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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Thursday, April 17, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Meet the Women Trading Sudan's First Carbon Credits

Source: The Guardian

Cleaner stoves have saved Sudan over 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and earned the country its first carbon credits.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 — South Asia

Firms Investing in Social Sector Have deployed $1.6 B in India since 2000

Source: Live Mint

According to a report, the number of foreign investors looking to invest in the social sector has increased.
Friday, April 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Value lending for MFIs to reduce risk

Source: The Financial Express

Tara Thiagarajan, chairman & MD of non-banking finance company-micro finance institution (NBFC-MFI) Madura Microfinance, is trying out a unique experiment.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile money is transforming financial access in Tanzania

Source: Daily News

Tanzania had envisioned through the National Financial Inclusion Framework of 2011 to have 50 per cent of the adult population having access to financial services by 2016, but it has so far managed to surpass the target, according to a recently released FinScope Tanzania 2013 report.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN, Airtel Announce Cross Border Remittance Deal in West Africa

Source: Human IPO

The partnership will allow MTN customers in Ivory Coast and Airtel customers in Burkina Faso to transfer money between the neighboring countries.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Security is Kenya’s Next Big Challenge

Source: IT Web Africa

Attention needs to be paid to the security of mobile money systems in Kenya especially with the licensing of three virtual network operators in the country, say experts.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 — Latin America

Incofin Investment Management’s Rural Impulse Fund Acquires Equity Stake in FIELCO From Accion Gateway Fund

Source: MicroCapital

FIELCO expects to use Incofin IM’s expertise in international microfinance to “strengthen its governance, focus on social performance and overall structure”
Monday, April 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

Commercial banks in India increasingly targeting low-income borrowers

Source: Deccan Herald

At a time when microfinance institutions (MFIs) are getting into the banking business, commercial banks too have developed a liking for lending directly to the poor -- an area until now dominated by traditional MFIs and informal lenders.
Monday, April 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

Making Mobile Money More Effective in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

A recent survey that showed that 37 per cent of Nigerians are not aware of mobile money and as such, do not use the payment platform, is worrisome. According to the report by Philip Consulting, out of the remaining 63 per cent respondents that knew about mobile money, 31 per cent were between the ages of 26 and 35 and constituted the majority.
Friday, April 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Why RBI’s decision on a Post Bank of India is a slap for Finance Ministry

Source: First Post India

The RBI’s decision on Wednesday to “consider” the application of Department of Posts for a banking license “separately in consultation with the Government of India” is literally a slap in the face for the finance ministry.
Friday, April 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: The Reserve Bank of India's welcome conservatism

Source: Business Standard

More than four years after the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced the government's intention to issue more banking licences, this has indeed been done. In 2010, there was much fervour about financial inclusion and, against that backdrop, new banks were seen as an important means of boosting capacity and penetration of financial services.
Thursday, April 03, 2014 — South Asia

India Announces First Bank Licences in a Decade

Source: Global Post

India on Wednesday announced it was issuing two new bank licenses for the first time in a decade as it accelerates a push to bring more Indians into the formal banking system.
Thursday, April 03, 2014 — South Asia

Reorienting Financial Inclusion in India

Source: The Financial Express

Fixing small business finance is a great place to start improving financial inclusion. This is a reform that is overdue and should not wait.
Monday, March 31, 2014 — No Region Specified

Vodafone to roll out M-Pesa services in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Vodafone India and ICICI Bank are planning to roll out mobile money transfer and payment service in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. With this, Vodafone India will cover almost all states in India, thereby enabling people to send, deposit or receive money through mobile phones.
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banks Outshine Agriculture, Manufacturing in GDP Input in Rwanda

Source: All Africa

Prime Minister Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi, yesterday, presented to both chambers of Parliament highlights of the performance of the service industry with focus on financial institutions, noting that the country is on course to achieving its targeted financial inclusion.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ministry’s scepticism, Aadhaar issues hang over Nachiket Mor financial inclusion plan in India

Source: Live Mint

The finance ministry has questioned the practicality of some recommendations made by a panel formed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote financial inclusion, including a 1 January 2016 deadline it has set for making an Aadhaar-linked bank account available to every adult Indian.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Opportunity International & The MasterCard Foundation Plan To Help 7M Out of Poverty With $22.7M Partnership

Source: Forbes

Opportunity International is a non-profit microfinance organization established in 1971. Over the last 42 years OI has provided $6 billion in microfinance loans and has reached over 5 million clients in 22 countries. In 2009, The MasterCard MA -1.08% Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with OI and co-funded a $16 million project to expand access to saving accounts and agricultural loans in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ghana’s Fidelity Bank inaugurates agency banking

Source: Ghana Web

Fidelity Bank has inaugurated its new banking model, known as Fidelity Agency banking, which allows the bank to use shops and supermarkets as bank agents, called as Fidelity Smart Agents.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile network operators team up in Sri Lanka to provide mobile money to 60% of population

Source: The Island

Etisalat joined Dialog’s eZ Cash mobile money platform on Monday, enabling a combined subscriber base of 12.7 million —over 60% of the country’s population— to enjoy ‘seamless and convenient mobile money services’ that lets them deposit, send or receive money and pay utility bills, insurance premia and engage in other transactions.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Annapurna Microfinance raises $5M in Series B funding

Source: VCCircle

Odisha-based Annapurna Microfinance Pvt Ltd (AMPL) has raised Rs 30 crore (around $5 million) in a Series B round of funding led by Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), with participation from the existing investor Incofin Investment Management's Rural Impulse Fund II.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Central Bank of Nigeria gives room for microfinance bank mergers and acquisitions

Source: Business Day

There is an expectation of stronger microfinance banks (MFBs) in the country if the micro institutions that could not meet with their recapitalisation requirements, successfully engage and conclude with mergers and acquisition as they are directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Insurers are Looking to Kenya’s Low-Income Earners for New Business

Source: Standard Digital Business

Low-income earners have traditionally been underserved when it comes to being provided with avenues to manage the risks they face every day.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: India’s Mor Report on Financial Inclusion Doesn’t Focus Enough on Expanding Access to Credit

Source: Business Standard

The Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low-Income Households (the Nachiket Mor Committee on financial inclusion) has delivered a detailed report in a very short time.
Monday, March 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Saving Nigeria’s micro-finance banking sector

Source: The Sun

The recent approval of the liquidation of 83 micro-finance banks (MFBs) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is bad news from the banking sector. It is worrisome that as many as 83 of these institutions are going under, barely four years after 224 of them were declared insolvent in 2010, with attendant negative implications for depositors’ funds.
Friday, March 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Human-Centered Design: The Key to Mobile Money Adoption?

