Financial Inclusion in Action

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The Unrealised Potential of Mobile Wallets in Pakistan

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Currently, Over the Counter (OTC) transactions in Pakistan account for just over half (52%) of Branchless Banking Transactions[1] by value and less (42%) by volume. The vibrancy of OTC transactions could provide a stepping stone to mobile wallets. This, in turn, would enable the deepening of the digital financial ecosystem through advanced service offerings for… Continue reading

The Clear Blue Water on the Other Side of the Digital Divide

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In the recent MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion in Accra, I was asked to participate in a debate, arguing for the proposition that “disruptive innovation is no longer relevant to the needs of the poor.” Not easy for someone who has been deeply involved with optimising the delivery of digital financial services (or electronic banking as… Continue reading

A First Look at Indonesia’s Emerging Agent Network

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Digital Financial Services (DFS) emerged in Indonesia in 2007, with e-money services targeted at the middle income and affluent segments rather than the unbanked and underbanked masses. In 2014, regulators allowed banks and e-money providers[1] to use individual agents, paving the way for the emergence of agent networks. Since then, financial inclusion has become an… Continue reading

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

Have the Portfolio Diversification Strategies of Kenyan Microfinance Banks Failed?

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Since the enactment of the Microfinance Act 2006 in May 2008, there have been marked changes observed in the microfinance industry in Kenya. Over this period, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has progressively licensed 13  microfinance institutions to operate as microfinance banks (MFBs). Consequently, the industry has continued to experience positive growth. Since 2012,… Continue reading

Mobile Banking Stumbles on Challenges in the Ugandan Market

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The introduction of mobile banking in Uganda set expectations of overall improvement in customer experience. Mobile banking would ensure that customers spent less time in the bank since the queues would be significantly reduced. Customers would also enjoy convenience in transacting from wherever they wished. Unfortunately, both adoption and use of this channel have been… Continue reading