Digital Frontiers

Customer and Uses of Digital Payments

ARTICLES

Covid-19: Crisis as Opportunity for Urban Cash Transfers?

More so than any other shock in recent memory, Covid-19 shone a spotlight on the precarious living and working conditions of many city dwellers, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as well as the glaring deficiencies in their urban social protection systems. Despite some notable efforts to accelerate coverage in recent years, provision of…

Weathering the Storm II: Tales of Survival from Microfinance Crises Past

What does it take to survive a crisis? Resourcefulness, adaptability, perseverance; the adjectives are plenty, but none can rival experience, which stands above the rest. Thankfully, crises are rare, but that comes with a downside—when faced with crisis, few people have prior crisis experience to draw upon. For that, there is an alternative: learn from…

Focus on Digitisation and the Impact of COVID-19 on MSEs

The COVID-19 pandemic, termed ‘the Great Disruption’ hit the global economy in 2020. Whereas 2020 was defined by divergent impact within and between economies, 2021 will be defined by multispeed and divergent recovery in the global and local economy. Low-income countries continue to face grimmer economic prospects due to limited access to COVID-19 vaccines and…

How Regulators Use Sex-Disaggregated Data and Regtech to Enhance Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion of women brings disproportionate benefits to their families and to economic development, yet in many countries an access-to-finance gender gap remains. Sex-disaggregated data (SDD)is key to monitoring and addressing this problem. This study by the USAID and Toronto  examines the role that financial services regulators can play in efforts to address financial inclusion…

Updated estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty: Turning the corner on the pandemic in 2021?

In this blog, we revise those numbers based on updates to global poverty data that occurred in March and June and based on the recently launched growth forecasts from the June 2021 version of GEP. We aim to provide preliminary answers to two questions: Is global poverty turning the corner on the pandemic in 2021, and if so, is this…

Consumer Risks in Fintech

Fintech is increasingly recognized as a key enabler for financial sectors worldwide, enabling more efficient and competitive financial markets while expanding access to finance for traditionally underserved consumers. A critical challenge for policy makers is to harness the benefits and opportunities of fintech while managing its risks, including for consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated…

Women’s Financial Inclusion Toolkit – Paving the Way for Women’s Economic Empowerment

Financial inclusion is a catalyst towards growth and opportunity. It is therefore not surprising that it features as a target in eight of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. It is associated with reducing poverty, increasing resilience, and improving economic growth, innovation, and family well-being. Beyond supporting these overarching goals, women’s financial inclusion crucially also contributes to women’s economic empowerment and gender…

Global Gender Gap Report 2021

Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt, closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.

Gender Shades: Intersectional Accuracy Disparities in Commercial Gender Classification

Recent studies demonstrate that machine learning algorithms can discriminate based on classes like race and gender. This paper, presents an approach to evaluate bias present in automated facial analysis algorithms and datasets with respect to phenotypic subgroups.

Enabling Women’s Financial Inclusion through Digital Financial Literacy

The last decade has seen a rapid increase in digital and financial inclusion. Thanks to widespread mobile phone ownership and a rise in mobile and agent banking, more people than ever before have bank accounts that they can use in their everyday lives. However, a persistent gender gap in both mobile phone ownership  and bank…

Leadership: People, Systems and Processes

Most managers spend a lot of time focused on their people. They think they can actually improve organizational performance by influencing their employees. But is this really true? In this report maybe there are different and faster ways to enhance performance.

How to Empower Small Businesses to go Digital and Rebuild

As the recovery from COVID-19 begins, financial inclusion has never been more urgent. Low-income people around the world have lost their jobs or businesses, and the World Bank projects that the pandemic will push 100 million people into extreme poverty. Vulnerable populations direly need financial tools like savings, credit, and insurance to rebuild their livelihoods and…

Financial Inclusion for Development: Better Access to Financial Services for Women, the Poor, and Migrant Workers

Access to financial services is central for development and is mentioned in several goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The importance of reducing the transaction costs of remittances is also acknowledged in the agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Financial inclusion has become a key policy agenda of many countries, since it…

Risk Sharing Facilities: Mobilizing Finance for Women-led MSMEs

Women-led MSMEs may be perceived as too small or too risky to attract finance. Risk sharing facilities (RSF) can reduce the perceived and real risks of lending to women entrepreneurs, who are underserved by the formal financial sector. The purpose of this toolkit by AFI is to assist members to conceptualize and design risk-sharing facilities…

Evidence Review of Women’s Groups and Covid-19

It has been more than a year since COVID-19 lockdowns began, and economic recovery is a top priority for governments, donors, and international financial institutions (IFIs) worldwide, including in sub-Saharan Africa. Targeted investments that increase community resilience and spur economic growth will mitigate some of the negative economic consequences of this crisis. Investment in women’s…

LISTEN NOW: Designing for Empowerment: How can we inclusively serve micro-entrepreneurs to facilitate growth?

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. There are 160 000 million in developing and emerging markets and of this number, 87% are micro enterprises. In this webinar Elizabeth Friend, Ethel Mupambwa and Jackie O’Neil explore the key issues they face and how we can design…

African Remittance Market Insights

RemitSCOPE Africa compiles and analyses data on all 54 African countries providing multi-layered information on diaspora, remittances, regulation, access, market players and financial inclusion. Click here for more market insights.

Women Entrepreneurs: Surviving the Pandemic and Beyond

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women has released its 2020 annual audit of research on women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021. The comprehensive report draws on responses from 125 women across 32 countries. It illustrates the stark impacts of COVID-19 on women entrepreneurs and other…

Engaging with Evidence in Impact Measurement

This case study was conducted by GAWA Capital- an impact investing company that promotes social and economic development by leveraging private capital markets to support social entrepreneurs

Idepro Case Study

Idepro believes that providing working capital loans to small-scale producers will enable them to invest in their businesses. This will result in enterprise growth while technical assistance can help producers eliminate other obstacles to success, such as a lack of business training. In the grape value chain, the focus of this case study, Idepro manages…

The Stories Algorithms Tell: Bias and Financial Inclusion at the Data Margins

This paper  by the Centre of Financial Inclusion explores the stories algorithms can tell about who is creditworthy in emerging markets, the risks of that narrative for those it leaves out, and what it all might mean for inclusive finance.

Policy Catalogue on MSME Financing in Africa

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been cited as one of the strongest drivers of economic development, job creation and innovation globally. Given the multitude of MSMEs policies in Africa, governments have clearly acknowledged this challenge and are implementing policies aimed at supporting MSME’s access to finance and, by extension, growth. This policy catalogue…

Digital Extension Services Improve Farmer Productivity in Uganda

In the West Nile region in Uganda, one agriculture extension worker serves 2,000 farmers, demonstrating the key role of technology in enabling access to the much needed extension and agronomic services. An inception study undertaken by UNCDF showed that the lack of access to quality extension services, is one of the main constraints in the…

Digitalization of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in Uganda

Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) are savings groups that are self-managed by the members. The core objectives of these groups are to provide a safe environment for members to save money through purchase of shares, and access small loans. This case study is presented by UNCDF partner Ensibuuko Tech Limited, a Ugandan Financial Technologies…

Digital Financial Inclusion in Emerging and Developing Economies: A New Index

Adoption of technology in the financial services industry (i.e. fintech) has been accelerating in recent years. To systematically and comprehensively assess the extent and progress over time in financial inclusion enabled by technology, the IMF has developed a novel digital financial inclusion index. This index is based on payments data covering 52 developing countries for…

Digital Sub-Wallets for Increased Financial Empowerment of Women

There are few, if any, mobile platforms designed around women’s financial habits and needs. However, financial inclusion of women cannot be fully achieved by focusing on financial products; gender norms must also be addressed. In this article, CARE  elaborates on how they recognized the need to design a savings group approach that would simultaneously address…

Humanitarian Cash and Voucher Assistance Programmes in Ethiopia

This report, in partnership with the Collaborative Cash Delivery (CCD) Network, explores the context and capability of the mobile money ecosystem in Ethiopia. With a focus on humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programming, it aims to help humanitarian and development actors assess the feasibility of deploying mobile money for CVA programming in the country

Empowering Women on a Journey Towards Digital Financial Capability

Financial inclusion is becoming more and more digital. To accelerate this journey to digitization, and not let women customers be left even further behind, we need to ensure policymakers and financial service providers focus on effectively supporting women customers build their digital financial capabilities, so they can use digital financial services with ease and confidence.  This report focuses on building the knowledge, skills, and attitudes…

What Drives the Financial Inclusion Gender Gap for Young Women?

