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A Digital Financial Services Revolution in Kenya: The M-Pesa Case Study

This case study aims to contribute to the discussion around appropriate regulatory and policy issues of mobile money by focusing on actions that the Central Bank of Kenya took to help M-Pesa grow in a sustainable way.

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…

Winning the Low-Income Market: Assessing the State of Product Development in the Nigerian Financial Service Industry

The report addresses the third ecosystem pillar – the institutional/regulatory component, with specific focus on the legislation, policies, and regulations. The policy analysis unearthed critical policy constraints and guided by the doctrinal interpretations of existing laws, market-enabling policy solutions evolved. Our presentation focuses on material financial inclusion issues, the guiding laws, and solution proposals. This…

How to conduct meta-analysis: A Basic Tutorial

This paper is a basic introduction to the process of meta-analysis.

Engaging with Evidence in Impact Measurement

This case study was conducted by 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…

Research Validity in Experimental Research

This post explains internal and external validity, as well as the threats to validity.

Statistical Significance Explained

What does it mean to prove something with data? This post explains statistical significance.

The Complete Guide To A/B Testing

A/B testing is one of the components of the overarching process of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) using which you can gather both qualitative and quantitative user insights and use them to understand your potential customers and to optimize your conversion funnel based on that data. This eBook provides a guide on A/B testing.

Central Bank Digital Currencies Tracker

Central Bank Digital Currencies are an interesting topic right now. If you are interested in seeing what is happening with CBDCs, click on this link, which tracks developments across the globe.

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…

Evaluation of Banking and Non-Banking Agent Networks

This report presents the results of the evaluation study on bank and non-bank agents and the users of their services in Maputo City and Province in Mozambique.

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…

Regulatory Flexibility During the Pandemic: Emerging Lessons

When financial sectors are buffeted by sudden and dramatic external shocks, regulators strive to implement targeted regulatory responses to mitigate negative impacts — and the shocks made by the pandemic were no exception. The aim of this policy report is to examine the types of regulatory flexibility adopted in response to the pandemic and provide…

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…

2021 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money

2020 was a year like no other. In every region of the world, COVID-19 triggered a mix of responses, from school and workplace closures to restrictions on movement to complete lockdown. All at once, handling cash, paying for daily essentials, and conducting business in person became risky, and more people than ever turned to mobile…

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…

Blockchain: A Technology That is Changing the World for the Better

Considered for long a new technology, blockchain is developing fast, and is quickly becoming a key player in many industries. If there was no doubt of the importance of blockchain technology a few years ago, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has certainly confronted the whole world with an unprecedented challenge, has turbocharged a financial technology…

The Digital Rupee: An Important Tool to Promote Financial Inclusion

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly confronted the whole world with an unprecedented challenge, but, at the same time, it has turbocharged a financial technology (Fintech) revolution worldwide. COVID-19 is changing consumer behavior, quite likely forever, and the banking and financial services industry urgently needs to adapt. Digital transformation has quickly become the top priority…

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…

Ready, Steady, Go? – Results of the Third BIS Survey on Central Bank Digital Currency

Most central banks are exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and their work continues apace amid the Covid-19 pandemic. As a whole, central banks are moving into more advanced stages of CBDC engagement, progressing from conceptual research to practical experimentation. This BIS paper updates earlier surveys that asked central banks how their plans in this…

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…

Consumer Protection for Digital Financial Services: A Survey of the Policy Landscape

Digital financial services have contributed to the expansion of financial inclusion in the last decade, but there are certain consumer protection risks that may threaten to erode the important gains achieved. These risks have compelled regulators to rethink their approach to supervising consumer protection for digital financial services (CP4DFS). Through examples and case studies, this…

A Tough Call: Understanding Barriers to and Impacts of Women’s Mobile Phone Adoption in India

Today in India, 67% percent of men own mobile phones, but only 33% percent of women do. South Asian countries in general are clear outliers among countries of similar levels of development, with India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh exhibiting some of the world’s highest gender gaps in access to technology. While the mobile gender gap matters…

The Economic Impact of Mobile Phones on Low-Income Households

One of the most important technological advances over the last quarter-century has been the global diffusion of mobile phones. While the economic benefits from the mobile phone revolution are far-reaching, the greatest potential impact holds for the poorest—those who traditionally face steep barriers to long-distance communication, acquiring market information, and utilizing financial institutions. This research…

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 Digital Yuan, Where Are We Now? Latest Developments.