Source: Mondato

While mobile money is now available in almost every emerging market, active usage remains low. In fact, only about 30 percent of registered mobile money accounts are actively used, according to the most recent GSMA State of the Industry report. Bridging this crucial gap between registration and active usage will require providers to design products and services that are not simply ‘great ideas,’ but that truly meet the needs of end users.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

InVenture raises $1.2-million to help serve emerging markets’ underbanked

Source: ventureburn

InVenture is a credit score for anyone with a mobile phone. In order to expand its phone-based personal finance software, InSight, which generates financial identities and credit scores for the underbanked in South Asia and Africa, the startup has recently raised US$1.2-million.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Accion Microfinance Bank Share capital Reaches N1.205bn in Nigeria

Source: Business Day Online Nigeria

The micro finance bank’s robust financial base reflects on over N21.7billion disbursed in loans to more than 110,000 customers since inception.
Monday, March 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Headline: Financial Inclusion: Banking on Retail Agents in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

Given the high percentage of the unbanked population in the country, there have been a lot of initiatives targeted at bringing more people into the banking system. Today, Nigerian banks are increasingly developing products that support the financial inclusion initiative of the Bankers’ Committee, one of which is retail agency
Monday, March 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Kenya leads African peers in financial access

Source: Standard Digital

Kenya has taken a great leap forward to enjoy better financial access compared to her peers in the continent. The country claims the second highest level of financial inclusion only after South Africa.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Accion Supports Sale of Mibanco to Financiera Edyficar

Source: Press Release

Accion, a leader in microfinance and financial inclusion, today announced its support for the sale of Mibanco to Financiera Edyficar, which is owned by Grupo Credicorp, following the regulatory approval of the sale obtained this week.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Reserve Bank of India to issue much-awaited banking licenses to reshape banking sector

Source: DNA India

The next generation of banking structure will be the first step to a thousand mile journey to make India the third largest banking economy in the world. The issue of "on-tap" new banking licenses will prove to be a game changer for the Indian banking industry.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Boosting Financial Inclusion in Nigeria with Mobile Money, Electronic Cards

Source: This Day Live

Nigeria is bent on achieving financial inclusion through the ongoing cashless initiative, but the exercise is rather too slow, hence the need to increase awareness campaign on the use of mobile money and electronic cards as alternative channels, writes Emma Okonji.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

American Express Spotlights the Issue of Financial Exclusion in Davis Guggenheim Doc "Spent"

Source: Fast Co.Create

Part of a larger Amex initiative to address financial inclusion, Spent: Looking for Change reveals the dismal state of basic banking service access for many Americans.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 — South Asia

India Has Millions of Female Entrepreneurs and They Need Easier Access to Money

Source: The Wall Street Journal India

While there may not be many women occupying the executive offices of India, the country is home to literally millions of female entrepreneurs, in charge of their own tiny businesses, according to estimates by the International Finance Corp.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: First Access and Vodacom Tanzania Ink Financial Inclusion Deal

Source: CSR Wire

Partnership offers financial institutions the ability to purchase instant risk scores from First Access based on prepaid mobile phone records.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Literacy an Imperative for Inclusion in Nigeria

Source: Leadership Nigeria

Of the adult population, 17 per cent are served by informal institutions and 46 per cent are completely excluded. These 58 million unbanked Nigerians are the primary targets of Financial Inclusion.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

FinScope reveals significant increase in financial services inclusion in South Africa

Source: EPROP

FinMark Trust annual FinScope South Africa 2013 survey results reveals a significant increase in financial inclusion compared to last year from 28.9 million people in 2012, to 30.7 million in 2013.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

AmEx Pushes Tech to Bank the Unbanked

Source: FinExtra

America's unbanked and underbanked spent $78 billion on fees and interest in 2011; $30 billion in overdraft fees. Meanwhile, 93% of branch closures over the last five years have been in low-income neighbourhoods.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

United Bank for Africa Strengthens E-banking Channels to Boost Financial Inclusion

Source: Business Day Online Nigeria

The Division head said that UBA’s innovative e-Channels have accorded the customers triple gains of financial control, convenience and security.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — South Asia

Microfinance Institutions Network Seeks Early Implementation of Mor Panel Report in India

Source: The Financial Express

"Our customers are demanding number of banking services from MFIs. They want services beyond loan offerings, including insurance, invesment opportunities, inter-bank trading services, where banks find it difficult to provide services due to various reasons," said Alok Prasad, chief executive officer (CEO), MFIN.
Monday, March 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

Digital financial inclusion is vital to India’s poor citizens, says Gates

Source: Live Mint

India is poised to lead the world in connecting the poor to bank accounts through mobile phones. This is an ambitious goal. According to the World Bank, only 35% of Indians use formal financial services right now. But India can get to 100%, and if it does hundreds of millions of Indians will be able to create better opportunities for themselves and their families.
Monday, March 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile banking flourishing in Pakistan

Source: Daily Times

The recent years have witnessed a revolutionary concept of social and economic services among them financial services landscape that are fast changing with introduction of innovative mobile payments (m-payment) systems.
Monday, March 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

Women in Kenya stay united to reap benefits from micro-loans

Source: Coastweek

Women in Kenya are reaping huge from micro-lending institutions because of their ability to form groups and stay united. The women, majority who are in groups commonly known as chamas, are the biggest beneficiaries of micro-loans in the East African nation.
Friday, March 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Mobile and Money Remittance - A Perfect Match

Source: Mobile Payments Today

Mobile makes money transfers faster and more convenient and it has the potential to reduce bottlenecks in branches.
Friday, March 07, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Mobile Money Competition to Heat Up

Source: IT Web Africa

Traditional mobile money transfer companies in Kenya could be headed for tight competition if other large volume traders are given licences to enter the field.
Friday, March 07, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Behavioral Change Tops Challenges for Mobile Money Use in West Africa

Source: PC Adivsor

Cultural factors slow down the embrace of mobile money services.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Key Drivers of Financial Innovation in Zimbabwe

Source: All Africa

Financial innovation can be defined as the act of creating and then popularising new financial instruments, technologies, institutions, markets, processes and business models, including the new application of existing ideas in a different market context.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 — No Region Specified

American Bankers Association and Operation HOPE to collaborate to maximize youth and adult empowerment

Source: ConsumerElectronics.net

The American Bankers Association and Operation HOPE announced a new partnership to expand financial literacy empowerment, economic energy, and good credit for youth and adults over the next two years.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Accion Venture Lab Invests in eMoneyPool

Source: Accion.org

March 4, 2014 – Today Accion announced an investment in digital savings company eMoneyPool (EMP) through its Venture Lab, a $10 million initiative dedicated to providing seed capital and management support to financial inclusion start-ups.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile banking key to financial inclusion in Bangladesh

Source: The Daily Star

Mobile banking is the perfect platform for Bangladesh to take financial services to the country's largely unbanked population in an efficient and low-cost manner, an analyst from Visa said.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 — South Asia

Indian banks gung-ho about financial inclusion, but not agents

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Financial inclusion is not yet a profitable proposition, but banks remain gung-ho about the initiative, predicting future dividends from the market reach that comes with improved access to finance.
Monday, March 03, 2014 — No Region Specified

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe moves to end “mobile war” between telecommunications players

Source: The Standard

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has directed mobile payment system operators that want to enter into exclusive arrangements with agents to seek permission as the central bank moves to end the “mobile war” between telecommunications players.
Monday, March 03, 2014 — No Region Specified

What if America's unbanked had mobile wallets?

Source: CNN Money

Delivering financial services to the world's unbanked masses is not a topic that usually includes a developed economy like the United States. That's because Africa is the global leader in this area. Its mobile network operators are boosting their bottom lines and raising standards of living by offering mobile wallets to the unbanked -- making it possible to conduct a variety of transactions from person-to-person money transfers to bill payments and point-of-sale purchases.
Friday, February 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

BlackBerry plans mobile money services

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Canadian smartphone maker Blackberry sees India as a key market for launching its mobile money services. The company plans to launch money transfer services on the Blackberry Messenger platform in partnership with local banks.
Friday, February 28, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Central Bank of Nigeria to extend cashless policy nationwide

Source: This Day Live

The Central Bank of Nigeria Acting Governor, Dr. Sarah Alade, Wednesday said the bankers’ committee will not rescind on the plan to extend the cashless policy to other states in the country from July 1.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

MTN and Ecobank offer Ghana subscribers access to cardless ATM services

Source: HumanIPO

MTN Ghana has partnered with Ecobank for the extension of cardless services to the bank’s ATMs across Ghana, allowing more than two million mobile money subscribers in the country to withdraw from Ecobank ATMs without using a card.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile banking spreading to Asia and Latin America