There are stubborn differences in the rates at which men and women access, use and benefit from formal financial services. As an initial step toward understanding what drives these differences, in this paper , CGAP worked with the Global Findex team to analyze how the account ownership gender gap varies across regions and age groups.

A 10-point action plan for governments and businesses to rebuild stronger after COVID-19 by prioritizing women’s digital financial inclusion

Drawing on decades of experience, research and in-field activity, the following 10-point action plan to end financial inequality for women aims to help end the continued economic exclusion of half the world’s population and to build more resilient economies. As governments and companies take steps to repair economies, the 10 actions described in this report…

New research by Caribou Digital and the DFS Lab predicts implementation of the Level One Principles will benefit women and help close the gender gap

This new body of research—funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—explores this phenomenon from a different angle. Can better digital payment system design create the conditions for more women to use digital financial tools? Generally, the analysis predicts that adoption of an L1P system will have positive benefits for women relative to the typical…

Integrating Forcibly Displaced Persons Into a National Financial Inclusion Strategy

Sustainable development and inclusive economic growth can only be achieved if those who are forcibly displaced are not left behind in pursuit of broader national financial inclusion goals. Accessing formal financial services can enable forcibly displaced persons (FDPs) to overcome difficult situations, apply their skills and competencies, and realize their future potential. This helps them…

Elevating the Collective Consumer Voice in Financial Regulation

Elevating the collective voice of digital financial services (DFS) consumers can give them more say and more power in the financial sector. Through a stronger consumer voice, regulators will gain a better understanding of the risks facing consumers and adapt regulations accordingly, thus making financial services more responsible. Through its research, CGAP identified three opportunities…

Minding the DFS Gender Gap: Battling Social Norms to Level the Playing Field

While the DFS gender gap has slowly narrowed over the past few years, much work needs to be done in order to completely close it, with the COVID pandemic only exacerbating barriers to financial access for women globally. This post by Mondato talks about how social norms could level the playing field in the gender…

Report: Algorithmic Bias, Financial Inclusion, and Gender: A primer on opening up new credit to women in emerging economies

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing financial services offerings to customers across the globe. Historically, women have been the victims of unconscious bias in lending decisions. Algorithm-enabled credit decisions have the potential to create a level playing field for female customers worldwide—but only if we find and mitigate biases emerging through technology inputs and…

Can Free Phones Close the Digital Gender Divide?

The gender gap in mobile phone ownership is well-documented. For years now, the financial inclusion community has been trying to get phones into the hands of more women at the last mile. While these efforts have undeniably increased women’s access to phones, it’s less clear to what extent the beneficiaries of these programs are using…

National Financial Inclusion Strategy Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit

How do you measure if a national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS) is delivering what it sets out to accomplish and if it’s being implemented as envisioned? These questions can be answered through monitoring and evaluation (M&E). In the context of NFIS, M&E plays a crucial role to improve the management of outputs and outcomes while…

Crisis Roadmap for Microfinance Institutions: COVID-19 and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest in a series of crises that microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world have faced in recent decades. This crisis response roadmap is designed to help MFIs navigate the COVID-19 health pandemic and its economic impact, and to provide guidance on recommended practices that are relevant today and for future crises.

The Future of Financial Inclusion in China

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex database, globally, 1.7 billion people do not have a bank account, and policymakers struggle to provide affordable, safe and accessible financial services to the unbanked population. Home to 225 million adults without an account, China has the world’s largest unbanked population, followed by India (190 million), Pakistan (100…

Making Digital Finance Work for Women in the MENA Region

Despite progress over the past few years, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region still has the largest gender gap in terms of women’s economic participation in the world. This economic divide also holds true for financial inclusion.  Innovative Digital Financial Services (DFS) have strong potential to accelerate women’s financial empowerment. The opportunities and…

Coping with COVID-19 and Responding to COVID-19

The first 10 months of 2020 were extremely difficult for almost everyone around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed thousands of lives across the globe and crippled the economies of numerous countries. Microsave Consulting tracked the impact of the pandemic on low- and – middle income households which have uncertain and irregular incomes. The…

Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment in Financial Inclusion

As a growing number of researchers and practitioners have started using women’s economic empowerment (WEE) measurements to better understand the impact of financial inclusion, there is widespread recognition that financial inclusion can help low-income women improve their livelihoods and resilience while contributing to their economic empowerment. Although measuring the more tangible aspects of economic empowerment,…

The Case for a Gender-Intelligent Approach: An Opportunity for Inclusive Fintechs

For low-income women, digital financial inclusion offers an opportunity to upend entrenched gender inequalities by entering spheres from which they have been otherwise excluded. Financial services delivered via mobile phone can bridge the last-mile gap, bringing financial tools and services directly to women where they work and live. CFI has shared this brief which examines…

Virtual Workshop: Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on Low- and Moderate-Income Populations, and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises

MSC (MicroSave Consulting), with support from the Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF), conducted a workshop, “Assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs in Asia and Africa” through a webinar on 28th January, 2021. In this webinar, panelists discussed the impact of the pandemic on financial health, especially of the MSME sector and low- and moderate-income…

Social Norms and Financial Decision-Making in Zambia

To generate insights into the normative environment within which spouses in Eastern Province, Zambia, make decisions about money holding and saving, FSD Zambia with University of Nottingham undertook a two-staged research project over 2019-2020. The following findings were identified:  Husbands and wives often sacrifice household-level income in order to maintain individual control over income Handing…

A Policy Framework for Women-led MSME Access to Finance

Access to finance for women-led-MSMEs can lead to an increase in productive assets, productivity, and stronger economic growth, but access to finance is arguably the most binding constraint to their growth. This Policy Framework proposes six pillars that regulators can adopt to facilitate access to finance for women-led MSMEs. You can download the report here.…

Rapid Response for Social Payments During COVID-19

As countries around the world grapple with the devastating economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic, governments have turned to supplemental cash transfers as a key policy instrument to offset the loss of income. These measures include a range of approaches, from wage subsidies to extended unemployment support and a variety of social welfare payments. There’s…

How Social Norms for Men Restrict Women’s Financial Inclusion

The financial inclusion community has learned a lot in recent years about the role that social norms play in women’s financial inclusion. This article from CGAP takes a step further to explain how social norms affect men and their ability and willingness to support women’s access to financial services.

Blended Finance in the Least Developed Countries 2020

COVID-19 threatens to undo progress achieved towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) over the past five years. Financing the recovery will require a coordinated multilateral response and the use of innovative tools and risk mitigation instruments. Blended finance can help to catalyse much needed additional resources for SDG-aligned…

Revisiting the Measurement of Financial Inclusion of Rural Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria

This study aims to develop and apply a multidimensional measure of financial inclusion to address measurement issues and determine the level of financial inclusion of rural smallholder farmers and the contribution of domain indicators to the level of financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Mobile Money-Enabled Remittances are a Lifeline for Families of Migrant Workers

In 2019, migrants across the globe sent over US$548 billion in remittances to their families in low and middle-income countries. Surpassing aid, and in almost all cases, Foreign Direct Investment, one half of these annual flows reach rural areas where they provide important support to household livelihoods. In this case study, mobile money provider Valyou…

Digitalizing Rural Financial Ecosystems- Journey and Learnings from Digitalization of Dairy Value Chain in Nepal

With more than 66 per cent of Nepalese dependent on agriculture, the introduction of digital financial services (DFS) offerings in the agriculture sector became essential for not only expanding the ecosystem of DFS but also to ensure progressive growth of access to finance in rural areas. The UNCDF partnership with Prabhu Management on dairy digitalization…

Managing Agricultural Risk Through Remittances: the Case of Senegal

This feasibility study explains the role of remittances in agricultural risk management, the challenges facing remittance flows, and the opportunities to enhance the productive use of remittances for agricultural risk management investments.