The Digital Yuan or DCEP is having and will have tremendous importance, not only for China but globally. For China, because, if successful, the Digital Yuan will become an effective domestic tool not only for facilitating consumers’ retail payments, but also to enhance the yuan as a payments currency in the global financial system. In…

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…

A Pan-Asian Digital Currency Would Bring Many Opportunities to China

Many authors and scholars have advocated the introduction of an Asian digital common currency covering the whole of the East Asia region as a multilateral synthetic currency comparable to the Euro. Even though this is just a suggestion, it is unclear whether Asia will put in practice or not. In this article,  Dr Oriol Caudevilla…

The RCEP, A Boost for Trade and Central Bank Digital Currencies in Asia

One of the world’s largest free-trade deals in history, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),was signed last November 15, after eight years of negotiations. It is composed of fifteen countries (all ten members of ASEAN -Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam-, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand),…

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…

Global COVID-19 FinTech Market Rapid Assessment Study

Covid-19 has profoundly impacted financial systems across the world, including the provision of digital financial services and the functioning of FinTech markets. Recent anecdotal evidence suggests that the socio economic shocks associated with the global pandemic have severely disrupted some FinTech sectors, created opportunities to others and introduced a state of flux for many. As…

What is the Value of Pay-As-You-Go Solar for Mobile Operators?

The rapid growth of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar has been enabled by mobile money and mobile connectivity that allows customers to pay by instalments, and companies to remotely control and monitor the solar home systems (SHS). And in turn, the PAYG solar industry has helped to drive the adoption and use of mobile money, by giving…

Are the Effects of Mobile Money Regulation Gender Neutral?

According to the latest Global Findex data (2017), there are 1.7 billion ‘unbanked’ people in the world, the majority of whom are women. With 290 live deployments in 95 countries, mobile money has laid a firm footprint in many low- and middle-income countries and is an available option for many unbanked individuals to access financial…

What Makes Customers Choose One Transaction Product Over Another?

There has been tremendous progress when it comes to improving access to financial services, with 515 million more adults globally reporting account ownership at a financial institution or a mobile money provider in 2017 than in 2014, for a total of 69% of the world population. However, to improve the overall financial well-being of customers,…

Fintech Regulation: How to Achieve a Level Playing Field

How regulation should evolve to encourage fair competition between traditional banks and new fintech and big tech players is now being debated. Some advocate moving from an entity-based to an activity based regulatory approach under the principle “same activity, same regulation”. However, there is only limited scope for further harmonising the requirements for different players…

Regulatory Sandboxes: A Practical Guide for Policy Makers

What is a regulatory sandbox? A formal regulatory initiative: ➢ to test innovation ➢ in the live marketplace ➢ on a time- and scope-limited basis ➢ to determine the appropriate regulatory treatment/status ➢ before the innovation can fully operate in the marketplace …where other options fall short This visual guide from CGAP walks you through…

Permissioned Distributed Ledgers and the Governance of Money

Since the late 1990s, monetary theorists have regarded money in general and cash in particular as a substitute for a publicly available and freely accessible record-keeping device. Theoretically, cash could be replaced by a public ledger recording all past and present transactions. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is such a record-keeping device that can ensure trade…

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,…

Building Faster Better: A Guide to Inclusive Instant Payment Systems

Today, digital technologies provide the on the on-ramp for many people in emerging markets to access and use financial services. However, many of the payment services available to low-income customers have evolved as closed-loop systems, meaning they are not interoperable with the services of other providers. This guide from CGAP is intended to be a…

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.

Agent Network Journeys Toward the Last Mile: A Cross-Country Perspective

Agent  Networks are a critical interface between poor customers and digital financial services (DFS) providers. These networks enable cash-in and cash-out (CICO) transactions that allow customers to convert e-money into cash and cash into e-money—enabling the use of DFS. Therefore, the broader the reach of CICO agent networks, the broader the customer base for DFS…

Financial Inclusion, Regulation and Financially Empowering Africa with Nolwazi Hlophe

Nolwazi Hlophe from the Digital Frontiers Institute talks about financial inclusion, connecting Africa to the world through FinTech and education in rural communities. A great chat about innovation, education, and everything financial in between. Have a listen here!