Source: SciDevNet

Mobile money services for people without access to the traditional financial system are spreading at an increasing pace beyond Africa, according to a report released yesterday (24 February) at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Unbanked consumers bypassing banks, going straight into mobile money, says Citigroup

Source: Billing World

Just as the mobile phone transformed the communications industry, it seems clear that mobile financial services are poised to transform the financial sector. Speaking on the second day of Mobile World Congress 2014 here in Barcelona, Michael Corbat, chief executive officer of U.S. multinational financial services company Citigroup, made the point that while more than 3 billion people have a mobile phone, only 2 billion people have a bank account.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Equity Bank Seeks Share of Telco Business

Source: Daily Nation

An Equity Bank branch in Dadaab. In a move likely to upset the apple­cart in the telecom sector, Equity Bank has applied for a license to operate a mobile telephone business.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 — South Asia

State Bank of Pakistan Launches 5-year Strategic Plan for Islamic Banking

Source: Pakistan Observer

This was discussed by Saeed Ahmed Deputy Governor of State Bank of Pakistan on Islamic Finance in his opening remarks at a two day workshop on Islamic Banking and Finance for journalists organized by SBP here on Monday.
Monday, February 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banks in Zimbabwe face new threat from mobile money

Source: The Standard

LOCAL banks face a tough hurdle as the emergence of mobile money transfer services (MMTS) appears to pose a serious threat to their survival.
Monday, February 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: World's first international mobile money service with currency conversion launched

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Today, for the first time ever, mobile money users will be able to transfer cash across borders with currency conversion automatically included.
Monday, February 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Tanzania: Mobile Money Tranfers Gaining Popularity

Source: All Africa

Financial transactions have always been a challenge for rural, poor people in Tanzania. M-Pesa, an immensely popular system of money transfer via mobile phone, has made life much easier.
Friday, February 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

New Grant to Aid Businesses Creating Jobs, Services for Poor

Source: Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and development partners will use a new $3.6 million grant to support around 20 private sector businesses in Asia targeting poor and low-income communities.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Visa Partners with Airtel in Kenya to Launch Global Mobile Money Visa Card

Source: Tech Moran

According to Visa’s Head of Emerging Products & Innovation for Africa, Dougie Henderson said: “This strategic partnership with Airtel and Chase Bank brings the benefits of electronic payments to the under banked in Kenya by being innovative in mobile money services.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 — South Asia

Indian bank launches “Branch on Wheels”

Source: My Iris

The 'Branch on Wheels' is a first of its kind initiative by any private sector bank in India.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 — South Asia

Mastercard Exec Discusses Business Opportunities and Challenges in India

Source: Live Mint

India has some challenges because it is such a huge country. The population is divided into different strata of people whom you are trying to reach out to.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Airtel Money generates 30m transactions worth $1b monthly in Africa

Source: Mobile-Financial

With its activities cutting across 15 countries in Africa, the Airtel Money has been described as a significant contributor to the mobile financial sector in Africa as it generates a monthly average of 30M transactions valued at $1 billion from an active base of 5 million customers.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Proof of identity hindering Nigeria’s N1.1trn mobile money business

Source: Business Day

The lack of generally accepted proofs of formal identification required to assist service providers navigate KYC (Know Your Customer) concerns has been identified as a major drawback to the success of mobile money operations in Nigeria, according to a new report released by Lafferty Group and obtained by BusinessDay on Tuesday.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Telecom That Developed M-Pesa Is Boxing Competitors Out Of The Mobile Money Market

Source: Business Insider

Kenyan Telecom rejects push by competitors to use its money transfer agents.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 — South Asia

Payment Banks as Financial Levellers

Source: Live Mint

Payment banks and universal electronic bank accounts can bring about genuine financial inclusion
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile: Africa’s debit card

Source: BusinessTech

In the countries where mobile money has been particularly successful like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the next unfolding wave of growth is payments integration.
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Chinese microcredit firm moves into online P2P lending

Source: South China Morning Post

China Commercial Credit, the only mainland microcredit firm listed in the United States, will become the first such company to venture into peer-to-peer (P2P) lending as part of moves to expand beyond its base in Jiangsu province.
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Tech advancements have made India’s banks more vibrant

Source: Economic Times

Over the past decade, the Indian banking sector has seen remarkable progress. It is clearly indicated by their healthy business growth, fast-paced credit expansion and profitability along with control over non-performing assets (NPAs).
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Column: E-nabling financial inclusion

Source: The Financial Express

The imperative for financial inclusion is both a moral one as well as one based on economic efficiency. Should we not give everyone that is capable the tools and resources to better themselves, and in doing so, better the country?
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Private banks go offbeat to make inclusion effective

Source: Business Standard

A decade ago, financial inclusion was merely a regulatory compulsion for most private banks in the country. But now many of them have stepped up efforts to improve the penetration of banking services, notwithstanding their disagreement over Nachiket Mor committee's recommendations on financial inclusion.
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Are Kenya's mobile banking services unfair?

Source: CNN Money

Safaricom's latest venture M-Shwari hits a speed bump, threatening Kenya's leadership in the global race for mobile money and banking adoption.
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Can microfinance be self-regulated?

Source: The Hindu Business Line

The Reserve Bank’s recent announcement, recognising industry associations as self regulatory organisations (SRO) is being seen as a positive development for the microfinance industry (MFIs). But have MFI associations acquitted themselves well enough to deserve this regulatory mantle?
Thursday, February 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Can Digital Currencies Change the World?

Source: Mondato

Riding on the Bitcoin hype, a legion of techno-optimists believes that digital crypto-currencies have the potential to transform ineffective global payment systems, and ultimately spur global financial inclusion.
Thursday, February 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Namibia: MTC Partners With Mobipay for MTC Money

Source: allAfrica

The country's largest mobile network operator - MTC, has entered the mobile payment market in partnership with MobiPay in a first step taken by a Namibian mobile network operator.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom Deal to Allow Diaspora to Send Money to M-Pesa Accounts

Source: Human IPO

According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), last year’s diaspora remittances reached US$1.3 billion (KSh112 billion), up from US$1.17 billion (KSh101 billion) in 2012.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe’s Mobile Money Agents Form Association

Source: IT Web Africa

Agents handling mobile money transactions for Econet, Telecel Zimbabwe and NetOne in Zimbabwe have formed an association to advance their interests and lobby for inclusion in policy making.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan Banks Scrambling to Leverage M-Pesa

Source: BizTech Africa

Kenyan banks are reported to be scrambling to leverage Safaricom’s mobile banking platform, M-PESA, to attract more customers.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Opinion: The U.S. Post Office Banks on the Poor

Source: The New York Times

People like to complain about banks popping up like Starbucks on every corner these days. But in poor neighborhoods, the phenomenon is quite the opposite: Over the past couple of decades, the banks have pulled out.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Opinion: A Wealthier Africa Will Depend on Health Care

Source: The Japan Times

The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) have long been the focus of emerging-market investors. But it is in Africa, a region with the world’s second-fastest growth, where the next big business opportunities lie.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Power imbalances between nations 'undermining global health efforts'

Source: Medical News Today

A joint commission from The Lancet and the University of Oslo in Norway finds that the imbalance of political power between nations is failing to protect the public's health, and calls for urgent reform in global decision making.
Friday, February 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

Microcredit Summit Campaign and Child and Youth Finance International Celebrate Global Money Week 2014

Source: Digital Journal

The Microcredit Summit Campaign celebrates Global Money Week 2014 together with Child and Youth Finance International. The Campaign invites its members to join in the celebration and raise maximum awareness for child and youth financial empowerment and inclusion.
Friday, February 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

