Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

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

Give us Some Credit! Meet the Digital Borrowers in Kenya

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It is 3 am in Nairobi. The city, known for its vibrant nightlife, is wide awake. Entertainment spots in the bustling capital of Kenya overflow as the night goes on. The streets are a sea of activity, filled with pleasure-seekers. Interestingly, it is between 3 am and 5 am that a third of all the… Continue reading

How Can Providers Make Digital Credit More Profitable?

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Many commentators have raised concerns about the interest rates charged for digital credit. And, given that the entire process is automated and dependent on computer algorithms rather than expensive human intervention and analysis, this seems reasonable. On the face of it, it is strange that the interest rates charged for digital credit should be closer… 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

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

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

Designing User-Friendly USSD Interface for Digital Financial Services

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According to Finscope 2014, it is estimated that 33% of Malawians have access to formal financial services. For any non-urban individual in Malawi, travelling to the nearest bank takes an average of more than an hour and a quarter. By contrast, 50% of adult Malawians have access to a mobile phone, 20% are aware about mobile… Continue reading

Leveraging Fintech to Achieve Financial Inclusion in Indonesia

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Click here to read the blog in Bahasa Indonesia “Fintech” – an intersection of financial services and technology – is taking the traditional financial world by storm. Indonesia is no exception, with a fast-evolving ecosystem that includes a host of financial services offered by new generation fintechs. The diagram below, by no means exhaustive, highlights a… Continue reading

JAM – Using (Jan Dhan) Bank Accounts, Aadhaar and Mobiles to create new products and services, and new ways of doing things

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Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile or ‘JAM’ are creating a buzz in financial inclusion space, not only in India but across the world. JAM has been jamming newsrooms and social media after being coined in the Economic Survey 2015 and the Union Budget 2015.    The JAM trinity is seen as an important tool… Continue reading