Debt Relief in the Pandemic: Lessons from India, Peru, and Uganda

The widespread use of debt moratoria in response to the COVID-19 health and economic emergencies has succeeded in stabilizing financial systems and given borrowers all over the world immediate, if temporary, relief. Financial regulators in at least 115 countries in March and April 2020 issued special permission for financial services providers (FSPs) to provide moratoria…

Survey Report on Alternative Finance for MSMEs

MSMEs constitute 90 percent of all businesses and more than 50 percent of the employment globally. In emerging markets, formal MSMEs contribute up to 40 percent of national income. This report by AFI reflects on the economic and social importance of the MSME sector in emerging economies. It explores the significance of available research on…

Bridging the Gap: Emerging Private Sector Response and Recovery Measures for Gender Equality amid COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened existing gender inequalities, exposed fundamental flaws in economic and social systems, and posed a serious threat to the gains made on gender equality. As COVID-19 widens global gender gaps, IFC and UN Women have partnered to showcase a growing number of companies and organizations around the world that are taking…

Climate Risk Insurance: Economic Impacts of Natural Hazards on Vulnerable Populations

The South Pacific region is extremely vulnerable to natural hazards like cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. The accelerated frequency and severity of the disasters due to climate change have disrupted economic and social progress as well as development gains. With no adequate insurance protection and coverage in the region, the economic impacts…

Beyond Financial Inclusion: Measuring and Improving Financial Health Outcomes in México

Measuring financial health is a challenge. To date, there is no consensus among experts about the right way to measure it. However, in Mexico, there is now an opportunity to leverage shared understanding of financial health to create a measurement tool that can make financial health more concrete and operational. In this article, FinnSalud explains…

Digital Survey Benchmarks on Digitalisation

Since the inception of microcredit in the 1970s, its business model has seen a number of shifts: in the nineties, the concept of microcredit evolved into a more commercially sustainable microfinance, which included savings. Early 21st century, the financial inclusion paradigm led to further commercialisation and a wider understanding of the industry, which now included…

Bridging the Financing Gap for Agriculture Cooperatives Through Data-driven Decision-making in Senegal

In 2019, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) wanted to explore how data driven decision-making and new dimensions of information could reduce the risk of lending to the youth segment – in particular those working in agriculture – providing alternatives for those who do not have traditional credit records. UNCDF has partnered with Dimagi and…

Non-Financial Services – The Key to Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women-led SMEs for Banks

This study examines the benefits to banks of integrating NFS into lending. These services can help mitigate the barriers, giving banks a women-focused market. This analysis of five SME banking models, in addition to previously published case studies and other resources, found that well-integrated NFS offers for WSMEs yield positive returns on investment (ROI) within…

How Fintechs can Profit from the Multi-Trillion-Dollar Female Economy

The female economy is large, fast-growing and underserved—and fintechs are well-positioned to tap into it. To help them embrace this win-win opportunity, the Financial Alliance for Women surveyed 168 fintechs and 30 investors and other ecosystem players from around the world. This report explores how fintechs have been approaching and serving the multi-trillion-dollar women’s market…

But How Do You Change Behavior?

Women are not a single market segment – they are heterogenous and approach financial products and services with diverse skills sets and needs. This webinar discusses enabling women’s financial capability through different entry points, optimal approaches to different livelihood segments, and behavior change strategies that may work differently for women and men.

Hey Sister! Show Me the Mobile Money!

Women’s-Global Development and Prosperity Initiative’s digital financial literacy campaign in Ghana, Malawi and Uganda.

Challenging the Myths around Women’s Financial Inclusion

A webinar looking at some of the most common myths around women’s digital financial inclusion and the often-changing reality behind them.

The Role of Gender in Agent Banking : Evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo

This paper uses a unique data set with 1.1 million customer transactions from a microfinance institution in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2017 to 2018. The paper provides evidence of assortative gender matching in agent banking transactions, as clients prefer to transact with agents of their own gender. Female clients show a robust preference…

Western Union: Permanent Leader of Money Transfers

This blog post by SaveOnSend provides an analysis of Western Union’s chances of preserving its position in the money transfers market.

Money Transfer Startups: Race Against Time?

This blog post by SaveOnSend provides a comprehensive overview of money transfer startups.

Encouraging Effective and Inclusive Savings: Lessons and Best Practices from the European Microfinance Award 2020

2020 was a unique year with so many challenges for everyone within the financial inclusion sector. With businesses shuttered, economies shuddering and a lethal virus showing no signs of going away any time soon,  the households and businesses of the financially excluded are still under incredible pressures. In the past, the European Microfinance Award 2020 on…

What Does It Take To Nudge Low- and Moderate-Income Population Segments to Adopt DFS?

Digital Financial Services (DFS) offer a wide variety of benefits, especially for the low- and middle-income (LMI) segment. DFS specifically helps women use financial services, given the unique challenges that they face. These include their restricted mobility and socio-cultural constraints that limit their usage of brickand-mortar banks. However, the adoption of DFS among the LMI…

A Phone Can Only Do So Much: Why Mobile Access isn’t Leading to Digital Financial Service Usage Among Women in India

India has made significant progress in financial inclusion in recent years. However low-income working women are not benefiting from this progress, even when they receive their wages digitally. To better understand why, MSC and HERproject have researched the financial behaviors of female garment workers in India, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Managing Risks (More) Effectively: Rethinking Insurance for MSMEs

MSMEs form the backbone of many economies globally and give rise to economic growth, employment and innovation. Whilst COVID-19 has especially exposed the vulnerable MSMEs to a high level of risk, the pandemic is just one infrequent and specific risk. Across the world there is a lack of adequate MSME insurance. This report by CENFRI  on…

Regional Policy Framework for Enhancing MSME Financing Ecosystem in Africa

The regional policy framework is intended to identify the best practices of MSME financing policy, explore pathways and enabling factors of implementable action plans, and provide policy recommendations to financial sector regulators with regard to access to finance for MSMEs in Africa.

Scoping and Assessment Report – MSME Access to Finance Ecosystem in Africa

The objective of this document is to provide a scope of what has to be addressed in a framework to enhance the MSME financing ecosystem in Africa, and to assess what the most important elements are. This document and the Policy Framework are best read together for a better understanding.

Collecting and Applying Data on Smallholder Agriculture During COVID-19

Collecting data and understanding rural and agricultural livelihoods have always been challenging. Now, facing COVID-19 and related restrictions, understanding customers and developing financial solutions that meet their needs is even harder. To learn more, CGAP and AgriFin, the center of excellence on agriculture finance in the World Bank Group, hosted two video chats in early October with…

Migration and Development Brief 33 Phase II: COVID-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens

The economic crisis induced by COVID-19 could be long, deep, and pervasive when viewed through a migration lens. In October 2020, COVID19 case numbers rose again to surpass 44 million. The number of fatalities surpassed 1.1 million. A recurrence of COVID19 phases accompanied by lockdowns, travel bans, and social distancing cannot be ruled out well…

A COVID Microfinance Liquidity Tour of Asia

This synthesis document brings together selected aspects of the COVID-19 Microfinance Liquidity Tour of Asia undertaken by M-CRIL over the past few months. In this document, the authors have compiled cross country data emerging from the M-CRIL Advisory Notes covering different types of microfinance service providers (MFSPs) listed below and provided some reflections on the analysis.

From Financial Inclusion To Inclusive Finance: The Power of Frameworks To Catalyse Change

This article discusses the power of frameworks in shaping research and providing insights for financial inclusion policy and investment.

Alternative Credit Scoring of Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

MSMEs account for more than 98% of the business establishments in Hong Kong and employ about 46% of the workforce in the private sector. Yet many face significant challenges in securing a bank loan due to their lack of financial information and the significant burden faced by banks in conducting credit assessments and monitoring related…

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.

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.

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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…

Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion: Application Tools

This report by BIS  follows the publication of Payment aspects of financial inclusion (PAFI) in 2016 and Payment aspects of financial inclusion in the fintech era in April 2020. The 2016 report outlined seven guiding principles for public and private sector stakeholders and recommended key actions for countries seeking to implement these principles, while the April 2020 report…

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.

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…

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…

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.

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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…

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.

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.

Growing Digital Financial Inclusion in Senegal

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…

Growing Digital Financial Inclusion in Zambia

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

Covid-19: Boon and bane for digital payments and financial inclusion

This brief compares the approaches taken by authorities in different countries, examining the different drivers for supporting the fintech industry during the pandemic. Section 2 looks at measures to facilitate use of digital payments during lockdowns. Section 3 explores measures to safeguard the fintech sector and promote innovation in payments, as countries tentatively move towards…

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…

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…

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,…

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.…

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…

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),…

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.