Microinsurance could soon be sold by local grocery stores, gas stations in India

Source: Business Standard

Micro insurance products could soon be sold by local grocery stores, public call offices (PCOs), fuel outlets and ration shops in rural areas. However, insurance sector officials also believe this would hamper the need-based sale objective.
Friday, February 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

African mobile phone leaders take action to expand financial inclusion

Source: Alliance for Financial Inclusion

The 2nd African Mobile Phone Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI) Leaders Roundtable meeting held 4-6 February 2014 in Naivasha, Kenya, was a historic event and tremendous step forward in moving the region toward collectively focusing on harnessing and further enabling the expansion of digital financial inclusion across Africa.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Insolvency among microfinance banks could hamper Nigeria’s financial inclusion strategy

Source: Business Day

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion strategy targets a reduction of adult population financially excluded from 46 percent to 20 percent by the year 2020. This objective cannot be achieved completely without active involvement of microfinance banks (MFBs) operating in the country.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 — South Asia

India’s SKS Microfinance recovering from Andhra Pradesh crisis

Source: Live Mint

SKS Microfinance Ltd, India’s only listed microlender, plans to raise Rs.400 crore in the next fiscal year with a maximum equity dilution of 20%.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors reveal how banks fought hard to kill M-Pesa

Source: The Star Kenya

Kenyan banks fought tooth and nail to have M-Pesa shut down one year after its launch as its popularity was spreading like bushfire and posed a threat to their operations, a new book launched last evening reveals.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 — No Region Specified

Global microfinance market expected to grow

Source: Digital Journal

Global Microfinance market to grow at a CAGR of 16.61% percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increased focus on the untapped markets. The Global Microfinance market has also been witnessing the formation of credit bureau for microfinance institutions. However, the issue of sustainability with respect to outreach could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banking for All - Drive to ensure world's poor have access to accounts

Source: This Is Money

For banks, there is the chance to harvest the deposits of millions of new customers and establish a presence in small but fast-growing markets.
Monday, February 03, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banking by Boat Spells New Client Growth for Indonesia’s Bank Rakyat

Source: Bloomberg

The absence of cash machines on many of Indonesia’s Spice Islands, where cloves and nutmeg once made sultans and European explorers wealthy, means banking is often done on boats that can carry automated teller machines.
Friday, January 31, 2014 — No Region Specified

In India, Nachiket Mor defends the need for specialized banks

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Nachiket Mor, Chairman of the RBI's committee on financial inclusion, strongly defended the need to have specialised banks compared to new full service banks. He said that the idea of financial inclusion will be better served in the medium term if specialised banks such as payments only banks and lending only banks are allowed to flourish.
Friday, January 31, 2014 — No Region Specified

Myanmar gets first national mobile money service

Source: mobile World Live

Myanmar Mobile Money has launched a range of services including P2P funds transfer via mobile phones as it seeks to exploit what is a prime market with an underdeveloped financial sector.
Friday, January 31, 2014 — No Region Specified

Poor service: Tiny loans are getting more expensive

Source: The Economist

INTEREST on the minuscule loans made by microfinance outfits has always been high, but over the past few years it has become even higher. A recent paper, using data on over 1,500 microfinance institutions (MFIs) from around the world, shows that for the smallest loans, typically less than $150, the average rate climbed steadily from 30% in 2004 to 35% in 2011.*
Thursday, January 30, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Branches Will Never Result In 100% Financial Inclusion in India

Source: CXO Today

India has just 110 branches per million persons, compared with the USA which has more than 300 branches per million persons, and Spain which has an incredible 900 branches per million persons, with the next nearest in the EU being Italy with 650/mm.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

'Micro-insurance Impacts Significantly on Social Indices'

Source: This Day Live

The Micro-insurance Network, the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO’s) micro-insurance innovation facility, has said that micro-insurance has impacted positively on the standard of living of low income earners across the world.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

Did T-Mobile just pull an Android on U.S. banks?

Source: Vision Mobile

Operators have been trying for ages to launch mobile banking schemes hoping to create new revenue opportunities for themselves. T-Mobile’s latest attempt, dubbed Mobile Money, offers a refreshing new perspective on the space. Drawing on the playbook of innovators like Google and Amazon, T-Mobile uses two strategies that are indeed quite un-carrier-like.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Payment banks could promote financial inclusion in India

Source: Live Mint

Payment banks will be a bank in every respect except that it can’t lend, thus removing the risk of leverage.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

More mobile money choices for Zimbabweans

Source: IT Web Africa

Competition is heating up in Zimbabwe’s mobile money space as telecom firms look to outwit each other in order to cash in.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 — South Asia

Starved of cash, half of India awaits a mobile money revolution

Source: ZD Net

A service like Vodafone's M-Pesa could transform lives for India's unbanked.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Fraud targeting mobile money agents in Kenya rises as use of service grows

Source: The Promota Africa Magazine

The fight to eliminate mobile money fraud in Kenya is far from being won as fraudsters devise new schemes targeting agents and subscribers.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 — South Asia

Tiny Loans Are Big Business Once Again in India

Source: India Real Time - The Wall Street Journal

Lending to India’s poor is a good business once again.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Partnership to Spur Local Mobile Money Growth

Source: allAfrica

A joint statement by both companies said CWG would now power the MTN mobile commerce platform, which is designed mainly for small scale financial institutions.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 — South Asia

Opinion - Mobile Money Interoperability: Finally on the Horizon?

Source: SAP

Now, here’s the most interesting development, in my opinion.
Monday, January 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

Bitcoins and Financial Inclusion: Not Much of a Link for Now

Source: Huffington Post Impact

Beyond being digital, what does Bitcoin have in common with electronic money and financial inclusion generally? At this point, there seem to be more differences than similarities and it's important not to conflate electronic money with the virtual currency.
Friday, January 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Africa leads in mobile banking

Source: BusinessTech

Mobile banking activity is highest in Africa, led by Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya - which has the reputation for being the world's mobile money pace-setter with M-Pesa.
Friday, January 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

T-Mobile reaches out to U.S. Latinos with mobile money

Source: Latin Post

T-Mobile has now become notorious for upending the wireless industry with its "Uncarrier" plans, and now the company is planning to "un" bank your finances. After surveying the market and finding that banks were charging too many fees and weren't appealing enough to customer needs - including U.S. Latinos - T-Mobile has decided to shake up the banking industry as well with a service called "Mobile Money".
Friday, January 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Nigerian banks, MNOs urged to improve investment in mobile money

Source: This Day Live

Banks and other mobile money operators have been advised to significantly increase their investment in mobile money technology so as to encourage more users of that means of money transfer.
Friday, January 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

MasterCard encourages debit, pre-paid cards to advance financial inclusion in India

Source: The Financial Express

With a high growth potential, debit and pre-paid cards can be used to accelerate financial inclusion and reaching out to rural India, a senior MasterCard Worldwide official said here today.
Thursday, January 23, 2014 — South Asia

Opinion: Statistical illusions do not make a reality for financial inclusion in India

Source: The Economic Times

For financial inclusion to be meaningful, it is necessary that people not only have a bank account but also have access to timely and adequate credit at an affordable cost
Thursday, January 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Efforts to Advance Financial Inclusion of Children and Youth Get Boost

Source: The Financial

MasterCard and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) announced a global strategic partnership aimed at advancing financial capabilities of children and youth, according to MasterCard
Thursday, January 23, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Sector Can Help Bolster Africa’s Economy, Panelists Say

Source: Dealbook - The New York Times

One of the stated aims of this year’s World Economic Forum is inclusion. A panel discussion on Africa’s future, one that included two sitting presidents from that continent, did its best to emphasize that theme.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can telcos predict Mobile Money hotspots?