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…

Exploring the Relationship between Mobile Money Regulation and Usage

Mobile money has helped reduce the financial exclusion gap in low- and middle-income countries, with more than 1 billion registered accounts at the end of 2019. In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost half of mobile money users are reliant solely on mobile money to access financial services. The link between an enabling regulatory framework and a successful…

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…

FATF Update-COVID-19-Related-Money-Laundering-and-Terrorist-Financing-Risks

On 16 December 2020, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) published this paper providing entities with additional information on COVID-19 related to money laundering and terrorist financing risks. The paper covers both changes in predicate offenses and changes in money laundering and terrorist financing activity. It provides selected case studies, displaying criminal activity that has…

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…

An Unlevel Playing Field: Why Small Businesses Face Disadvantages in Digital Commerce – and How Inclusive Tech Innovations Could Help

COVID-19 has been catastrophic for many sectors and surprisingly beneficial for some – but it’s been especially damaging for micro and small enterprises (MSEs), which are losing business and shuttering at rates faster than large businesses. Whereas large businesses have the market share to withstand this disruption and the cash to make adjustments, corner stores…

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…

Digital Financial Services in Nigeria – State of the Market Report 2020

This 2020 State of the Market Report explores the state of digital financial services and financial inclusion, providing insights about consumers, providers and regulatory issues in Nigeria. This year’s report focuses on product-market fit across three highly underserved and largely under-represented customer segments – rural dwellers, women and youth. The 2018 National Financial Inclusion Strategy…

Project Helvetia – Settling tokenised assets in central bank money

The Swiss National Bank, The Bank for International Settlements’ Innovation Hub (BISIH) Swiss Centre, and SIX Digital Exchange have published the Helvetia report, a two proofs-of-concepts experiment using “near-live” systems to settle digital assets on a distributed ledger with central bank money.   The initiative demonstrated the feasibility and legal robustness of issuing a wholesale CBDC onto a distributed digital asset…

Inclusive AML-CFT Models in Africa: Lessons from Six Financial Service Providers

An inclusive compliance model is a compliance approach that minimises the cost of compliance while still adequately managing risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML-FT). Therefore, inclusive compliance models enable financial institutions to proportionately allocate resources in a way that advances financial inclusion and drives implementation of risk-based approaches. Developing an inclusive compliance…

Handbook on Merchant Payments and Digital Financial Services

This handbook is designed for digital financial service providers wishing to build and manage merchant acceptance networks. Such providers typically include financial institutions, mobile network operators, fintechs, payment service firms, and the like. For these providers, expanding into merchant payments enables them to offer a wider ecosystem of products and services for existing and new…

Open Banking: How to Design for Financial Inclusion (Paper)

Open banking regimes allow a wide range of users, including fintechs, to access the customer data locked inside banks and other financial institutions to develop innovative financial products and services that are lower cost and better suited to the needs of consumers. While many policy makers and regulators in emerging and developing markets recognize the…

The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2020

This report suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the digital landscape around the world. The mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa has largely risen to the challenge of keeping individuals and businesses connected during the pandemic, despite changes in data consumption patterns. However, with nearly 800 million people in the region…

What Value do Open APIs bring to the Mobile Money Landscape?

GSMA hosted a four-day industry convening, looking at Open APIs in the mobile money industry. Following growing industry interest in API strategies, providers can drive ecosystem development, enable third-parties to innovate on valuable services, and generate new revenue streams. The interactive event was attended by key business and technical industry stakeholders from mobile money providers,…

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…

Win From Within: How Fintech Startups Can Grow by Building Value for Existing Users

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the realities for inclusive fintech startups and the financially underserved customers they serve. Coping with lockdowns and social distancing, low-income people around the world are now turning to fintechs to save money, purchase insurance, or transact remotely. But fintechs are facing their own challenges, including unpredictable funding, a volatile investment…

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…

Digital Credit Regulation in Tanzania

This case study highlights some key factors that can contribute to the development of responsible digital credit guidelines for regulators and DFS providers, based primarily on the Tanzanian digital credit experience.

