Financial Inclusion in Action

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Have the Portfolio Diversification Strategies of Kenyan Microfinance Banks Failed?

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Since the enactment of the Microfinance Act 2006 in May 2008, there have been marked changes observed in the microfinance industry in Kenya. Over this period, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has progressively licensed 13  microfinance institutions to operate as microfinance banks (MFBs). Consequently, the industry has continued to experience positive growth. Since 2012,… Continue reading

Interoperability – A Regulatory Perspective

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Basis great inputs and discussions from Amrik Heyer, FSD Kenya, Stephen Mwaura former Head of Payments, Central Bank of Kenya, Uma Shankar Paliwal, Former Executive Director, RBI, Dennis Njau, Head of Channels, Kenya Commercial Bank, Gang Chai, Payment Policy Manager, Central Bank of Nigeria and Johnah Nzioki from Eclectics. In a recent workshop organised by… Continue reading

A Strategic Approach for Next-Generation DFS Agent Networks

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With special thanks and acknowledgement to Abhinav Sinha (EKO India), Tamara Cook (FSD Kenya), Kwame Oppong (CGAP), Paul Mbugua (Eclectics), Paul Musoke (FSD Africa), and Abigail Komu (Independent Consultant). Some people may argue that agent networks will soon go extinct. Even if that is the case, it will not happen until long into the future.… Continue reading

Liquidity – Solving Agents’ Perennial Problem

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Based on insightful inputs from Maurice Oyare (PesaPoint), Joseck Mudiri (IFC), Edwin Otieno (Software Group), George Muga (Airtel-Africa), Edwin Odira (Telkom), Paul Langlois-Meurinne (Optimetrics), Nic Wasunna (GSMA) and Wilfred Ndirangu (Eclectics). The Helix Institute’s Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) surveys show that agents across the globe cite four key challenges to effective liquidity management. Almost all… Continue reading

More Than Hygiene – Improving Agent Network Performance to Maximise Profitability

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Over the last four years, as part of the Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) project, we have interviewed more than 34,000 agents from over 40 leading providers of digital financial services (DFS) across 11 countries in Asia and Africa. So what did we learn? Agent Dedication and Exclusivity is Declining We see a general trend towards… Continue reading

Give us Some Credit! Meet the Digital Borrowers in Kenya

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It is 3 am in Nairobi. The city, known for its vibrant nightlife, is wide awake. Entertainment spots in the bustling capital of Kenya overflow as the night goes on. The streets are a sea of activity, filled with pleasure-seekers. Interestingly, it is between 3 am and 5 am that a third of all the… Continue reading

Setting Digital Credit Right – Is it Time For a Major Re-think?

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MicroSave’s Graham Wright expertly highlighted a worrying trend in an article on digital credit published in January 2017. His article highlights the fact that negative listing is shutting out millions of users from accessing microlending services. This, in turn, has affected financial inclusion. Mr Wright estimates that around 2.7 million people in Kenya – around 10%… Continue reading

How Smart are Smartphone Lending Apps in Kenya?

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The mobile digital credit revolution in Kenya has attracted many fintechs offering loans via smartphones. Smartphone-based products have been touted for their potential to improve the user experience for digital financial services, particularly among low literacy customers. However, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) finds that in India existing interfaces fail to realise… Continue reading

Demand and Supply Side Challenges and Potential Opportunities for Agency Banking in Uganda

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The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act 2016, enabled agency banking in Uganda. What can financial institutions launching agency banking learn from existing data on the banking sector, from experience of mobile money, and from client expectations. The Financial Sector Deepening Programme (FSD) Uganda, commissioned MicroSave to find out. Teams from MicroSave conducted interviews and focus group… Continue reading

From OTC to Mobile Accounts: Easypaisa’s Journey

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In 2009, Pakistan spearheaded the over the counter (OTC) transaction revolution. But in the summer of 2017, the digital financial services (DFS) landscape may experience a watershed moment. In June 2016, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced that as of July 2017, all branchless banking players offering OTC transactions will be required to use… Continue reading