Financial Inclusion in Action

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UNHCR Cash-Based Intervention in Meheba refugee settlement in Zambia: The Journey to Digitization

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It was a hot and dusty day as our team drove into Meheba refugee settlement in the North-Western Province of Zambia. Our energy was high, though it was the adrenaline that kept us going after a couple days without sleep. We were going to see the initial results of a nine-month journey towards digitization of… Continue reading

Winter is coming: Key lessons on digital transformation for financial institutions

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In the previous blog, we discussed the “why” – a business case for digital transformation. In this blog, we look at the “how” – the detailed steps for digital transformation. Digitise processes Digital processes are quicker, more efficient and cheaper than manual processes. A digital transformation of processes reduces the cost and friction points of… Continue reading

Winter is coming: Managing the digital onslaught

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In the previous blog of this series, we discussed the changing nature of the financial services industry. We talked about how digital disruption has had an impact on traditional financial institutions. In this blog, we discuss how the incumbents can bring about a digital transformation to utilise the disruptive power of technology and innovation. Traditional… Continue reading

Embracing A Market-led Approach To Developing Product Concepts

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According to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database, more than 2.5 billion adults do not have an account at a financial institution. Among the many factors that are responsible for this high level of financial exclusion, poor design of financial products is key. Why, then, is it so difficult to design financial services for… Continue reading

Two More Revolutions Underway in Kenya

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It is first quarter results and investors briefing season in Kenya, providing a chance to see how the market is evolving. And for the country’s leading financial services players, that evolution has been a profitable one. But behind the celebration of M-PESA’s remarkable payments revolution, and the continued growth of M-Shwari’s mobile banking services, there are two other important… Continue reading

Bending the Rules for Better Customer Service is probably a Good Thing

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Recently, a team of qualitative researchers interviewed sixty mobile money agents and users in Kenya and Uganda to understand the drivers of important behaviours like non-compliance.  The findings were intriguing since it was clear that the driver of agents breaking some rules and regulations was their ambition to provide excellent customer service and thus increase… Continue reading

The Better Service Agents Provide, The More Business They Do

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One of the major objectives of the Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) project is to determine which aspects of strategic operations really build the business case in the agency business. The Helix Institute has partnered with the Harvard Business School to dig deep into the data that is being collected and some of the initial findings are quite interesting. Specifically, agents… Continue reading

Disruption is Simmering in Kenya

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Something disruptive has been simmering for some time now in Kenya’s rapidly evolving digital finance market. M-PESA the lauded and the most successful mobile money offering in the world has started to feel it too. At the core of the disruption is the “Thin-SIM”, a decade old technological innovation from China.  M-PESA – The Benchmark… Continue reading

What Is Driving Agent Churn In The Mature East African Markets?

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One of the most striking findings from The Helix’s Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) surveys has been the high levels of agents that have been in business for less than one year. In Tanzania only 18%, and in Uganda 21%, of all agents had been in business for two years of more.  In Kenya 40% of… Continue reading

Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of Frauds in Uganda’s Mobile Money Market (Part-II)

In the first blog of this series we outlined the evolution and increasing sophistication of fraud in Uganda. The ingenuity of fraudsters is impressive. But what about the MNOs’ response? Have the providers set up systems improvements and processes geared toward checking such frauds? Talking to the staff of leading mobile money providers in Uganda,… Continue reading