Artificial Intelligence and Start-Ups in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Progress, Promises and Perils

This study examines the current use of AI in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The report maps a sample of 450 AI start-ups in LMICs in Africa and South and Southeast Asia, most of which are early-stage, home-grown solutions with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also explores trends and challenges…

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…

The Potential of Digital Platforms as Distributors and Enablers of Financial Services in Africa

The past decade has seen the emergence of digital platforms, which connect buyers and sellers of goods and services and allow them to seamlessly transact with one another online. The platform economy is expected to grow to USD405 billion by 2030, with most of this growth coming from emerging markets. In this series, CENFRI is…

AI Experiments

AI Experiments is a showcase for simple experiments that make it easier for anyone to start exploring machine learning, through pictures, drawings, language, music, and more.

Inside the Regulatory Sandbox: Effects on Fintech Funding

The rise of fintechs promises to spur competition in the financial sector. This could lead to sizeable efficiency gains, more choice for consumers, and enhanced financial inclusion. However, the potentially disruptive growth of firms offering novel products and services poses new challenges for financial stability and consumer protection. In response, policymakers around the world are…

Policy Model on Consumer Protection for Digital Financial Services

The Digital Financial Services Working Group (DFSWG) and the Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct Working Groups (CEMCWG) codified key policy guidance from relevant AFI knowledge products developed over the decade, coupled with best practices within the AFI network, in a policy model on Consumer Protection for DFS (CP4DFS).

Consumer Protection and COVID-19: Borrower Risks as Economies Reopen

Credit, if managed responsibly, can help financial services providers (FSPs) and their lower income customers resume economic activity and rebuild livelihoods damaged by lockdowns and other measures brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. However, lockdowns have put consumers in financial need and providers under stress, setting the stage for consumer protection challenges to emerge around…

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.

Inclusive Digital Banking: Emerging Markets Case Studies

This Working Paper tells the stories of three of these banks: TymeBank in South Africa, Kotak 811 in India, and UnionBank in the Philippines. It takes a detailed look into how the selected businesses operate in their markets, what they do differently from traditional players, and how they are contributing to financial inclusion.

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…

Dirty Money: Does the Risk of Infectious Disease Lower Demand for Cash?

The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis like no other in modern times, and there is a growing apprehension about handling potentially contaminated cash. The IMF has produced this paper as the first empirical attempt in the literature to investigate whether the risk of infectious diseases affects demand for physical cash. That being said, it…

Regional Policy Framework To Strengthen Agent Networks For Digital Financial Services (DFS)

A proper functioning agent network is critical for the overall growth, performance, and sustainability of any Digital Financial Services (DFS) ecosystem. It is critical to ensure that agent networks are properly set up, well-managed, effectively regulated, and supervised in a prudent manner to ensure that the customers they serve, receive suitable high-quality products and services,…

Rapid Innovation: How Fintechs are Adapting Under COVID-19

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

Guide to Remote Due Diligence

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

Ghana’s Identification Ecosystem

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

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

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

Open Banking: How to Design for Financial Inclusion (Webinar)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2020

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

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

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

Leveraging Islamic Fintech to Improve Financial Inclusion

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

Introduction to Open APIs for Digital Finance

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

COVID-19 and SME Failures

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

Debt Restructuring in Microfinance

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

South Korea’s and Japan’s Central Banks Will Start Testing their CBDCs in 2021

In April 2020, after several years of work, the Chinese Government announced the starting of the tests of the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), DCEP (Digital Currency Electronic Payment), in four major cities. However, many other Asian countries have shown their interest in developing and potentially deploying their own CBDCs. This list includes countries…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bank of England Settlement Accounts

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

Promoting Digital and Innovative SME Financing

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

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

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

G20/OECD INFE Policy Guidance on Digitalisation and Financial Literacy

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

G20 Fukuoka Policy Priorities on Aging and Financial Inclusion

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

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

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

Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion

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

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

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

Policy Model for National Financial Inclusion Strategy

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

Digitizing Savings Groups: Evidence from Tanzania

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

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

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

Data Protection and Privacy for Alternative Data

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

Cybersecurity and Financial Inclusion: Protecting Customers, Building Trust

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

How Gender Impacts Insurance Perceptions

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

The Hidden Pitfalls of Digitalisation

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

Who are the Innovators, MFIs or Commercial Banks?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Podcast Series