Study Highlights How Policymakers Use Gender-Disaggregated Data to Design Effective Women’s Financial Inclusion Policies

There is a 7% gender gap globally in account ownership between men and women, 9% account in developing economies, according to the 2017 Global Findex (World Bank Group). Collecting gender-disaggregated data on access and usage of financial services provides vital information to reduce this divide, as well as fosters opportunity for economic growth and income…

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…

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…

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.

Designing a Credit Facility for Women Entrepreneurs

In October 2012, the Government of Ethiopia launched the Women Entrepreneurship Development Project (WEDP), with the aim of increasing the earnings and employment of growth-oriented micro and small enterprises (MSEs) owned or partly-owned by women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia. In doing so, it created the first ever women entrepreneur focused line of credit in Africa, and…

Case study: The Future of Government-to-Person (G2P) Payments: Innovating for Customer Choice in Kenya

In 2018, Kenya’s Ministry of Labour and Social Protection launched the newest phase of its social safety net programme Inua Jamii with an audacious goal: provide all beneficiaries with a full bank account and offer them a choice among four financial services providers. As of December 2019, the Inua Jamii programme had reached 1.2 million…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

Digital Financial Services Supervision in Bangladesh

In this report, DFS innovations can rapidly expand financial access and inclusion, but also pose risks related to fraud, market abuses, and financial stability. Regulatory frameworks thus need to strike a balance between fostering innovation, protecting consumers, and addressing the potential for unintended consequences of technological disruption. They must also ensure the market is a…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.    

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…

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…

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.

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…

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.

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…

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,…

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…

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…

Investing for Impact: Operating Principles for Impact Management

Investing for Impact: Operating Principles for Impact Management (the Principles) have been developed by a group of asset owners, managers, and allocators to describe essential features of managing investments into companies or organizations with the intent to contribute to measurable positive social or environmental impact, alongside financial returns. Impact investments have the potential to make…

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…

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…

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,…

Examining Customer Journeys at Financial Institutions in Cambodia

This study encourages a shift in focus from examining access to finance to understanding actual usage of financial products. The study demonstrates the potential of Big Data analytics to generate granular sex- and youth-disaggregated information on the use of financial services, and to apply insights to inform product development and policy making.

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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.

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.  

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…

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…

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,…

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

Evidence Gap Map

This is an interactive EGM matrix from the Mastercard Foundation, of 14 digital finance product categories, 32 design and delivery categories and 10 outcome categories contains 75 impact studies.

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 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…

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 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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Social Norms and Women’s Financial Inclusion: The Role of Providers

How do financial services providers (FSPs) shape gender norms that restrict or expand women’s access to financial services? In more ways than you might think! This article from CGAP expands on why FSPs should be aware of this.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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,…

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…

Freeing Financial Education via Tablets: Experimental Evidence from Colombia

This paper estimates the impact of a tablet-based application that incorporated simplified, concrete, targeted, timely, engaging, and interactive content on savings and budgeting via a delivery method that relied on local community leaders to rotate the tablets among mostly female recipients of M´as Familias en Acci´on, a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in Colombia

The Monte Carlo Simulation: Understanding the Basics

Analysts can assess possible portfolio returns in many ways. The historical approach, which is the most popular, considers all the possibilities that have already happened. However, investors shouldn’t stop at this. The Monte Carlo method is a stochastic (random sampling of inputs) method to solve a statistical problem, and a simulation is a virtual representation of a problem. The Monte Carlo simulation…

The Monte Carlo Simulation: Understanding the Basics

What Is a Monte Carlo Simulation? Analysts can assess possible portfolio returns in many ways. The historical approach, which is the most popular, considers all the possibilities that have already happened. However, investors shouldn’t stop at this. The Monte Carlo method is a stochastic (random sampling of inputs) method to solve a statistical problem, and a simulation is a virtual representation of a problem.…

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…

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…

Is Poverty Reduction the Right Outcome for Financial Services?

This post is part of CGAP’s “Evidence and Impact in Financial Inclusion: Taking Stock” blog series. The series explores recent efforts to synthesize evidence on the impact of financial inclusion and examines whether concepts like usage, financial health and poverty reduction capture the real impact of financial inclusion.

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Learning from Financial Inclusion Research: What Should We Expect?

This post is part of CGAP’s “Evidence and Impact in Financial Inclusion: Taking Stock” blog series. The series explores recent efforts to synthesize evidence on the impact of financial inclusion and examines whether concepts like usage, financial health and poverty reduction capture the real impact of financial inclusion.

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.  

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 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

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.

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.  

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.

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

Does Financial Inclusion Impact the Lives of the Poor?

This post is part of CGAP’s “Evidence and Impact in Financial Inclusion: Taking Stock” blog series. The series explores recent efforts to synthesize evidence on the impact of financial inclusion and examines whether concepts like usage, financial health and poverty reduction capture the real impact of financial inclusion.

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.

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…

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…

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.

Insuring for a changing climate – A review and reflection on CARE’s experience with microinsurance

The impact of climate change is already having devastating effects on lives and livelihoods. Planning and programming to strengthen climate resilience is now commonplace in development interventions. As part of a set of disaster risk financing tools, insurance schemes are being championed as a way to finance the mitigation of negative effects that extreme weather…

Handbook: Digital Financial Services for Agriculture

This handbook by IFC offers financial services providers an understanding of smallholder farmers and agricultural value chains, and practical guidance on how to develop and launch sustainable financial services for the agricultural sector. It surveys the current landscape in terms of existing DFS offerings in the agricultural sector, to share actual market experience and lessons…

The supply chain finance opportunity

Supply chain finance (SCF) offers high-quality, low-risk financing to the small merchants that tend to be underserved by traditional lenders. These microentrepreneurs often lack the credit data traditional lenders need and are seen as too costly to serve at scale. SCF leverages data generated by businesses when they buy from suppliers and sell to customers,…

Promoting Responsible Finance and Sustainability in Azerbaijan: Lessons for Emerging Microfinance Associations

This learning brief looks at lessons learnt from the microfinance sector in Azerbaijan, sharing approaches and ideas to build sustainability and credibility, and highlighting key players within the landscape. Recommendations made in the brief are relevant for emerging microfinance associations.

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2018

Agriculture is key to Africa’s future. The continent has most of the world’s arable land, over half of the African population is employed in the sector, and it is the largest contributor to total gross domestic product (GDP). Yet, Africa is still producing too little food and value-added products. Productivity has been broadly stagnant since…

Report on Financial Inclusion Development in China 2018

CAFI, a Chinese think tank at Renmin University, publishes an annual review of financial inclusion in China. This is the first one translated into English, and covers digital technology, payments, insurance, wealth and credit, as well as regulation. Download the report here.

The State of Social Safety Nets

The State of Social Safety Nets 2018 compiles, analyzes, and disseminates data and developments at the forefront of the social safety net (SSN)/social assistance (SA) agenda. This series of periodic reports is part of broader efforts to monitor implementation progress of the World Bank 2012–2022 Social Protection and Labor Strategy against the strategic goals of…

A Digital Credit Revolution Insights from Borrowers in Kenya and Tanzania

Digital credit has expanded rapidly in both Kenya and Tanzania, yet there is limited evidence on who is using it, how it is used, and the risks customers face. Two large-scale surveys conducted in Kenya and Tanzania help to fill in this evidence gap and the findings and recommendations are summarised in this report from…

Financial Inclusion for Women: A Way Forward

Despite the general progress made in terms of financial inclusion worldwide (there has been a nominal increase in the number of adults who have access to a bank account), the gender gap remains unaltered since 2011. In order to overcome the barriers faced by women to access and use financial services three sets of recommendations…

Ex Post Impact Evaluation Framework

This paper outlines how the Financial Conduct Authority use ex post impact evaluation to assess the impact of their past interventions on consumers, firms and markets.

What is the relationship between risk and trust?