Source: TelecomTV

A study by CGAP looks at the relationship between voice call routes and money transfer, trying to help telcos focus their investment in mobile money solutions.
Monday, January 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

Insurers struggle to get micro-insurance agents

Source: Business Standard

Micro-insurance or micro agent was a channel in the insurance industry that was developed for deeper penetration of insurance into India. However, with smaller ticket size coupled with low commissions, this channel has seen low participation from distributors.
Friday, January 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: A shaky vision for financial inclusion in India

Source: Live Mint

The Nachiket Mor committee report does not address the issues that militate against financial inclusion.
Friday, January 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ecobank, MasterCard Seal Deal on Financial Inclusion

Source: This Day Live

MasterCard Worldwide Wednesday sealed a landmark deal with Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), which will see 60 per cent of Africa’s population have access to financial services.
Friday, January 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Nachiket Mor discusses his ambitious financial inclusion proposals for India

Source: Economic Times

A few years ago, when he was based in Thanjavur after leaving ICICI Bank, Nachiket Mor used to decline requests from the press about financial inclusion, saying he had left that discipline. Over the past few months, however, he has come back into the field. He is on the RBI board. More recently, a committee headed by him just submitted an ambitious report on financial inclusion. ET's Vidhya Sivaramakrishnan met Mor for a chat.
Thursday, January 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: Leveraging the Continent's Resources to Finance Vital Infrastructure

Source: allAfrica

The African Development Bank has a triple-A designation from international credit rating firms and has tripled its capital base since 2010.
Thursday, January 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia breaking new technology ground

Source: IT News Africa

At the beginning of 2013 when Ethiopia’s government approved mobile money in the country, allowing banks and micro-finance institutions to provide transaction-based banking online.
Thursday, January 16, 2014 — South Asia

Corporate social responsibility and India Inc: IT leads, finance lags

Source: First Post Business

Reporting on corporate social responsibility has been undertaken by almost three quarters (73 percent) of large Indian companies, led by the IT sector, shows a new survey by KPMG.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — South Asia

Financial inclusion in India: The march of banks

Source: The Financial Express

People are yet to see a bank in their neighbourhood. But RBI is set to change all that.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Growth Of Payroll Cards Brings Financial Inclusion For Unbanked Americans

Source: Yuma Arizona News

According to a recent Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) survey, more than 68 million Americans live day to day in a cash-only economy.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Will Nigerians embrace mobile money in 2014 ?

Source: National Mirror

In the bid to deepen financial inclusion across the country, financial institutions and mobile money service providers are introducing resourceful methods of bringing the unserved populations into the formal economy by using mobile phones but Nigerians appear unfazed about the mobile money mantra.
Monday, January 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile transactions in Kenya hit USD $19.6 billion in 2013

Source: Mobile-Financial

Kenyans transacted KSh1.7 trillion (US$19.6 billion) through their mobile phones in the first 11 months of 2013, underscoring the increasing significance of handsets in the financial services sector.
Monday, January 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

International funding for financial inclusion climbs to $29 billion in 2012 - survey

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Global spending on financial inclusion increased by an estimated 12 percent in 2012, totaling $29 billion, according to a survey by a World Bank financial inclusion think tank.
Monday, January 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Technology rings in financial inclusion

Source: The Financial Express

Technology is powering inclusive growth, using mobile telephony to deliver financial literacy and access to small value financial transactions for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
Monday, January 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Growth Of Payroll Cards Brings Financial Inclusion For Unbanked Americans

Source: Imperial Valley News

According to a recent Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) survey, more than 68 million Americans live day to day in a cash-only economy. They pay their bills and buy groceries with cash and what money they save is stuffed under the proverbial mattress.
Thursday, January 09, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Central Bank of Nigeria moves to enhance financial services to Nigerians

Source: Africa Manager

Nigeria felt that it is lagging behind some of its peer countries in Africa.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 — No Region Specified

Nigeria promoting financial inclusion through prize-linked promotions

Source: Business Day

Showy and appealing, prize-linked promotions (PLPs) are the modern version of ‘Million Adventure’, a savings programme launched in the UK in 1694. Anne Murphy in “Lotteries in the 1690s: Investment or Gamble?” described it as “an unprecedented large-scale financial saving tool”. Thomas Neale, who was in charge of the promo commenting on its success said: ‘many Thousands who only have small sums, and cannot now bring them into the Publick, [may now] engage themselves in this Fund’.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 — No Region Specified

Reserve Bank of India panel suggests new set of banks for financial inclusion

Source: Live Mint

RBI panel headed by Nachiket Mor also seeks universal electronic bank account for all adult Indian citizens by January 2016.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 — No Region Specified

Credit Score, by Multiple Choice

Source: New York Times

No credit? No problem — just take a test. That’s the message being delivered to more than 70,000 small-business owners in developing countries where credit ratings are rare and many potential entrepreneurs keep their money in cash rather than bank accounts.
Thursday, January 02, 2014 — South Asia

Bank Alfalah introduces mobile money service in Pakistan

Source: Banking Technology

Pakistani Bank Alfalah has teamed up with operator Warid Telecom to launch a mobile money service. The service, Mobile Paisa, will initially enable users to make utility bill payments and secure money transfers across Pakistan.
Thursday, January 02, 2014 — South Asia

Opinion : Women and the poor are invisible in the Crisil index of financial inclusion in India

Source: The Indian Express

Indices such as these are designed to help policymakers and service providers improve financial inclusion, which is often defined as reaching the "unreached". But if the aim is to reach the poor and to reach women, then the figures should give us a break-up by gender
Thursday, January 02, 2014 — South Asia

Opinion : ‘FDI in micro finance will help Muslims’ in India

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Studies show that hundreds of Women Self Help Groups and co-operative societies created at Muslim-populated areas were denied recognition as the members were only Muslims.
Thursday, January 02, 2014 — South Asia

Opinion : The economics of microcredit

Source: The News International

The problem of adverse selection in a credit market is used to describe a situation where the lender involved in a transaction cannot observe the type or quality of goods or the production of the borrower.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 — Asia Pacific

Small loans a big help for typhoon survivors in the Philippines

Source: CNN

The typhoon affected more than 13 million people, including 5 million children, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Even before the storm, nearly 44% of Filipinos lived on less than $2 day and there are now fewer resources than ever to help those in need.
Monday, December 23, 2013 — No Region Specified

Politicians target the middle class

Source: Live Mint

The middle class, though very audible in urban areas, has rarely appealed as a collective to the political class.
Friday, December 20, 2013 — No Region Specified

Rwanda targeting 80% financial inclusion by 2017

Source: Rwanda Eye

In order to achieve the country’s economic transformation and poverty reduction, Rwanda has set its goal on increasing financial inclusion to 80 percent by 2017, through deepening and broadening the financial literacy of Rwandans.
Thursday, December 19, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghana: Banks Struggle to Mobilize Savings, as MFIs Take Deep Bite

Source: Syminvest

The reserves of commercial banks in the country have been on consistent decline since the first quarter of the year following a sharp increase in the withdrawal of deposits and saving by their customers.
Thursday, December 19, 2013 — No Region Specified

Incofin Investment Management endorses need for agricultural finance by launching new $200 million agRIF fund

Source: Microfinance Gateway

Incofin Investment Management (IM) is seeking to raise around USD 200 million for its new agRIF fund which will focus on the unmet global demand for financial services that target smallholder farmers.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

The Lion and the Toucan: Bank of Tanzania’s experiences in mobile finance offer valuable lessons to peers in Brazil

