Financial Inclusion in Action

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Why Most Agents Networks Will Fail

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The Soul of an Agent Network: The Helix Institute has evaluated and advised all types of agent networks in countries around the world. Big ones, rural ones, new ones, bank ones, and even imaginary inactive ones. Despite the differences in operational strategies, all agent networks should have one element in common – they are crafted… Continue reading

Progress and Challenges with KYC and Digital ID

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Based on 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. “Identification provides a foundation for… 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

Three Areas DFS Providers Prioritise to Enhance Agent Networks

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Since its launch in 2013, The Helix Institute has offered evidence-based insights, practical training and technical assistance on agent networks to DFS providers across Africa and Asia. We asked providers to tell us what steps they have taken to improve their agent networks after engaging with The Helix. This blog sums up their actions, classified… Continue reading

How Can Providers Make Digital Credit More Profitable?

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Many commentators have raised concerns about the interest rates charged for digital credit. And, given that the entire process is automated and dependent on computer algorithms rather than expensive human intervention and analysis, this seems reasonable. On the face of it, it is strange that the interest rates charged for digital credit should be closer… Continue reading

Digital Credit – Have We Not Been Here Before With Microfinance?

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I worry that I may be getting old and cynical; but I am quite sure I’m suffering déjà vu. As we continue to celebrate the important breakthrough that digital credit provides in efforts to lend to the poor, I cannot help myself comparing it with microfinance. The parallels are clear to see: Insufficient emphasis on… Continue reading

Redefining Retail Banking – Agency and Beyond

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Agency banking offers the prospect of much greater access to financial services for large numbers of currently unbanked or underbanked individuals – through financial institutions rolling out financial services using third party agents. However, agency banking is simply the latest element in a much wider technology-driven revolution in banking. Technology is redefining banking across the… Continue reading