Trust is in decline globally. A total of 20 out of the 28 markets covered in the survey fall into the category of distrust (meaning that average trust in businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations, and the media in those markets is below 50%). Meanwhile, 7 in 10 respondents said that building trust is the number one…

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…

FSI Insights on policy implementation No 13

This paper covers regulatory reporting initiatives at 10 financial authorities that are implementing or have implemented innovations in their data collection frameworks. Most authorities are implementing innovations in terms of data standardisation and granularity of required reporting data. Around half are implementing innovations in the means of data transmission and transformation rules. Only a few…

State of Practice: Savings Groups and the Role of Government in Sub-Saharan Africa

Savings Groups are community-based financial service providers that deliver basic financial services to millions of members in underserved markets worldwide. Traditionally, the promotion of Savings Groups has been led by national and international NGOs and a large extension network of community-based trainers. In recent years, governments across Sub-Saharan Africa have incorporated Savings Groups into public…

Financial Inclusion and G2P payments: Lessons from South Africa

G2P payments in South Africa, banking millions? The South African government, through the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), provides social assistance in the form of monthly payments to around 16.9 million beneficiaries including qualifying children, pensioners, war veterans and people with disabilities. Grants vary from R350 per month (approximately USD 25) for a child…

Digital Access – The Future of Financial Inclusion in Africa

IFC launched Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion, a report which captures the knowledge and experienced gained working to develop and promote commercially sustainable solutions for greater financial inclusion across Sub-Saharan Africa. It includes case studies, research highlights, market overviews, interviews with industry practitioners, impact stories, as well as our insights and ideas for the future.

Digitizing Agricultural Payments: Uganda’s Coffee Value Chain

This paper from CGAP tells the story of how the United Nations Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) team in Uganda worked with exporter Kyagalanyi Coffee Limited (KCL) to digitize one of the country’s most important cash crops: coffee. In addition to addressing the complex dynamics of digitizing agricultural value chains, the paper illustrates how…

State of Practice: Savings Groups and the Dynamics of Inclusion – Main Findings

This state of practice report provides a comprehensive overview of the inclusion of vulnerable populations in Savings Groups. Over the past 25 years, development organizations have mobilized more than 700,000 Savings Groups in marginalized communities across 75 countries worldwide. Recent evidence, however, shows mixed results as to the effectiveness of SG programs in targeting and…

Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries

This report is produced under the International Partnership Programme (IPP), a five-year, £152 million programme run by the UK Space Agency. IPP uses the UK Space sector’s research and innovation strengths to deliver a sustainable, economic or societal benefit to developing countries. Projects within IPP span a wide range of themes including: improving agriculture, reducing…

Customer-Centric Guide

The CGAP Customer-Centric guide explores retention, acquisition, and expansion of product use by customers, making recommendations on how to move to a customer-centric model which benefits the organisation and customer.    

Digital Credit Market Monitoring in Tanzania

This presentation by CGAP summarises the findings of research studying the digital credit market in Tanzania. The market is growing rapidly, but there is little information about the uses and risks. The research looks at the size of market, loans and repayments, and customer behaviour, and gives six recommendations for ensuring ethical and inclusive practices.  

Navigating the Next Wave of Blended Finance for Financial Inclusion

This brief by CCAP looks at how to attract private investors to close the estimated $2.5 trillion annual gap to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through blended finance. It looks at opportunities and ways to optimise funding sources for financial inclusion. Read more here.

Women in Finance: A Case for Closing Gaps

Women are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system, from depositors and borrowers to bank board members and regulators. A new study at the IMF finds that greater inclusion of women as users, providers, and regulators of financial services would have benefits beyond addressing gender inequality. Narrowing the gender gap would foster greater…

Reaching the last mile: Introducing Digital Payments for Refugees in Meheba, Zambia

This case study focuses on the journey to design and implement a project to digitize cash-based interventions (CBI) by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in the Meheba refugee settlement of Zambia. The case study captures the entire journey to digitize CBI payments…

UFA2020 Overview: Universal Financial Access by 2020

This brief provides an overview of UFA2020, highlighting key messages, context and strategy.

An Empirical Risk Assessment of Savings Groups

The purpose of this risk assessment is to identify and assess the main risks that affect Savings Groups – based on the frequency and severity of negative outcomes – and ultimately inform the development of targeted consumer protection initiatives for Savings Groups. The study – based on a survey of 1,600 groups, individual members, trainers…

Spotlight on mobile-enabled insurance services

This report by the GSMA provides an overview of the mobile-enabled micro-insurance industry, to support broader industry stakeholders to increase the utility and sustainability of mobile financial services. This publication is part of a series of deeper insights into selected topics based on the findings of the 2017 State of the Industry Report on Mobile…

Do agent networks help to boost savings?

Savings benefit both the providers of Digital Financial Services (DFS) and their customers. Customers who use DFS accounts to save money can improve their financial resilience, build a buffer against income shocks, and be in a better position to invest and engage in long-term financial planning. Financial Service Providers (FSP) that have more savers in…

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,…

A Policy Framework for Innovative Cross-Border Remittances in Africa

Accounting for almost half (135) of global mobile money deployments (276), Africa has huge potential to leverage digital financial services to make cross-border remittances cheaper and more efficient. The framework for cross-border remittances aims to address the cost and efficiency challenges of remittances in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the most expensive remittance corridor in…

Expanding Financial Inclusion of Refugees in Uganda

The two main objectives of this study are: to compile data and evidence to increase Financial Service Providers’ (FSPs) knowledge of the potential client segment of refugees; and to clarify the  interventions and technical assistance needed by four participating FSPs to successfully offer or  scale up financial services to refugees in Uganda.

Digital Transformation of Microfinance and Digitization of Microfinance Services to Deepen Financial Inclusion in Africa

Through a review of the literature and interview of key individuals in the space, this study looks at how technology can enhance microfinance services in Africa, and gives recommendations for policy and regulations that will help optimise this digital transformation to enhance financial inclusion. Download the report here.

Digital Finance Impact Evidence Summary

Between November 2016 and May 2017,  Digital Finance studies were screened for contributions to the evidence on the effect of Digital Finance on individuals, households, and communities. This cumulated into the development of an Evidence Gap Map (EGM) for Digital Finance. At the time of writing, 40 Digital Finance impact studies were identified from 21…

Toward Universal Financial Inclusion in China : Models, Challenges, and Global Lessons

China has achieved remarkable success in financial inclusion. China’s rate of account ownership – a basic metric of financial inclusion – has increased significantly in the past two decades and is now on par with that of other G-20 countries. Traditional financial service providers have dramatically increased the reach of the formal financial sector, including…

Which financial needs can be (and should be) addressed by DFS?

It’s been more than ten years since Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom launched M-PESA, one of the first digital finance innovations to hit the developing world. Since then banks, mobile network operators, FinTechs, and other third party organizations have followed suit and now offer a range of digital financial services to underserved customers. Mobile phones enabled…

Integrating Financial Capability into Government Cash Transfer Programs

The purpose of this toolkit from the World Bank is to demonstrate the importance of financial capability, to describe its benefits for social cash transfer recipients, and to provide instruction and guidance on how to integrate financial education into government led cash transfer programs. The toolkit is intended to provide reference material for policy makers,…

Powering Opportunity The Economic Impact of Off-Grid Solar

This report provides powerful insights into the benefits of off-grid solar power. Namely, that solar home systems (SHS) are catalysing economic activity, creating income and improving quality of life. It is well-known that off-grid solar can deliver benefits to wellbeing and the environment, but until now, the impact of off-grid solar on economic activity, such…

Where are the flows? Exploring barriers to remittances in sub-Saharan Africa

Remittances play a critical role in facilitating financial flows to Sub-Saharan Africa. The value of formal remittances sent into the region is no longer growing, many are using informal channels die to the high cost of sending funds from outside and within the region. Cenfri in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) and Financial Sector Deepening Africa…

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2017

Agriculture is a proven path to prosperity. No region of the world has developed a diverse, modern economy without first establishing a successful foundation in agriculture. This is going to be critically true for Africa where, today, close to 70% of the population is involved in agriculture as smallholder farmers working on parcels of land…

A Personal Touch in text messaging can improve microloan repayment

Because payment delays and defaults significantly affect both lenders and borrowers in fragile economies, strategies to improve timely loan repayment are needed to help make credit markets work smoothly. Karlan, Morten and Zinman worked with two microlenders to test the impact of randomly assigned text message reminders for loan repayments in the Philippines. Messages improved…

Launching into space: using satellite imagery in financial services

This study is part of FiDA’s broader exploration of the promises and limitations of big data analytics in financial services, and it follows the insights presented in FiDA’s Focus Note, Can Big Data Shape Financial Services in East Africa? A number of the financial service providers (FSPs) and FinTechs interviewed for the Focus Note identified the value of employing earth observation…

Exploring Blockchain Applications to Agricultural Finance

This brief by CGAP explores how the technological transformation happening globally can enable inclusive agricultural finance, and bring financial inclusion to the poor. Devices such as mobile phones and drones may facilitate the digital connectivity for the world’s 500 million smallholder farming households. Download the brief here.