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

Igniting SDG Progress Through Digital Financial Inclusion

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

Financial Literacy Training Toolkit for Refugees

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

Instant Payments and Guidelines for the Brazilian Instant Payments Ecosystem

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

Identity Proofing for COVID-19 Recovery

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

Digital Agriculture Maps

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

Connected Society Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit

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

Global State of Small Business

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

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

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

Measuring Microfinance Impact: A Practitioner Perspective and Working Methodology

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

A Framework for Understanding the Financial Health of MSME Entrepreneurs

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

GSMA Mobile Money API

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

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

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

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

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

(Un)stacking Financial Market Infrastructure

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

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

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

Global Microscope 2019: The Enabling Environment for Financial Inclusion

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

Case Study: Modernizing the Customer Experience Through Communications Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact of Covid-19 on Fintechs

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

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

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

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

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

Decoupling Fintech Regulations from Mainstream Banks: A Catalyst for Innovation

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

Financial Inclusion Compass

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

Women, Work and ID

Digital identity — or identification in a digital age — is often pursued from the supply side, in terms of increasing access to legal identification. Caribou Digital, supported by the Australian Government, through the Commonwealth Digital Identity Initiative, conducted qualitative research on women, work and ID in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2019. This report, shares…

Eswatini Central Bank Digital Currency Diagnostic Study

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

Financial Inclusion for Fishing Communities through Digital Identity – Mobitel Sri Lanka

The Mobile for Development Digital Identity programme has been supporting digital identity innovations to improve lives across Asia and Africa. Here is a mobile digital identity use case, of enabling financial inclusion for informal fishing communities in Sri Lanka, developed in partnership with Mobitel Sri Lanka.

Lending Volumes to Agricultural SMEs Falling Short

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

Technology Building Blocks for an Open API Strategy

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

How to Engage Third Parties with Your Open APIs

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

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

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

Living on Little – Kenya Financial Diaries

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

Making Mobile Phones Affordable in Malawi

Mobile technology plays a huge role in financial inclusion and accessibility. This article talks about the affordability of mobile phones and the impacts of that in Malawi.

Good ID in Latin America

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

The Global State of Small Business Report

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

Garment Worker Diary Reports

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

Inclusive Tech: Overcoming Barriers to Scale in Emerging Markets

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

The Journeys Project

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

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

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

General Information on Client Protection Law and Regulation

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

Case Study: Women’s Empowerment through Financial Inclusion Technology

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

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

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

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

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

How the Development Sector is Channeling Money to Digital Financial Services

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

How to Measure the Gender Impact of Investments

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

Finance for Smallholders

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

Policy Options in a Post-COVID-19 Africa

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

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…

Could the Poor Bank on Stablecoins?

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

Innovative Agri-Finance Challenge Fund Playbook

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

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

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

Inclusive FinTechs in Francophone Africa: Benin report

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

India’s New Approach to Personal Data-Sharing

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

Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advancing the Digital Financial Inclusion of Youth

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

Governing Artificial Intelligence in Banking

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

Payment aspects of Financial Inclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central Banks and Payments in the Digital Era

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

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…

The Global Fintech Index

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

MSME Finance Gap Data

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

Inclusive Integrity Toolkit

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

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

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

Biometric Recognition and Authentication Systems

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

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

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

The Hidden Costs of Cash to Ghana’s Cocoa Sector

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

The Causes and Consequences of Mobile Money Taxation

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

Digital Savings Groups

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

A Survey of Research on Retail Central Bank Digital Currency

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

Innovative Mobile Digital Identity Solutions: Financial Inclusion and Birth Registration

This case study looks at two start-ups that are using mobile technology to establish functional and foundational identities in the Caribbean and Burkina Faso, and looks at how those could be developed to provide people with further access to services.

