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NextBillion Financial Innovation is a blog and news resource dedicated to improving financial access for low-income people around the world. 

The site, part of the NextBillion network, focuses on the businesses, issues and innovations that are making an impact on financial inclusion worldwide. It features a diverse collection of experts and practitioners, who share their knowledge, research and experiences in helping low-income people improve their lives and livelihoods.

The blog, which has been made possible by the Citi Foundation, serves as a space for discussion and debate, where readers can go to find fresh approaches and unconventional thinking. It also features job listings, news articles and event listings important to financial inclusion professionals.
 
Some of the topics featured on NextBillion Financial Innovation include:

  • Financial products: Advances in financial products to meet the needs of low-income people in the areas of microlending, microsavings, credit scoring and microinsurance, among others
  • Financial capability innovations and research: Developments in research and real-world initiatives for improving the financial capability of underserved and unbanked customers, regardless of geography
  • Technology: New innovations that harness mobile devices, mobile applications, and other technology to expand and deliver financial services and enable people to build financial capability
  • Business innovators: From startups to large banks, profiling some of the innovators who are deploying new financial products to help low-income customers secure credit to purchase a home, start a business or get an education
  • New approaches to investing: Innovative ways to maximize and assess impact investments across sectors to reach under-served communities
  • Discussion/Debate: Debates on the effectiveness of specific private enterprise approaches as well as government/aid agency and public policy efforts to improve financial inclusion
  • Knowledge: Coverage of important learnings and research shared at conferences, dedicated to financial inclusion dialogue and understanding

James Militzer serves as editor for the new blog. James, an accomplished writer and editor, is the former editor of NextBillion Health Care. He can be reached via email: jamesmil@umich.edu

Follow NextBillion Financial Innovation on Twitter @NextBillionFI.

FeaturesFEATURES

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Into Acumen's Latin American Expansion: Patient capital fund hopes to deploy $8 million in 10 enterprises in Colombia and Peru in five years

By Scott Anderson — WDI

Earlier this month, the philanthropic impact investing group Acumen announced it would be expanding to Latin America. We caught up with Acumen's Latin America Director Virgilio Barco about Acumen's long-term social sector and portfolio goals, and the state of impact investing across Latin America, which may have gotten a slow start compared to other regions of the world, but seems to be making up ground at a rapid pace.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Will the 'F-Word' Damage Mobile Money?: The industry deals with a spate of high-profile fraud cases

By Chris Connolly

Trust is one of the key factors that will ultimately determine the success or failure of mobile payments. That's why recent headlines about fraud in prominent mobile money platforms, from Apple Pay to MTN Money in Uganda, have raised eyebrows in the industry. Mondato's Chris Connolly discusses these cases, and finds that the headlines don't tell the whole story.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

How Do You Know You’re Really Reaching the Poor?: Tips for microfinance providers considering digital services

By Byoung-Hwa Hwang and Francis Wasswa — Grameen Foundation

Though many microfinance institutions operate in impoverished areas, they often have little or no objective poverty data on the clients they've reached. Pride Microfinance wanted to avoid this problem when it rolled out its digital financial services programs this year, so it worked with Grameen Foundation to measure its social impact. The lessons it learned can be valuable to other MFIs considering going digital.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Twitter Top Ten

By NextBillion Editor

This week brought a number of developments in global health, social enterprise and financial inclusion - some promising, some disturbing, and one bittersweet. As usual, we've highlighted a sample of the reaction to these events on Twitter, along with some long-form pieces that vividly describe some of the big challenges and small triumphs in the sectors we cover.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

A Revolution in the Making: CGAP's Greg Chen discusses how smartphones could transform financial inclusion and microfinance

By James Militzer — WDI

Smartphone sales are exploding in emerging economies, with Latin America and the Middle East/Africa recording growth rates of 59 percent and 83 percent, respectively, last year. CGAP's Greg Chen discusses how this new access could transform low-income people's interactions with their financial services providers in this video Q&A, the latest in our series on the Future of Microfinance.

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EventsEvents

May
28
2015

TBLI Conference Latin America 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015

June
01
2015
June
02
2015

Mondato Summit Africa

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June
03
2015

Digital Finance Conference 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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