Source: Alliance for Financial Inclusion

Brazil is the largest nation in Latin America in terms of population and area. Already a well-established regional and global leader in the field of financial inclusion, notably in areas such as agent banking and financial education, with a long history of overcoming policy challenges and difficulties, it would be easy for the nation to rest comfortably on its impressive policy achievements.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

Microfinance’s macro potential

Source: Economia

Microfinance is, at its heart, an effort to provide financial services to people who are not served – or are under-served – by the formal banking system. With appropriate, accessible, and fairly priced financial services, people can build their savings, cover the costs of unexpected emergencies, and invest in their families’ health, housing, and education.
Monday, December 16, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion Gets to Lagos Slum

Source: This Day Live

Sterling Bank’s recent extension of its financial services, through the agent banking model to Makoko, a slum area in Lagos, has attracted a lot of attention.
Monday, December 16, 2013 — No Region Specified

In the Pacific, banks go branchless to reach the unbanked

Source: Islands Business

Branchless banking, mobile banking, mobile “wallets”, innovations in financial services are seeing thousands of poor and low-income people use their mobile phones to enter the financial system for the first time; to open accounts, get paid, save money and begin to move out of poverty.
Friday, December 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

Big banks see rich opportunities in world's poorest

Source: Reuters

When the Afghan government used mobile phones instead of cash to pay some of its policemen, the officers thought they'd just had a 30 percent pay rise. In truth, they had just been paid the full amount, with nothing skimmed off by middlemen, for the first time.
Friday, December 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

How SME financial access in Africa compares to other developing economies

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Africa is the world’s second fastest growing region after Asia, and has seen increasing interest from foreign and African investors. However, access to finance is – in general – still a major limitation for many African small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Thursday, December 12, 2013 — No Region Specified

Access to Basic Banking Is a Crisis for 40 Million Americans

Source: Time Magazine

Some 2.5 billion people have no access to basic financial products like insurance and credit cards. Fixing that would fix a lot of the world's poverty problems.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Banking Moves Ahead in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

As a result of the innovation in the Nigerian payment system, mobile phones have rapidly become a major medium for banking and payment for transactions, writes Nume Horsfall.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 — No Region Specified

World Bank: Crowdfunding Investment Market to Hit $93 Billion by 2025

Source: PBS

Crowdfunding has come a long way since 2008, when a group of UC Berkeley MBA students launched Indiegogo. It’s now a multibillion-dollar industry growing literally exponentially and worldwide
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Israeli hackers with a conscience

Source: Haaretz

Tel Aviv hackathon aims to show that technology can help the world's poorest people - and make a profit.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 — South Asia

Small business financing companies can play much bigger role in financial inclusion in India

Source: Business Standard

For that, there is an immediate need for formation of an independent regulator to formulate framework for sustainable and better functioning of Small Business Financing Companies (SBFCs) that has been doing a wonderful work for promoting growth of small business in India, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha said.
Monday, December 09, 2013 — No Region Specified

Big banks see rich opportunities in world's poorest

Source: Reuters

When the Afghan government used mobile phones instead of cash to pay some of its policemen, the officers thought they'd just had a 30 percent pay rise. In truth, they had just been paid the full amount, with nothing skimmed off by middlemen, for the first time.
Friday, December 06, 2013 — South Asia

Accion International urges India’s Reserve Bank to allow financial access to the physically disadvantaged

Source: The Economic Times

"People with disabilities should get financial access, organisation should not be discriminated against. The issues has to do with physical conditions and discrimination of specific conditions." - Accion International Managing Director
Friday, December 06, 2013 — No Region Specified

bKash looks to dethrone M-PESA as the world’s top mobile finance provider

Source: The Financial Express

bKash Limited is looking to become the largest mobile banking service provider company in the world within the next few years, chief of the company said.
Friday, December 06, 2013 — South Asia

Microfinance has failed in India: Jairam Ramesh

Source: Hindustan Times

"Microfinance 1.0 has failed. It was not the miracle it was touted to be," said Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh at the HT Leadership Summit 2013 on Friday.
Thursday, December 05, 2013 — South Asia

Mobile Payments Gain Traction Among India’s Poor

Source: THe New York Times

South Asia is a fertile market for the concept. The region consisting primarily of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan accounts for the largest number of offices actively providing mobile money services, 3.8 million compared with 805,000 in all of Africa and 1.8 million in East Asia and the Pacific.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 — Asia Pacific

Post-typhoon expansion of micro-insurance coverage for the poor sought in the Phillipines

Source: Inquirer News

The recent devastation caused by supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas underscored the importance of expanding coverage of micro-insurance to the marginalized communities in the country.
Monday, December 02, 2013 — No Region Specified

A Goat Or An ATM?

Source: Business World

Financial inclusion efforts in India have achieved much but remain hobbled by the lack of an effective impact assessment framework.
Monday, December 02, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s merchants are warming up to a payment system born in a Seattle basement

Source: Quartz

Naming your company “money” takes some gall, but for the founders of Kopo Kopo, the gambit looks like it might pay off.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 — No Region Specified

Leveraging Financial Inclusion to Promote Economic Development in Egypt

Source: Global Arab Network

Egyptian policymakers are facing a significant challenge: how to address acute economic challenges while managing ongoing political and social transitions.
Monday, November 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Should non-bank financial institutions be a part of the financial inclusion agenda?

Source: Alliance for Financial Inclusion

Deposit-taking non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), such as microfinance institutions (MFIs), financial cooperatives and postal banks, together serve approximately 596 million people in the global south. These institutions have many of the characteristics which research shows are key drivers for expanding access and reducing poverty.
Friday, November 22, 2013 — No Region Specified

Finding Macro Solutions for Microfinance

Source: Institutional Investor

Small loans to give backcountry villagers a modest start toward entrepreneurship — the bright idea that brought Muhammad Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, 30 years after he founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh — is by now a fading ideal.
Friday, November 22, 2013 — No Region Specified

MetLife and Sesame Workshop to Provide Financial Knowledge & Resources to Low-Income Families with Young Children

Source: The Wall Street Journal

MetLife, Inc. announced today that MetLife Foundation has committed $20 million over the next five years to Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, to advance financial capability among low and moderate-income families with young children throughout the world.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 — South Asia

India launches first bank exclusively for women

Source: Trust.org

India launched its first public sector bank catering for women on Tuesday, an initiative aimed at economically empowering millions of women across the country who do not have access to basic financial services such as bank accounts or loans.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 — No Region Specified

PHOTOS: What If The Poor Weren't Marginalized?

Source: Huffington Post

The idea of "financial inclusion" can seem abstract or difficult to comprehend until you put a human face on it.
Friday, November 15, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Kenya’s mobile leaders are optimistic about 2014

Source: IT News Africa

MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, today launched the first report of a three-country African Growth Market Study on mobile content and commerce.
Friday, November 15, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile money meets credit card in Ghana

Source: Gadget

MTN and Visa have partnered to offer customers a mobile payment solution which allows MTN Mobile Money users to make face-to-face and online transactions wherever Visa is accepted.
Thursday, November 14, 2013 — South Asia

Mobile banking clients cross 10m mark in Bangladesh

Source: Dhaka Tribune

“The milestone has been achieved in just three years, contributing a lot to the financial inclusion initiative”
Thursday, November 14, 2013 — No Region Specified

Operation Hope Summit: Reaching the Bottom of America's Pyramid

Source: Global Atlanta

Rather than casting the poor as lazy or ignorant, society should be looking for ways to redirect their latent talents and connect them with opportunity.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

Telecoms firms pin hopes on mobile banking

Source: IOL News

Cellular operators want to open up their networks for more banking transactions as they have pinned their hopes on mobile money to grow revenues in the future. According to Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson’s sub-Saharan African regional head, the most downloaded mobile apps in Africa now were banking apps. Social networks were the second most downloaded.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

