Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

Three Areas DFS Providers Prioritise to Enhance Agent Networks

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Since its launch in 2013, The Helix Institute has offered evidence-based insights, practical training and technical assistance on agent networks to DFS providers across Africa and Asia. We asked providers to tell us what steps they have taken to improve their agent networks after engaging with The Helix. This blog sums up their actions, classified… Continue reading

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

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MicroSave’s Graham Wright expertly highlighted a worrying trend in an article on digital credit published in January 2017. His article highlights the fact that 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%… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Digital Deposits (Part 3 of 3)

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This is the third blog in a three part series, which compares digital financial service offerings in Kenya. The first blog focused on mobile money services, the second one analysed digital credit and this one analyses digital deposits. Digital deposit accounts are a controversial topic in digital finance. Many analysts note that mobile money providers cannot offer interest on the balance… Continue reading

The Bricks and Mortar of Agent Networks: Training and Support in India

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While the first blog in this series explained how Indian Government mandates have determined the current character of the digital finance services (DFS) market in India, this blog is more forward looking, focusing on addressing issues of agent training and support.  The 2015 ANA India data shows that these are areas where providers are struggling, and are therefore also opportunities… Continue reading

Opportunities for Equitel to Disrupt Digital Finance in Kenya

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Equity Bank’s introduction of the thin SIM under the Equitel brand is an important development for the Kenyan financial market as it brings customers more choice in terms of providers, and will hopefully push product innovation further in a market that has had trouble evolving beyond payments.  We believe that to really make digital finance… Continue reading

Responsible Digital Finance: Seven Customer Risks that Need Attention Now

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Digital financial services are growing globally, with a variety of offerings (more than 250) now serving 300 million people in developing markets according to the GSMA. However, inactivity rates are staggeringly high, with as many as two-thirds of registered digital financial services users inactive, and the cross-sale of products beyond simple person-to-person transfers in many markets… Continue reading

More Sophisticated Agent Networks Signal a Maturing Digital Finance Industry

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Agents are critical to the customer experience of digital money services because they represent the first and most tangible service touch points for most end users. Agent networks are also probably the most operationally burdensome and costly element of the digital financial service value chain, typically costing anywhere between 40 and 80 percent of revenues generated from… Continue reading