Financial Inclusion in Action

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Highlights from The Helix’s Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) Survey of Tanzania

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The Helix Institute of Digital Finance’s second Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) report based on a nationally representative survey of 2,052 agent networks in Tanzania, coupled with extensive qualitative interviews across the country, provides extraordinary insights into agent networks in Tanzania. The survey includes all providers offering agent banking or mobile money services, taking special interest in the country’s three… Continue reading

Why Mobile Wallets Might Work for ASHA – And Many Others

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It is 6 A.M. on a cold winter morning in rural northern India and Sangeeta Devi, age 40, is already at work. She is an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) worker in Patna, Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. Sangeeta’s responsibilities involve ensuring every child is vaccinated and every pregnant woman receives the medical care… Continue reading

Mobile Money – What Lurks Behind All the Numbers

The recently released 2013 GSMA Mobile Money Unit (MMU) State of the Industry report and the  State of Mobile Money Usage  are filled with encouraging statistics and upbeat projections for the existing and new services the GSMA supports worldwide. On paper, the state of the industry and usage are splendid: 219 mobile money services in… Continue reading

Why Is Financial Inclusion in India Not Improving? New Numbers, New Approaches

No one really disputes the idea that both financial inclusion (defined by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in a recent report as “the spread of financial institutions and financial services across the country”) and financial depth (which India’s central bank describes as “the percentage of credit to GDP at various levels of the economy”)… Continue reading

District Readiness for G2P Payments: Ready or Not…Well, Still Mostly ‘Not’ Part – II

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The previous blog in this series highlighted the complexity of setting-up a system to deliver electronic benefit transfers (EBT) effectively in India. And how there seemed to be little rationale for the selection of districts for pilot-tests and rollout of Aadhaar-enabled EBTs. We suggested the need for a tool that helps governments to decide which… Continue reading

District Readiness for G2P Payments: Ready or Not…Well, Still Mostly ‘Not’ Part – I

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G2P (Government to Person) payments have been common in India for a long time but questions are consistently raised as to whether the payments reach the intended beneficiary. In addition to this, the convenience, cost, efficiency, and certainty with which a beneficiary can avail, and then withdraw, the benefit payment also remain under scrutiny. As… Continue reading

Mor Committee Report: Will DBT be the Way to Financial Inclusion?

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The Nachiket Mor Committee on “Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households” made some concrete recommendations to enhance the spread and use of formal financial institutions. These recommendations include methods to transform the way government distributes social welfare funds. If the recommendations are accepted as they are, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) will… Continue reading

Introducing a Catalogue of Product Functionalities and Innovations in Mobile Money

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Much of the dialogue around mobile money is shifting from how to build a basic mobile money proposition (regulatory enablement, industry partnerships, cash merchant networks, technology choices) to how to transition to an e-payment ecosystem, whereby funds are born and used digitally. New product development in mobile money is central to this much-awaited transition. The… Continue reading

Mobile Money Agents in Uganda: Sprinting ahead, but the marathon’s not yet over

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With 50% of cash-in/cash-out agents conducting at least 30 transactions per day, it is evident that Uganda is one of the world’s leading digital finance markets. However, despite its impressive growth, many operational challenges still persist. The Helix Institute of Digital Finance’s ‘Agent Network Accelerator Survey: Uganda Country Report 2013’ (conducted by MicroSave and the Bill & Melinda Gates… Continue reading

Mor Committee Report: Is Cash-out the Answer Everyone is Looking For?

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As Ignacio Mas pointed out in his blog ‘Better than Cash, or Just Better Cash’, digital financial services often have a tendency to promote the use of cash, instead of discouraging it, by making cash more efficient. His central argument is that by facilitating cash-ins and cash-outs, service providers are encouraging easy movement of money… Continue reading