Best practices in big data analytics

To be successful, providers must develop a deep understanding of customer needs and behaviors and the ability to engage with customers using technology. In this context, customer data is paramount to effective product development and delivery. However, while there are emerging opportunities, there are also challenges around collecting, maintaining, and analyzing customer data. Organizations cannot…

What is the commercial landscape of digital finance?

This Snapshot focuses on the changes in the landscape of digital commercial offerings, with particular emphasis on the rise of digital data trails and alternative lenders. It also discusses business case considerations for digital finance providers. Download the snapshot here.

How can users begin to keep value digital, longer?

Customers keep value digital either with the intention of saving or for convenience. Beyond the financial inclusion returns of saving or storing money digitally, digital finance providers are eager to drive these behaviors for the return-on-investment from increased transactions taking place within the ecosystem as well as from financial intermediation on the back-end. With infrequent, sporadic use…

How can advances in user experience help meet user needs and enhance user engagement?

To attract and maintain new users, digital finance providers have strived to lower the barrier to entry at every point of interaction. Providers largely believe that easy to use applications can persuade customers to transact more frequently, build trust through transparency, and drive the customer to engage in positive financial habits, such as saving. This snapshot discusses…

How do advances in digital finance interact with dynamics of exclusion?

Worldwide, 2 billion people lack access to formal financial services. The financial inclusion agenda is committed to including this population within the formal financial system. In an ideal world, the digital finance community could design and deploy products, services, programs, and policies specifically designed to serve the excluded—to connect the unconnected, bank the unbanked, empower…

How do clients use digital finance

This snapshot from FiDA focuses on the use or digital and non-digital financial services in the daily life if low-income individuals, and draws some insights as to how we can drive more effective use of digital financial services. Access alone is not reaching the ultimate goal of meaningful financial inclusion. Download the snapshot here.

Which attitudes, behaviors, experiences, and beliefs influence digital finance adoption?

One of the most durable challenges in the global economy is converting a prospect into a customer. This snapshot by FiDA focuses on attitudes and behaviours that influence the adoption and ongoing use of digital financial services (DFS). It discusses the challenges and opportunities in understanding unique behaviors, and the state of the art of connecting with…

Digital Remittances: Now that they’re here, where are they headed?

In this article, Xavier Martin offers a brief history of, and questions what is next for remittances.

Fiscal Policies and Gender Equality

Historically, women around the world have had fewer opportunities than men in education, employment, health care, and politics. The moral argument for gender equality is clear, and the economic evidence is mounting. The International Monetary Fund and other international institutions have worked to help whittle away at the barriers that prevent girls and women from…

Politics of aging: the risk of old age poverty in emerging countries

This paper looked at the risk of old age poverty. It found that there is a growing awareness in societies, amongst governments as well as amongst households of the risk of old age poverty and the need for savings and pension products and policies. However, at the same time we identified also some serious reluctance to change…

Paying Attention to the Poor

This study looks at advertising within emerging markets, and how this impacts on digital business and growth, particularly those that are mobile based. Facebook is discussed as an example who faced challenges and adapted its approach in emerging markets, and theories of how the industry will develop are discussed. Download the study here.    

Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age

Billions of adults across the globe lack access to the financial services they need to achieve even modest levels of financial well-being. Many households and small businesses in emerging markets have no or very limited access to formal financial services. Even in developed countries, they only have access to a limited menu of cost-effective products from financial institutions…

Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance

Financial service providers are discovering that vast business opportunities exist within the lower-income housing markets of the developing world. Housing is a basic human need, and for the majority of households, their home (including land) constitutes their greatest financial asset. Market studies of the “base of the pyramid,” or BOP — defined as the approximately 4 billion people with incomes under US$3,000…

Remittance Prices Worldwide Issue 25

This Report provides data on the cost of sending and receiving small amounts of money from one country to another. Remittance Prices Worldwide covers 367 “country corridors”. The corridors include 48 remittance sending countries and 105 receiving countries.

Demystifying Digital Lending

Digital lending can be a powerful force for financial inclusion. Innovations in digital lending are enabling financial service providers (FSPs) to offer better products to more underserved clients in faster, more cost-efficient, and engaging ways. This Accion Insights paper addresses common concerns, shares insights into new trends shaping digital lending, and distills emerging best practices…

Can Big Data Shape Financial Services in East Africa?

The volume of digital data created by users on the African continent is growing. With this growth come new opportunities for alternative “big data” to catalyze an expansion of financial services to low-income and hard to reach populations. M-Shwari, the high profile micro-savings and loan product developed by Safaricom and Commercial Bank Africa (CBA), has…

Remittance Prices Worldwide

The World Bank put together a summary of remittances prices, tracking average cost over time, by type and by region. Download the report here and see some of the global trends and differences.

Money, Decisions, and Control

This working paper by Ignacio Mas and Gayatri Murthy, explores how people make decisions and choices with money. It then applies this to look at how to create a customer-centric approach to digital financial services that then helps and meets the needs of the poor. Download here

Inclusive Insurance: Closing the Protection Gap for Emerging Customers

This report illuminates the market opportunities and challenges associated with expanding coverage to underserved customer segments and the efforts insurers and banks around the world are making to help them manage and mitigate financial risk.

Mobile Telephony, Financial Inclusion, and Inclusive Growth

The paper employs the multipurpose nature of mobile telephony to investigate its welfare implications using a large sample of households in Ghana. We use seemingly unrelated probit and instrumental variable procedure to test for two related issues: First, we investigate whether mobile telephony promotes pro-poor development by helping households to efficiently allocate consumption and navigate out of poverty. Second, we analyze whether…

Using Digital Tools to Expand Access to Agricultural Insurance

Risk is an inherent feature of agriculture around the globe. The ever-present uncertainties in weather, yields, prices, government policies, global markets, and other factors can cause high volatility in farm income. In developing countries, smallholder farmers (and other small enterprises within the value chain) often do not have access to risk management products such as…

Theory of change (SF 2018-21)

This document outlines the theory of change underlying the results chain of the Strategic Framework, 2018-2021. The full results chain has three tiers – impact, outcomes and outputs – supported by the financing model and institutional enablers. It articulates UNCDF’s priorities in targeting poor and vulnerable populations to reach the last mile, and presents a…

Electronic Transfers in Humanitarian Assistance and Uptake of Financial Services

This report from The Cash Learning Partnership explores case studies on humanitarian electronic transfer (‘e-transfer’) projects in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The projects delivered cash transfers via mobile money. Each case study examines the extent to which recipients used digital financial services (e.g. money transfers, savings, credit, purchases) through mobile money; the factors that affected…

Turning MFI Digital Strategies into Reality

Digital financial services can offer microfinance institutions (MFIs) the benefit of scaling up and extending services and allowing them to be delivered cost effectively and efficiently. However, digital strategies may not be the strength of MFIs and they may not have the knowledge or capabilities needed for successful implementation. The IFC and Mastercard Foundation conducted…

Driving Innovations in Smallholder Engagement: Insights in Service Delivery and Finance

This report on smallholder engagement lays the foundations of what is possible when analytical rigor is brought to smallholder engagement. A platform can be constructed to service the needs of the private sector and bring the right tools and knowledge, so that smallholders can receive bundled packages that serve them more holistically. Through this collaboration,…

The Effects of UNHCR and UNICEF Cash Assistance on Syrian Refugees in Jordan

This study aimed to find out what effects the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) cash assistance has had on beneficiaries’ lives. It had the following objectives: (1) to evaluate beneficiary spending patterns and their effect on family well-being; (2) to evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of…

History of Insurance

A total of USD 4613 billion was spent globally on insurance in 2012. Modern life can hardly be imagined without this form of risk protection. And yet, comparatively little is known about the history of the industry, although it has played a major part in shaping today’s society and culture. Industrialisation, welfare, innovation, economic development,…

More Phones, More Transfers?

