, such as the UK Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation,…

Digital Identity: Restoring Trust in a Digital World

This paper from Mastercard presents a vision of how digital interactions will evolve. It describes the role that trust will play in those interactions and explains why Mastercard views digital identity as fundamental to that trust. It proposes an efficient and inclusive model of digital identity that is collaborative in nature, and establishes clearly defined…

The ICAEW Economic Update: Quarterly Economic Forecast

ICAEW produce quarterly economic forecasts and insights for global regions for those in the finance profession. Their current quarterly Economic Insights look at the Middle East, South East Asia, China, Africa and the UK. The current Economic Update for Africa focuses on FinTech, GDP and Mobile Money, and looks in particular at Nigeria and Kenya.

The evolution of agent networks in Africa

Agent networks are seen as being key for facilitating cash-in and cash-out (CICO), particularly in rural areas, yet are difficult to establish and expensive to maintain. This case study in Kenya conducted by Cenfri, looks at how agent networks evolve using geospacial data. This study explores three core questions and gives some short to long-term recommendations: What…

The role of insurance for development

DFID, World Bank, FSDA and Cenfri partnered to conduct research to explore how and if insurance can contribute to sustainable development and inclusive growth. The research was conducted in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, and explored three perspectives: Building household resilience Supporting business resilience and enterprise development Capital market development

Bridging the mobile gender gap for refugees

This case study by GSMA highlights the experiences of refugee women (compared to men) with mobile technology in Bidi Bidi settlement in Uganda and Kiziba camp in Rwanda to demonstrate the value of closing the mobile gender gap.

Exploring the Gender Gap in Identification: Policy Insights from 10 Countries

This 10-country study by the GSMA explores the intersection between cultural, social and policy barriers facing women and girls when accessing and using ID and provides gender-sensitive solutions for governments to ensure a more enabling ID-related policy environment.

Women, Work, and Economic Growth : Leveling the Playing Field

Despite progress, wide gender gaps remain: women have fewer economic opportunities than men, more men than women work in most countries, and women often get paid less for similar work. As a result, the tremendous potential economic contribution from women remains untapped in a number of countries. Gender equity is in itself an important social objective, but the…

Digital Identity Opportunities in Zambia, Uganda, Sri-Lanka and Malawi

Over one billion people around the world, including more than 230 million women and girls in the Commonwealth, lack official proof of identity. Recognising that mobile technology and mobile network operators (MNOs) are well-positioned to tackle this issue, the GSMA explored the identity landscape in Malawi, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Zambia – four countries at distinct stages on their…

Women on the Move Annual Report 2018

Women on the Move is a CARE regional strategy to mobilise savings groups in West Africa, so that women and girls can assert their basic economic and social rights. Evidence has shown that women-led savings groups are a powerful platform for promoting women’s economic empowerment, women’s voices and gender equality. Our aim is that 8…

Hidden constraints to digital financial inclusion: the oral-literate divide

This paper looks at the role of literacy in financial inclusion. The vision that digital finance can achieve universal financial inclusion is premised on the rarely questioned assumption that the world is rapidly moving towards universal literacy and numeracy. In fact, text and arithmetic notation shape the relationship between formal finance and about a billion…

E-Transfer Implementation Guide

The E-transfer Implementation Guide was created for Mercy Corps team members considering – or already using – digital technology to deliver cash or vouchers to program participants. Chapters 1 and 2 provide an overview of the steps required to use digital payments. The Annexes contain customizable tools and templates. The Implementation Guide incorporates lessons learned…

Mystery Shopping for Digital Financial Services: A Toolkit

This toolkit was developed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with CGAP and the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Focus Group on Digital Financial Services (DFS). It is designed to help DFS regulators, providers, research firms, and other stakeholders use mystery shopping to monitor DFS markets. A mystery shopping exercise conducted…

Poverty Estimation with Satellite Imagery at Neighborhood Levels

Relying on traditional household surveys for poverty data is time consuming and expensive. What’s more, by the time the data are collected and analyzed, it is often out of date. But there are alternatives for estimating and mapping poverty with the goal of accelerating and expanding financial inclusion and helping DFS providers target the poorest. Machine learning algorithms can, for example, be…

Payments as a platform: The future of mobile money

The GSMA reviews the mobile money business model and the journey to a platform-based model. Five pillars to address are identified, including need for plug-and play access, new business models, optimizing user experience, collaboration with third parties, and personalized approach to product design. The approach could benefit start-ups and small businesses as well as diversifying…

Digital Commerce and Youth Employment in Africa

BFA, the consulting firm Chaired by DFI’s Co-Founder, David Porteous, were commissioned by the Mastercard Foundation to research how digital commerce affects employment, particularly of young people. Using a scenario lens, up to 80 million young people will benefit from the rise of digital commerce in Africa by 2030. The paper discusses the choices and…

Payment Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa

Cenfri explored national and regional payment systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and produced a two-part series identifying key themes that will facilitate remittances, including regulations and overcoming barriers. The series also explores some case-studies and gives guidelines for payment system development. You can read the series here

Mobile-enabled energy for humanitarian contexts

This report by GSMA explores the case for pay-as-you-go solar home systems in Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Digital Identity Ecosystems

Identity is a data-rich key that acts to unlock all levels of the emerging digital ecosystem. All forms of ID carry some risk, but digital forms of ID, or “dematerialized ID,” cuts across all sectors and generates particularly copious data about people, their behaviors, financial status, associates, and potentially even political and religious views. Over…

E-Identity Solutions in Europe – An European overview

Digital identity solutions are essential for a European internal market. Europe can benefit from the existing experience and diversity of solutions in European countries. This study examines the European e-identity landscape as well as success factors for high dissemination and acceptance. In addition to the ease-of-use, which is essential for e-identity solutions as a digital…

FinTech in Sub-Saharan African Countries : A Game Changer?

FinTech is a major force shaping the structure of the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa. New technologies are being developed and implemented in sub-Saharan Africa with the potential to change the competitive landscape in the financial industry. While it raises concerns on the emergence of vulnerabilities, FinTech challenges traditional structures and creates efficiency gains by…