Financial Inclusion By 2020: Our Generation’s Equivalent of Putting a Man on the Moon

Source: LinkedIn Today

Organizations like the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and the World Bank have recently set a goal by 2020 of achieving full financial inclusion for the 2.5 billion people – about half the planet – who don’t participate in the financial mainstream. Bringing one in two people across the globe into the financial fold is a formidable challenge. Can it be done?
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

A data-driven perspective on Islamic finance

Source: Global Arab Network

In an effort to add some empirical rigor to ongoing debates surrounding Islamic finance, a new working paper and Findex Note explore differences in the usage of formal financial services between Muslims and non-Muslims, and the usage of and preference for Sharia-compliant banking products.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 — No Region Specified

Mobile banking without a phone: Here comes the bank van

Source: Christian Science Monitor

In Uganda, Rwanda, and the Philippines mobile banking vans reach out to the rural poor as an alternative to cell phone banking schemes.
Friday, November 08, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Scratch Cards Provide Short Term Savings for Zambian Cotton Farmers

Source: All Africa

Among problems facing farmers is access to financial services, including banking services and loans. In Bungoma County, Western Kenya, farmers shied away from small and micro financial institutions due to the high cost of loans and high expectations imposed on them. In Zambia, a donor funded pilot project brought in some form of financial inclusion to cotton farmers.
Thursday, November 07, 2013 — Latin America

ADB, IDB Presidents discuss interregional partnership and shared challenges

Source: Press Release

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno met today to discuss how the two regions can step up joint efforts to tackle shared opportunities and challenges, such as increased economic integration, private sector development, rising inequality, and a lack of opportunities for the poor.
Thursday, November 07, 2013 — No Region Specified

New Report Finds $5 Billion in Investments in FinTech for Financially Underserved Americans

Source: MarketWatch

Study Tracking Investment Activity in FinTech Companies with Potential to Help Financially Underserved Consumers Shows Growing Market, Investor Opportunity, and Emphasis on Payments and Specialty Credit Technologies
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 — No Region Specified

MasterCard Launches Center to Drive Inclusive Growth Around the World

Source: Wall St. Journal

MasterCard has launched the Center for Inclusive Growth to further sustainable and equitable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 — South Asia

In India, what drives private banks’ interest in rural areas?

Source: Live Mint

The rapid increase of rural incomes and consumption with a shift in expenditure patterns has altered business perceptions
Monday, November 04, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile money agents fortify shops to stem rising crime

Source: Daily Nation

An upsurge of crime targeting mobile money shops in Kenya has prompted operators to come up with new ways to ward off criminals.
Monday, November 04, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bringing financial inclusion to the Horn of Africa

Source: CNNMoney

At present some 281,000 active subscribers use their mobile phones every day to transfer money, make purchases, pay bills, and buy airtime in Somaliland. That number is expected to increase to 400,000 by the end of 2014, says Adan Shire.
Friday, November 01, 2013 — South Asia

SKS Microfinance poised to make a clean break from the past

Source: The Economic Times

If Vikram Akula, the disgraced founder of SKS Microfinance, is attempting a back-door entry into the company, then something in it is attractive again.
Friday, November 01, 2013 — No Region Specified

Piloting the 2014 Findex

Source: World Bank Blogs

As President Kim pointed out earlier this month at the plenary of the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, 2.5 billion adults worldwide aren’t using the formal financial system
Friday, November 01, 2013 — No Region Specified

Mobile Devices Alone Won't Solve American Financial Inclusion Problem

Source: American Banker

Mobile services would alleviate friction and save time for underserved, low-income consumers. But convenience won't necessarily transform the financially excluded into the financially included.
Friday, November 01, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Comes To Ethiopia

Source: African Business Magazine

Ethiopia lags far behind its East African neighbours in the development of its telecommunications sector and the services that the system now routinely provides elsewhere. This is about to change with the rollout of the country’s first mobile money transfer system this January
Thursday, October 31, 2013 — South Asia

Indian company to install 15,000 ATMs in the next 3 years

Source: The Economic Times

India is an under-penetrated ATM market with only 98 ATMs for every one million people.
Thursday, October 31, 2013 — No Region Specified

Look beyond the obvious for mobile payments' value proposition

Source: Mobile Payments Today

Analysys Mason senior adviser Tim Harrabin predicts that the end of the physical wallet is near.
Monday, October 28, 2013 — No Region Specified

Full Financial Inclusion Possible by 2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Center for Financial Inclusion "Mapping the Invisible Market" project revealed that the majority of the financially excluded live in just six countries: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Monday, October 28, 2013 — Asia Pacific

In Indonesia, Mobile banking becomes a source of local banks’ revenue

Source: The Jakarta Post

With the sharp increase in the use of smartphones, mobile banking has become an important source of income for Indonesian banks that are now expanding fee-based services to boost their profits.
Monday, October 28, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microinsurance in Africa grows by 200%, says report

Source: The Nation

More than 44 million Africans use microinsurance products as tools to manage the risks they are exposed to, a study on the Landscape of Microinsurance in Africa last year has shown.
Friday, October 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

MetLife Foundation Commits $200 Million over Five Years to Global Campaign for Financial Inclusion

Source: MarketWatch

MetLife Foundation's New Vision Will Bring Affordable Financial Services to Underserved People Worldwide
Thursday, October 24, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN and Uganda's Crane Bank Launch Mobile Money ATM Cash Out Service

Source: PC Tech Magazine

In a partnership with Crane Bank – one of Uganda’s largest indigenous banks – the MTN Mobile Money cash out service allows MTN customers to withdraw money from Crane Bank’s ATMs using their phone.
Thursday, October 24, 2013 — South Asia

Indian Banks complete first phase of financial inclusion

Source: Business Standard

Commercial banks have achieved the target of providing banking outlets to all villages in Karnataka, with a population of over 2,000 people.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 — No Region Specified

11 verdicts on microfinance

Source: The Guardian

Can smarter regulation restore faith in microfinance or does it need to be completely overhauled? Our live chat panelists offer their thoughts on development's controversial sector.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 — No Region Specified

Microfinance Apex Bank Proposed in Ghana

Source: Spy Ghana

Speedy establishment of a Microfinance Apex Bank has been proposed to bolster the microfinance sector, critical for poverty reduction through financial empowerment of low-income people.
Monday, October 21, 2013 — South Asia

Inclusion — don’t count on banks

Source: The Hindu Business Line

We need thousands of small private sector financial intermediaries for promoting financial inclusion.
Friday, October 18, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: 'Ensuring Universal Access to Financial Services Key Priority'

Source: The New Times - allAfrica

Increasing access to financial services is one of the Government's priorities as Rwanda looks to ensure a self-reliant populace, John Rwangombwa, the central bank governor, has said. "Rwanda's vision is to ensure financial inclusion, especially for the rural masses. In fact, we have made significant progress towards this target. So far, we have been able to double formal financial inclusion from 21 per cent of adults in 2008 to 42 per cent as at the end of last year," Rwangombwa noted.
Friday, October 18, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria's Bank of Industry Seeks to Empower Women with Financial Inclusion Strategy

Source: The Guardian (Nigeria)

For Nigeria to realise its economic goals, a paradigm shift in the nation’s financial inclusion strategy may have become imperative. This was the view of the Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Ms. Evelyn Oputu during at the microfinance conference organized by LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited in Lagos, yesterday.
Friday, October 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

Indonesia's Financial Services Authority Launches Micro-insurance

Source: The Jakarta Post

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) hopes a newly launched blueprint will support the marketing and implementation of micro-insurance products across Indonesia by 2016. According to OJK commissioner overseeing non-banking financial industry Firdaus Djaelani, it is expected that the blueprint will help expand the micro-insurance segment in the domestic market.
Thursday, October 17, 2013 — No Region Specified

