Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

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

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

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In his January 2017 article on digital credit, MicroSave’s Graham Wright expertly highlighted a worrying trend: 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% of the entire adult population – have… 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

Addressing the Soil Health Crisis in India

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The Green Revolution, probably the greatest achievement of post-independence India, heralded an era of food sufficiency riding on the use of chemical fertilisers. Now, 50 years on, soil health is rapidly declining. There is ample evidence to show that indiscriminate use of fertilisersis the major cause of deteriorating soil health. Indian farmers apply around 66… 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

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

Can Instant Messenger Disrupt the Digital Payments Market in India?

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What’s up with WhatsApp? Have you ever wondered about the idea of sending anything other than photos, emojis, videos and web links through popular instant messenger (IM) apps to your friends? Have you ever wanted to send money to a friend instantly when she reminds you about the bill that you were supposed to split,… Continue reading

The Four Zones: A Missing Chapter in the Financial Inclusion Guidebook

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As of March 24, 2017, a little more than 9 million dormant PMJDY accounts were frozen, because the account holders had not transacted in over a year. A great deal of effort has gone into government initiatives to increase financial inclusion, but perforamance indicators such as dormancy in the PMJDY accounts is a reason for… Continue reading

Learnings from Cash Economy for DFS Providers

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Shakuntala is a 48-year old housewife, staying with her husband, two sons, their wives and a grandson in Siswan village, Varanasi. Her husband manages all the household expenses. In his absence, she goes to buy groceries at times. She, however, is solely responsible for purchasing clothes and jewellery for all the family members during the… Continue reading