This case study from Save the Children’s Emergency Food Security Program explores the use of Mobile Money in Bari, Nugaal, & Hiran Regions of Somalia. The study explores: To what extent has the mobile money project influenced the use of mobile money among the cash recipients? What are the key barriers and enabling factors in…

Finding the Best Fit: One Acre Fund’s integration of digital tools in Kenya

This case study from USAID is part of a series highlighting the integration of digital technologies into agricultural programs. Over the past ten years, and particularly over the past five, the use of mobile phones and Internet-based, digital tools in farming activities has sky-rocketed. This is largely due to the widespread adoption of mobile phones…

Blockchain Meets Agriculture: Supply Chain Transformation Possibilities

This is part 5 of a Digital Green Revolution (in India) series. It focuses on blockchain and its application within the agriculture value chain. Four examples are outlined to give ideas for its implementation.

Rural Finance: Recent Advances and Emerging Lessons, Debates and Opportunities

Rural finance remains very challenging and in developing countries it is generally weak, despite the efforts of donors, governments and private investors to improve it. However, important lessons are emerging from these experiences that provide useful guidelines on how to expand and make more effective the provision of rural financial services. This report examines these…

Alternative data transforming SME finance

Access to financing remains one of the most significant constraints to the survival, growth, and productivity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (SMEs). The SME credit gap has proven to be an enduring structural feature across both developing and developed markets, even in countries that have enacted a variety of policy measures to support SMEs…

Farming for a Profit: Technical Guidance for Smallholder Financial Planning

Smallholder farmers need to understand the production costs and profitability of their existing farming systems to realize the potential of investing in new approaches. This guide to farming for a profit gives practical advice on financial skills, step-by-step instructions for calculations, an introduction to business plan development, and key resources for further reading. This guidance…

Index Insurance for Developing Country Agriculture: A Reassessment

With uninsured risk representing a major hurdle to investment, productivity growth, and poverty reduction in developing country smallholder agriculture, index-based agricultural insurance has offered the promise of overcoming the hurdles of traditional indemnity-based insurance for this context. In spite of extensive experimentation, take-up has been disappointingly low without large and sustained subsidies. This paper shows…

Tiny Loans Big Questions: Client Protection in Mobile Consumer Credit

Very small instant consumer loans have ballooned from 11 deployments in 2011, to 52 in 2016, with a particular concentration in East Africa. In just a few years, through models such as M-Shwari, M-Pawa, Tala and Airtel Money, tens of millions of people have borrowed tiny amounts over their phones. These services represent an enormous…

A Framework for Small Balance Deposit Mobilization

This framework for small balance deposit mobilization includes a research paper, Pulling Levers Toward Sustainability – A Framework for Small Balance Deposit Mobilization (above), and a four-part series of case studies which demonstrate the use of the Decision Framework for Small Balance Deposit Mobilization (SBDM), including case studies from Fidelity Bank and Sinapi Aba in Ghana, UGAFODE in Uganda, and NBS Bank…

Money, Decisions, and Control. Building Digital Financial Services That Help Poor Customers Cope and Strategize

Beyond payments, finance is also about day-to-day money management, decision-making, and coping strategies that end in individual payments and transactions. We are beginning to see new digital tools, such as Flexipay and MChanga, that help low-income customers leverage social networks to bridge temporary gaps in cash flows. Other services, such as Paygo Solar, leverage digital…

What are savings groups?

Many savings groups’ initiatives are born locally, in a decentralized manner, and stem from long-standing cultural practices. Savings clubs, mutual aid groups, rotating savings and credit associations, and cumulative savings and credit associations are examples of methodologies and practices commonly found in various Latin American and Caribbean countries. This note outlines the characteristics of savings…

Guidelines on International Remittances through Mobile Money

This set of guidelines illustrates how the mobile money industry is collaborating to ensure international remittances are facilitated in a safe and secure manner, consistent with global standards and local monetary policies and regulations. The working paper comprises an overview of the industry’s best practices, technical and operational considerations, and examples of how the guidelines…

Considerations for Modernising South Africa’s Low Value Payments Infrastructure

This document is the final artefact in a major research effort on payment system modernisation sponsored by BankservAfrica and PASA. The research is divided into two parts: Phase 1A compares the goals, drivers, features, and processes of low value payments infrastructure (LVPI) modernisation across ten countries, including South Africa. While Phase 1B provides a substantiated…

Digital Financial Services in Uganda: Uganda’s Tea Payments Profile

Uganda experiences the favourable climate that is necessary for tea growing. Tea growing was introduced during the colonial days, and by the mid-1950s, tea production and export had made tea Uganda’s main estate crop. Today, tea is Uganda’s second largest foreign export earner (after coffee), with over 21,000 hectares of land dedicated to its growth…

Customer Segmentation Toolkit

Financial service providers have traditionally categorized low-income customers into a single market segment. But many organizations are beginning to see expanded business potential as they learn that low-income markets are far from just a single segment. People’s worries, wants, needs, and behaviors are nuanced, and customer segmentation is the method that explores and identifies opportunities in these…

The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report: Building a Secure and Inclusive Global Financial Ecosystem

The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) report evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 26 geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries.

De-Risking and the Great Unbanking Challenge

This article by Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, is a broad view of de-risking, his opinions on some of the developments that he read, heard and witnessed leading up to the “De-Risking Forum” at IMTC WORLD 2017.

Managing Cash-based Programmes in a Volatile Markets Context

This case study from Care International explores the first large-scale humanitarian cash programme in Zimbabwe and presents learning and recommendations on how to design and adapt cash transfer programmes to mitigate the risk of a cash liquidity crisis. The study explores how the programme, which delivered cash through mobile money, coped with a national cash…

The Future of Digital Payments In Europe

This White Paper provides an essential appraisal of the key trends in this rapidly developing marketplace, highlighting the primary factors shaping growth and assessing the opportunities presented by emerging payment mechanisms. It also presents a series of recommendations for current and prospective players across the payments value chain.

Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, one family at a time

This report by IFAD provides data and analysis of remittances and migration trends for developing countries over the past decade, as well as the potential contributions of remittance families to reaching the SDGs by 2030.

Cost of sending money from the UK to Africa

This Remittances Infographic produced by FSD Africa shows the varied cost of transferring money from UK to Africa. Kenya, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt have some of the lower costs, whilst a remittances to Tanzania and Ethiopia paid the highest prices.  

Social Norms Change for Women’s Financial Inclusion

Despite decades-long efforts by financial inclusion development practitioners, women continue to lag behind men in access to formal accounts. Sectors, such as health and education, have seen significant advances in women’s participation and corresponding behavior change by both men and women. Financial inclusion could do a lot more to learn from how other sectors have…

Valuing Microfinance Institutions

While the valuation of microfinance institutions (MFIs) may be more of an art than a science, the practice within the equity investment community remains opaque, inconsistent and overly complex. This paper summarizes the challenges impact investors face when valuing MFIs–from which methodologies to use and what assumptions to make, to how to factor in the…

Reducing Costs and Scaling Up UK to Africa Remittances Through Technology

Over the past two decades, there has been a digital revolution with pioneering developments in the form of the internet, email and mobile phones transforming the way information is accessed and communication takes place. For many market analysts, cross-border payments are the next frontier, where innovative technologies will challenge the expensive, clunky business models that…

Currency of Trust: Consumer Behaviors and Attitudes Toward Digital Financial Services in India

In the past few years, India has made tremendous progress in building infrastructure and regulatory frameworks that encourage digital innovation in financial services, but adoption and usage of new offerings have been slow to take hold and scale. This report aims to bring the voice of the consumer to the forefront of the discussion around…

Mainstreaming Gender and Targeting Women in Inclusive Insurance: Perspectives and Emerging Lessons

This collection of notes and case studies, Mainstreaming Gender and Targeting Women in Inclusive Insurance: Perspectives and Emerging Lessons, covers a number of themes related to demand and supply of insurance products for women, with a focus on the inclusive insurance market—which seeks to include clients who either don’t have insurance or lack the right…

Beyond Financial Inclusion: Financial Health as a Global Framework

Over the course of 2016, Centre for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), in collaboration with the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG), evaluated hypotheses,  conducted research, convened thought-leaders, and tested assumptions, all for the purpose of determining the validity of financial health as a core concept internationally. Teams worked…