Innovation Ecosystems

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

Covid-19 and Remittances in Africa

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

How Mobile Money is Increasingly Interoperable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…

Regulating Financial Services in an Era of Technological Disruption

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

The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Fintech Adoption

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

Microinsurance Case Brief: Mozambique

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

MTN MoMo Pay Merchant Payments: Expanding Women’s Mobile Money Use in Ghana

Access to financial services can be a critical driver of economic growth and opportunity. In Ghana, mobile money has opened access to financial services for millions of people for the first time, strengthening the payment ecosystem and deepening financial inclusion. Despite its capacity to widen access to financial services, mobile money has not proven to…

Agricultural Insurance for Smallholder Farmers: Digital Innovations for Scale

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

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

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

Ghana’s Digital Financial Services Policy

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

Mozambique Annual Fintech Report 2019

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

COVID-19 Changing the Landscape for Migrants and Remittances

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

Identity at the Margins: A Journey Continued

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

VSLA and CARE Adaptations to COVID-19 and Past Crises

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

Golbal Dialogue on Regulatory Approaches for Inclusive FinTech

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

Opportunities for Improving Digital Identification in Social Cash Transfer Programmes through Mobile: Insights from Kenya and Malawi

Through qualitative and quantitative research with more than 540 people across the two countries – including experts from the mobile industry, international development community, and private sector – GSMA identified and explored a range of insights and opportunity areas for mobile.

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…

How to Apply Machine Learning to Business Problems

This article, breaks down categories of business problems that are commonly handled by ML, and provides actionable advice to begin a ML initiative with the right approach and perspective.

G2P: Fiji’s Electronic Welfare Transfer System

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

Partnering During Crisis

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

Digitizing Payments in the Time of COVID19 and Beyond

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

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

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

CICO Agents: The Under-Valued “First Responders”

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

Gender and Financial Misconduct: A Field Experiment on Mobile Money

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

The GSMA AgriTech Toolkit for the Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains

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

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

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

Achieving Business Impact with Data

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

Testing “Lenga” a New Financial Education Kit in Tanzania

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

Savings at the Frontier – Getting closer

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

Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion in the Fintech Era

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

Access to Mobile Services and Proof of Identity

The ability to prove one’s identity is essential to securing both rights and access to a number of life-enhancing services including healthcare, voting, education, financial services, employment and social protections. As we continue advancing in the digital age, identification becomes ever more critical to gaining access to mobile connectivity and a range of mobile services…

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

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

Blockchain Interoperability Considerations and Approach

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

UNHCR Cash Assistance and COVID-19: Emerging Field Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mobile Money Regulatory Index

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

Humanitarian Cash Transfers and Financial Inclusion

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

Measuring Financial Health: What Policymakers Need to Know

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

The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2020

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

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

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

The GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab for Mobile Money Interoperability

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

State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2019

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

Digitizing Value Chain Payments: A digital solution from Ghana

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

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

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

Insur;Hack Report

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

Guidance on Digital ID

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

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

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

API Deployments in Inclusive Finance

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

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…

The Mobile Money Regulatory Index

In September 2018 GSMA launched the Mobile Money Regulatory Index, an interactive tool that measures the effectiveness of mobile money regulatory frameworks.

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

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

Digital Banks: How can they deepen financial inclusion?

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

Fintech, Regtech and the Role of Compliance Report 2020

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

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

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

Is There a Case for For-Purpose Remittances?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fintech Benchmarks Proof-of-Concept Report

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

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

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

Space for Finance in Developing Countries

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

Passwordless Authentication: The Next Breakthrough in Secure Digital Transformation

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

The Identities Research Project

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

Digital Identity and Social Cash Transfers

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

Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development

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

Global Risks Report 2020

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

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

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

Financially Underserved Kenyans and Their Market Potential: A segmentation Study

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

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

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

Making Data Work for the Poor

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

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

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

Changing Mindsets to Empower Women

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

Customer-Centric Guide

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

The Real Story of Women’s Financial Inclusion in India

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

Digital Identity Tracker

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Financial Services in Nigeria

