Financial Inclusion in Action

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The OTC Trap – Impact on the Business Case for Uganda’s Mobile Network Operators


Mobile money providers in Uganda are well aware of the Over The Counter (OTC) trap and its implications, but their response to it will be the subject of another, later blog. This blog examines why OTC matters – enormously – to all stakeholders in digital financial services (DFS). As highlighted by Pawan Bakshi, in “Beware the… Continue reading

Mobile financial services: Is there room for the small, the independent, the different, the nichy, the innovative?

We have seen in a number of countries how, when they work well, branchless banking and especially mobile money systems can reach millions of people. But beyond the headline numbers on customers reached, the record of such systems as a vehicle for financial inclusion is still mixed: we can hardly talk about a globally-proven solution.… Continue reading

Several Times Bitten: Still Not Shy?

The intention to provide at least two accounts to each household in the next one year is welcome. But the question in everybody’s mind is: how will the target be achieved, and what will be the status of these accounts at the end of this exercise? The target itself is ambitious: we want to open… Continue reading

Building and Sustaining Agent Networks – Evidence from Indonesia


Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous democracy with a population of 238 million people. An archipelago with more than 17,500 islands, the country is rich in cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity. However, access to formal financial products/services still remains elusive for most people. According to World Bank estimates only 20% of Indonesians (above 15 years)… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – What Will It Take?


In the blog “NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-I” we highlighted the range of benefits for both NBFC-MFIs and banks in arrangements under which NBFC-MFIs operate as BCs for banks. In“NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-II” we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the model for NBFC-MFIs. But of course the… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-II)

As we highlighted in NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-I) the benefits for NBFC-MFIs and banks are pretty clear – we summarise them below. Benefits of the BC Model for Key Stakeholders (from Microfinance in India – Is Business Correspondent (BC) the Way Forward?) Benefits for NBFC-MFIs Benefits for Banks The model significantly de-risks… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-I)


It has happened! In May 2012, MicroSave’s study of the potential for MFIs to acts as business correspondents (BCs) concluded, “MFIs are potentially and excellent channel and product development partner for banks, as long as they have the capacity and resources to dedicate to it. MFIs can help all stakeholders to leverage their existing engagement… Continue reading

Financial Inclusion and New Product Development — What Should Guide Us?

The answer is, of course, customer needs. Customers’ knowledge and perceptions about the financial services on offer—plus any challenges in accessing these services—are the other two major guiding factors. With all this in mind, any service provider can develop and then modify successful products. Easy to outline in a very short paragraph, easy to comprehend,… Continue reading

Mobile Money Merchant Payments – What does the Future Hold?


In October 2012, GSMA MMU asked the burning question; ‘Can mobile money work for merchant payments?’ Across the developed world cards are being swiped, dipped or waved to pay for everyday purchases, but the question remains if mobile money can, or will, have the same levels of usage in the developing world. Currently mobile money providers have… Continue reading

Competition in Tanzania – Fact or Fable?


Tanzania is often cited as a model competitive market in digital financial services (DFS) with the three major providers healthily competing against one another. However, the story is a bit more complicated than that, and to really understand market dynamics in Tanzania it helps to examine competition from a few angles, and on a more… Continue reading