Financial Inclusion in Action

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Smart Electronic Ticketing for Public Transport

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We met Kinnee at one of the Vodafone e-ticketing roadshows. She, like other Fijians, had queued up at the Vodafone canopy to get her eTransport card. This digital card has been designed to replace the existing cash-based fare collection system across buses in Fiji. There was something that made Kinnee’s case particularly interesting – she… Continue reading

Can Fintech Really Deliver On Its Promise For Financial Inclusion?

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At the recent MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, I was asked to participate in the closing debate. A great honour. However, I was asked to support the proposition that “Disruptive innovations in the financial sector can no longer respond to the daily challenges of poor people”. Ouch! For all my critiques of digital financial… Continue reading

Foresight in a FinTech Forest – Financial Technology Drives a Digital Banking Response

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We’ve reached an inflexion point in banking, more pronounced and more fundamental than any which has preceded. The financial technology (FinTech) revolution promises dramatic improvements in customer experience and fundamental changes in how banking is informed and how it is conducted.  Financial institutions must make critical choices if they are to compete in the new… Continue reading

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in Fertiliser – Towards an Efficient Fertiliser Distribution System

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Forty-eight-year-old Devashekhar cultivates paddy twice a year. A resident of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, India, Devashekar purchases between 300 and 350 kg of fertiliser from retailers in his village. He is among many farmers who have now started to pay market price for fertiliser. “There has been a reduction in overcharging by retailers as… Continue reading

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