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

Zooming in on Informal Savings Mechanisms in Zambia

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

Experiences in Gender-Sensitive Solutions to Collateral Constraints

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

Do No Harm Framework

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

Financial Inclusion Compass 2019

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

The Future of Commerce – Consumer Protection Attitudes Study 2020

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

Decentralised Identity

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

Case Study of a Banking MVNO

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

An Analysis of ID Proxy Initiatives Across the Globe

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

Diagnostic study of the Zambian payments system

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

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

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

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

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

Behavioral Design for Digital Financial Services

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

Integrating Gender into Cash and Voucher Assistance in Humanitarian Settings

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

Capabilities in Digital Financial Services

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

Leveraging Digital Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

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

Fair Play: Ensuring Competition in Digital Financial Services

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

How Digital Finance is Bringing Change to Peoples’ Lives

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

7 Strategies for Designing Successful Micro Pensions

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

Global Fintech Index 2020 Rankings Report

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

A FinTech Strategy for Ireland

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

How Cross-border Payments are Evolving

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

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

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

The Trillion-Dollar Question

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

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

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

Improving Operational Efficiency of MFIs Through Tablet Banking

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

Deciphering the Trillion-valued Unicorn – Ant Financial

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

Financial Technologies as a Factor of Financial Inclusion of Women

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

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

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

Agent Networks at the Last Mile

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

Introduction to the Precision-Recall Plot

The precision-recall plot is a model-wide measure for evaluating binary classifiers and closely related to the ROC plot. This article covers the basic concept and several important aspects of the precision-recall plot.

Basic Evaluation Measures from the Confusion Matrix

This article introduces basic performance measures derived from the confusion matrix.

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…

State of Aadhaar 2019

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

A Tale of Two Sisters: Microfinance Institutions and PAYGo Solar

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

Big Data Could Mean Big Opportunity

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

The Human Account

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

Fair Play: Ensuring Competition in Digital Financial Services

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

Agent Networks at the Last Mile

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

PoWER assessment of Women’s Economic Empowerment in The Gambia

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

Agriculture and Food

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

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

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

Taxing Mobile Phone Transactions in Africa: Lessons from Kenya

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

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

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

Fintech Development and Regulatory Frameworks in Indonesia

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

Leveraging Digital Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 

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

Women and Money

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

The Fintech Landscape in Rwanda

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

Doing Business 2020

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

Women, Business and the Law

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

Designing fintech solutions for inclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Examining the financial regulation of consumer-facing fintech in India

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

An Analysis of Trends in Cost of Remittances Worldwide

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

Cybersecurity for Financial Inclusion: Framework & Risk Guide

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

Strengthening Resilience Through Savings Groups

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

Policy Model for E-Money

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

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

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

Garment Workers Experience with Wage Digitization in Bangladesh

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

Gateway Guide to Digital Transformation of Microfinance Institutions

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

Risk-based Customer Due Diligence

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

Unlocking Smallholder Insights for Financial Service Providers

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

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

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

The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019

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

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

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

Payments Innovation: Finding Payments’ 2020 Hidden Value Today

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

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

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

Risk-Based Customer Due Diligence: Regulatory Approaches

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

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

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

The Suptech Generations

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

The Client Protection Principles

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

Consumer Protection Standards for Digital Credit

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

Handbook on Consumer Protection for Inclusive Finance

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

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

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

Small Holder Families Data Hub

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

Global Microscope 2019: The Enabling Environment for Financial Inclusion

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

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.

Digitizing Merchant Payments: Why and How

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

Investigating the Impact of Global Stablecoins

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

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

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

Impact of Digital Finance on Financial Inclusion and Stability

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

World FinTech Report 2019

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

World Insurance Report 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Toward a New Impact Narrative for Financial Inclusion

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

Resilience in Action

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

Financial Inclusion for what?

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

Pay, Set and Match! Payment services for SMEs

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

European Payments Predictions 2019

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

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

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

The Rise of Digital Money

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

Sustainable finance in emerging markets and the role of securities regulators

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

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

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

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

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

FinTechs in Sub-Saharan Africa

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

World Payments Report 2019

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

World InsurTech Report 2019

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

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

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

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

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

e-Estonia – an advanced digital society

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

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

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

Java, Python or Kotlin for Fintech?

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

AgriPay – the Zanaco Farmers’ Account

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

Geodata for Inclusive Finance: Data Privacy Study

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

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

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

Inching closer to understanding the digital finance impact question

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

A Client Needs-Centred Approach to Financial Inclusion Measurement

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

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

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

Regulating for innovation: an evolving framework

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

The Role of Digital Identification in Agriculture : Emerging Applications

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

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

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

Advancing Financial Inclusion through Digital ID

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

How To: Create Digital ID for Inclusive Development

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

Insurtech Tracker

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

Legal and regulatory frameworks of blockchains and smart contracts

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

Blockchain and Digital Identity

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

The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019

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

Improving Distribution of Digital Financial Services in Rural Areas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inclusive Fintech 50: White Paper on findings

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

Keeping Machine Learning Honest! The Need for the Truthalizer

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