Reinventing Remittances with Bitcoin

This book is for Bitcoin enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and industry veterans who wish to fully understand the Bitcoin-powered remittance process that startups around the world have been working on since 2013. It’s our hope that sharing these stories and data in a structured and well-packaged format will contribute to the rapid growth of the global crypto-money…

The March Towards Digital Money:Bringing The Underbanked In FromThe Cold

The 2017 Index represents more of a shuffling than shifting of countries in their comparative readiness to embrace digital money. Overall,there has not been significant movement across categories. Rather, it’s been a story of small movement within the higher clusters and significant fluctuation within the lower ones. Consistent with last year’s findings, the research suggests…

Beyond Financial Inclusion: Financial Health as a Global Framework

Over the course of 2016, CFSI, in collaboration with the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG), evaluated hypotheses, conducted research, convened thought-leaders, and tested assumptions, all for the purpose of determining the validity of financial health as a core concept internationally. Teams worked to understand the necessary adaptations…

Digitising P2G Payments: A Global Landscape Study

At an estimated USD 8 trillion across the globe and USD 375 billion in lowand lower-middle-income countries alone, person-to-government (P2G) payments make up a significant part of the payments landscape. The value proposition for digitising these payments is clear and compelling. This paper explores the potential benefits of digitising P2G payments, challenges and factors which…

Financial Inclusion in Refugee Economies

This paper by Kim Wilson and Roxani Krystalli is an editorial essay, with insights informed by a study on the financial journeys of refugees conducted in Greece, Jordan, Turkey, and Denmark in July and August 2016. This essay begins by providing a brief overview of financial inclusion and the “digital/formal” trends. It proceeds to discuss…

Prepaid Card Products for Humanitarian Programs: Actors, Insights & Recommendations

Today, over 130 million people need humanitarian support to survive. Fortunately, new tools such as prepaid cards allow us to respond to these needs with increasing flexibility and efficiency. Today’s leading humanitarian agencies are increasing their use of prepaid cards in places like Jordan, the Philippines, Greece and Turkey, where payments infrastructure is relatively well-developed.…

Driving a price revolution: Mobile money in international remittances

In August 2016, the GSMA commissioned an independent data collection exercise to assess the impact of mobile money on reducing the cost of remittances.   The results show that mobile money is driving a price revolution in international remittances. It is doing this by increasing competition, leveraging existing networks and infrastructure, and capturing smaller remittance…

Mobile money crosses borders: New remittance models in West Africa

A promising new model is emerging for cross-border remittances with mobile money as both the sending and the receiving channel. This paper from GSMA draws commercial insights from two early examples in the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU), where member states are socio-economically integrated and adoption of mobile money has been rapid in recent…

Financing the Frontier: Inclusive Financial Sector Development in Fragility-Affected States in Africa

Poverty rates in Africa’s states and regions considered ‘fragility-affected’ (DFID, 2016) are, on average, 20% higher than countries with comparable levels of economic development. The gap is widest for countries affected by repeated cycles of violence. Finance can play a crucial role in poverty and conflict cycles, as lack of equitable access to financial services…

Global Migration’s Impact and Opportunity

Migration has become a flashpoint for debate in many countries. But McKinsey Global Institute research finds that it generates significant economic benefits—and more effective integration of immigrants could increase those benefits.

G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion

The G20 stands at an unprecedented time when leadership has the potential to drive the growth of inclusive economies by promoting digital financial services. Two billion adults globally do not have access to formal financial services and are excluded from opportunities to improve their lives. While tremendous gains in financial inclusion have already been achieved,…

G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion

The Group of Twenty (G20) recognizes the key role of financial inclusion in helping to move towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy. In this decade, digital finance has already successfully improved access to finance by women, the poor, the young, the elderly, farmers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other underserved customer…

Emerging SMEs—Secrets to Growth from Micro to Small Enterprise

This analysis, conducted in three markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, highlights the characteristics of SME owners whose businesses have overcome significant hurdles and grown from their initial micro size.

Crop Insurance, an Idea Worth Seeding

Across sub-Saharan Africa, small farmers are the bedrock of national and regional economies—unless the weather proves unpredictable and their crops fail. The solution is insurance, at a vast, continental scale, and at a very low, affordable cost. Rose Goslinga, a citizen of Kenya, and her team pioneered an unconventional way to give farmers whose crops…

Revisiting What Works: Women, Economic Empowerment and Smart Design

Expanding women’s economic opportunities benefits both women and society. While these benefits are increasingly well understood, much less is known regarding the most effective interventions to empower women economically. Updated evidence presented in the full Revisiting What Works: Women, Economic Empowerment and Smart Design Report yields useful insights on the interventions that may contribute to women’s…

Inflection Point: Unlocking growth in the era of farmer finance

The 2012 report titled Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance, produced by Dalberg with support from the Citi Foundation and the Skoll Foundation, characterized the smallholder finance market and identified growth pathways to address the largely unmet demand for finance. In the years since, the smallholder finance sector has made significant strides in understanding the challenges of…

Financial Diaries with Smallholder Families

How do small-scale agricultural producers manage their money, and what do their strategies tell us about their need for financial tools? Globally there are approximately 500 million smallholder households – around 2 billion people – who rely on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods. These households, who make up a large portion of the world’s poor living…

Cash on Trial – Informal Payments, Crime Control and Fragile Communities

SUERF organised a combined evening event (in German at the University of Zurich) and one-day conference (in English at the theatre ‘Millers’ in Zurich) to take stock of the arguments brought forward in the current debate on the pros and cons and, more generally, the future of cash. This collection, Cash on Trial discusses the…

Government to Person Transfers

In this research, Guy Stuart, CFI Fellow and Executive Director of Microfinance Opportunities, assesses whether and how G2P payments increase formal financial inclusion. Stuart coupled observations, interviews and focus groups in Colombia and Pakistan with extensive analysis of reports on G2P payments covering 19 countries and quantitative data from the World Bank Global Findex.

The State of Linkage Report: The first global mapping of savings group linkage

The State of Linkage Report provides, for the first time, a global mapping of linkage activity – the process through which informal savings groups are able to access products and services from formal financial service providers (FSPs). The report identifies where linkage is taking place, the organisations that are currently offering group savings and credit…

Is There a Business Case for Small Savers?

This study by CGAP examines quantitatively whether or not small savers—defined here as the half of all savings clients of a microfinance institution (MFI) with the smallest deposit account balances—contribute to or undermine the sustainability of the MFI. MFI sustainability has long been accorded a place of central importance in microfinance for reasons that are…

Seven Keys to Success for Mobile Microinsurance

This GSMA blog post summarises the key lessons from digital insurance around the world. While mobile insurance products hold the promise of scale, lower distribution costs, adjacent benefits for insurers and mobile operators, and act as first-level enablers of financial inclusion, thus far many initiatives have struggled to realise their full potential. They face challenges such…

Can the digitalisation of microinsurance make all the difference? Assessing the growth potential of digital microinsurance

BFA co-authored this paper which examines the use of technology in microinsurance and insurance sold through and with mobile operators. The study, commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides an overview of recent developments in the sector and assesses whether digital microinsurance can provide the growth injection the microinsurance market needs to manage…

Digital finance for all: Powering inclusive growth in emerging economies

The report by Mckinsey is the first to comprehensively quantify the economic and social impact to emerging economies of digital finance, or financial services delivered via digital technologies– mobile phones or the Internet–with less use of cash and traditional bank branches. In addition to extensive economic modeling, we draw on findings from seven country visits…

Research and Impacts of Digital Financial Services

A growing body of rigorous research shows that financial services innovations can have important positive impacts on wellbeing, but also that many do not. This paper describes the latest evidence on what works in financial inclusion. The paper also summarize research on key financial market failures and on products and innovations that address specific mechanisms…

Africa Payments: Insights into African transaction flows

‘Africa is rising’ is a powerful phrase these days. The rising middle class will undoubtedly help to drive up demand for consumer goods, creating the business case for African firms to upgrade their production processes and expand their businesses. As Africa pursues deeper economic integration, facilitation of payments across borders and integration of financial markets…

Remittances and markets in Somalia

Each year, Somali migrants around the world send approximately $1.3 bil