Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

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

Lessons from Orality for Digital Financial Services Development

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At 6:30 a.m.,in a busy wholesale vegetable market on the outskirts of Varanasi, Shanti Devi is haggling with the wholesale vendor of cauliflower. The price is negotiated at ₹300 a sack. Shanti takes out two ₹500 currency notes from her batua (cloth purse) and hands it to the vendor for two sacks. The vendor hands… Continue reading

Demand and Supply Side Challenges and Potential Opportunities for Agency Banking in Uganda

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The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act 2016, enabled agency banking in Uganda. What can financial institutions launching agency banking learn from existing data on the banking sector, from experience of mobile money, and from client expectations. The Financial Sector Deepening Programme (FSD) Uganda, commissioned MicroSave to find out. Teams from MicroSave conducted interviews and focus group… Continue reading

Do Financial Service Providers Really Understand Savings Group Members?

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  The 2016 State of Linkage Report found that 40% of financial service providers (FSPs) currently providing savings and credit products to savings groups (SGs) worldwide are in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. With an estimated combined SG population of 3.5 million, FSPs in these three countries may recognise the potential of this market – but how… Continue reading

Learning from (and about) India´s Emerging Digital Money Grid

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  The Government of India has embarked on a remarkable path to connect all its citizens onto a digital platform through which they can, in real-time, confirm their identity, financially transact with anyone else, and store relevant documentation in natively digital format and consent to it being shared digitally with others (for instance, to support… Continue reading

Key New Year Resolutions for the Success of Digital Financial Services

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First of all, let me reaffirm my belief that digital financial services (DFS) really do have the potential to provide financial inclusion for many (but perhaps not all) of the 2 billion un-banked. Its potential to reduce the costs of providing a range of financial services is an exciting prospect for those of us who… Continue reading