Financial Inclusion in Action

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Can Self-Service Channels Be The Next Frontier Of Financial Inclusion?

Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure in India has made rapid strides in the last decade.  It has been estimated that a 10% increase in broadband connectivity leads to a 1.38% increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)1. While urban India has witnessed an exponential growth in mobile and internet access, rural India is lagging behind.… Continue reading

What’s Undermining India’s Financial Inclusion Progress?

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The Government of India is undertaking the most ambitious financial inclusion drive in history. The effort has two key elements: the financial inclusion plan called Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and direct benefit transfer (DBT) payments from the government into beneficiaries’ bank accounts. The success of these efforts hinges on one factor above all: the quality of the… Continue reading

Can “Behavioural Science” Bell Scheme Design Cat? Insights from Exploratory Research on the Public Distribution System in India

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Having tasted success with the Modified Direct Benefit Transfer for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (MDBTL) through Pahal (though sceptics have their doubts), the Government of India is dropping hints that it plans to expand the ambit of DBT further to other subsidy programmes. At about INR 460 billion ($7.4 billion), MDBTL seems to be huge, but… Continue reading

Two More Revolutions Underway in Kenya

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It is first quarter results and investors briefing season in Kenya, providing a chance to see how the market is evolving. And for the country’s leading financial services players, that evolution has been a profitable one. But behind the celebration of M-PESA’s remarkable payments revolution, and the continued growth of M-Shwari’s mobile banking services, there are two other important… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? Part III

The first blog in this series Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part I) highlighted that over the counter (OTC) transactions alone cannot deliver the digitally enabled financial inclusion many of us are working towards. The second Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part II)  noted that despite this OTC transactions… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? Part II

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In the previous blog Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part I) I looked at why over the counter (OTC) transactions alone cannot deliver the digitally enabled financial inclusion many of us are working towards.  A later blog in the series will examine the implications of OTC for providers and customers – many… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? – Part I

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The Cause For Concern I am back obsessing about over the counter (OTC) transactions again. Before we dive in let’s quickly define OTC transactions as they come in many forms in different markets – from the direct deposit by the agent into the end-user’s wallet in Kenya to the transfer of money from one agent… Continue reading

How Many Accounts Does A Man Have To Open To Be Financially Included?

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It was a hot afternoon during one of our recent agent network assessment studies, when I got the opportunity to meet Raju. He seemed no different from the typical participants in our focus group discussions in Bihar. A farmer somewhere in his middle 30s, thin and frail, wearing a half-sleeved ‘baniyan’ (vest) and pants with… Continue reading

Market Readiness for Mobile Money Interoperability

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Interoperability of mobile financial services potentially offers great benefits for the wider ecosystem. The value to consumers is obvious. This, in turn, leads to wider adoption; higher transaction volumes; greater velocity of money in the ecosystem; all of which are advantageous to service providers. It is now well established from both MicroSave’s Helix Institute of Digital Finance and CGAP studies that… Continue reading

Financial Inclusion Histories

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We do most of our work in a historical vacuum. We tend to think of today's problems and opportunities as unique. That's a natural bias in an age imbued with a sense of inexorable progress reliant on technological solutions. But if we lift our gaze over historical time, we find numerous references to issues and… Continue reading