India's Microfinance Industry Close to Being 100% Insured Sector

Source: Business Standard

Barely two years ago, a crisis-ridden microfinance sector was struggling to integrate into the formal finance sector. In 2013, the sector is close to being 100 percent insured.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 — No Region Specified

Child & Youth (Micro)Finance

Source: Huffington Post

The Child and Youth Finance global movement was launched in 2012 as a way to empower, include and educate children and youth all over the world.
Monday, October 14, 2013 — No Region Specified

First-Ever Kiva U Summit Convenes Student Leaders and Educators Around Financial Inclusion

Source: Market Watch

More than 150 college and high school student leaders and educators from around the world with an interest in critical issues around financial inclusion gathered for the first-ever Kiva U Summit.
Monday, October 14, 2013 — No Region Specified

Universal Financial Access Vital To Reducing Poverty, Says World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

Source: Eurasia Review

Leaders at a major World Bank Group forum put forward a vision for achieving universal financial access by 2020.
Monday, October 14, 2013 — No Region Specified

Microfinance key to achieve MDGs–Nobel awardee

Source: Business Mirror

JUST like microcredit, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, said on Friday the banking system needs to be redesigned so it can provide everybody access to financial services.
Friday, October 11, 2013 — No Region Specified

Bank of Jamaica Developing Agent Banking System to Reach the Unbanked

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

In pursuit of greater financial inclusion, the banking regulator plans to allow traditional banking institutions to partner with third parties to offer banking services, as agents. As much as a third of the Jamaican population are 'unbanked', that is they do not use or have limited access to the formal banking system.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 — South Asia

Strong signals for mobile banking

Source: Financial Express

With 840 million phones potentially competing against less than 85,000 bank branches, there is no doubt over mobile banking’s potential to accelerate financial inclusion.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Microfinance Banks Need More Financial Empowerment

Source: All Africa

The Managing Director, Fortis Micofinance Bank Plc, Mr. Kunle Oketikun has called for more financial empowerment for Nigerians.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 — No Region Specified

Visa partners with Micro Pension

Source: India Blooms

Global payments technology company Visa on Wednesday announced a partnership with Micro Pension Foundation, an Indian non-profit organization.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 — No Region Specified

In Financial Inclusion, Indonesia's Policies and Banks Found Wanting

Source: The Jakarta Globe

The direct relationship between financial inclusion and economic growth and development is well accepted globally. But when it comes to financial inclusion in Indonesia, there is quite a long way to go. The concept of financial inclusion not only embraces access to credit and loans for all, it also means access to bank accounts, insurance products and, equally importantly, financial education.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Easing Nigeria's Banking Gridlock

Source: The Africa Report

The past decade of banking in Nigeria has not been for the faint hearted.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 — Asia Pacific

World Bank president to open 2013 Microcredit Summit

Source: Sun Star Manila

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim will open the 2013 Microcredit Summit: Partnerships against Poverty on October 9 with a recorded statement urging the nearly 800 delegates from 69 countries to commit themselves to the advancement of microfinance to end extreme poverty.
Monday, October 07, 2013 — No Region Specified

New blow for microlenders in South Africa

Source: Business Times

GRAMEEN bank founder Muhammad Yunus, widely considered the father of modern microcredit, issued a stern warning on Friday about how microlending could become “abusive” and be misused by lenders.
Monday, October 07, 2013 — No Region Specified

Financial inclusion: India too may learn from US weather insurance firm ClimateCorp’s model

Source: The Economic Times

ClimateCorp is actually a very interesting company which straddles an intersection between technology and retail financial services in an innovative way. Moreover, its approach holds an important lesson for us in India. ClimateCorp is a provider of weather insurance. However, it does so in a retail, online, productised and data-driven way.
Thursday, October 03, 2013 — South Asia

India's Banks not Inclusive Enough

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Are commercial banking (as it is currently practiced in India) and attainment of financial inclusion mutually exclusive?
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 — No Region Specified

Airtel Money and Ecobank in mobile money partnership

Source: HumanIPO

Bharti Airtel has announced a partnership with Ecobank to deliver Airtel Money to nine countries across Africa with Airtel operations. The partnership will make it possible for Airtel customers in the countries with businesses with Ecobank to access secure, convenient and instant mobile financial services on the go.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 — No Region Specified

Poor are more trustworthy and bankable, says India's Finance Minister

Source: ZeeBiz

Seeking to promote financial inclusion, India's Finance Minister P Chidambaram today called upon banks to focus on poor customers who are more trustworthy and "bankable" as compared to large borrowers.
Tuesday, October 01, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Telcos’ exclusion slows uptake in Nigerian mobile money business

Source: Business Day

Analysts have identified the exclusion of telecommunications operators from playing critical roles in the implementation of mobile money as a significant drawback to the uptake of the service two years after its launch by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Tuesday, October 01, 2013 — South Asia

Indian micro-lenders look beyond Andhra Pradesh for survival

Source: Business Standard

Micro-lenders claim that new rules have turned their businesses unviable and encouraged borrowers to not repay money.
Monday, September 30, 2013 — No Region Specified

Looking For The Next Big Thing In Smartphones? Think Digital Inclusion In Developing Countries

Source: Forbes

If you’re looking for a revolution involving smartphones, you’re unlikely to find one by staking out front row seats at the next new product announcement. The transition from basic “feature” phones to smartphones is about to reshape how a large fraction of the world’s population engages with information.
Friday, September 27, 2013 — Asia Pacific

Philippines central bank in broad Islamic finance push

Source: MSN Money

In what could be one of the most ambitious efforts to facilitate Islamic finance in a non-Muslim country, the Philippines' central bank is pushing several initiatives to develop the sector and encourage financial inclusion of the Muslim minority.
Friday, September 27, 2013 — No Region Specified

Not Your Mother's Microfinance

Source: Huffington Post

Forward-thinking small business owners across the developing world are turning to the online space as an alternative source of small business loans.
Thursday, September 26, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial services access hits 67% on mobile payments

Source: Business Daily Africa

Two thirds of Kenyans are now able to access formal financial services indicating increased deposit mobilisation in the country following success in mobile payment services and increased penetration by commercial banks.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

SKS Microfinance Limited to go for image makeover

Source: The Times of India

HYDERABAD: Battered by the AP MFI crisis, SKS Microfinance Limited, India's sole listed microfinance company said it had roped in one of the leading global marketing strategists Jack Trout to revamp its image.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Western Union expands mobile transfer network

Source: Mobile Payments Today

An old-line American cash-based money transfer operator is expanding its channel offerings and embracing mobile in a big way.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Agent banking in Nigeria: Long wait to ‘hit the ground running’

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

In August 2013, approval requirements for financial institutions wishing to key into Nigeria's agent banking business were released. Where are we now?
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 — No Region Specified

Coalition of Public, Private and Civil Society Leaders Unveils Roadmap to Financial Inclusion

Source: Reuters

Financial Inclusion 2020 today announced the launch of the Roadmap to Financial Inclusion, a series of recommendations designed to expand access to quality financial services globally.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 — No Region Specified

It's Time to Move Underserved U.S. Latinos Into the Financial Mainstream

Source: Huffington Post

Half of the 52 million Latinos living in the U.S. are financially underserved -- this is an economically unsustainable situation, and it's time to make a change.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 — No Region Specified

MasterCard Promotes Financial Inclusion With Electronic Payments

Source: Forbes

While payment cards are often promoted as premium status-driven consumer products in the United States and Europe, in developing countries debit cards are proving valuable for delivering child benefits, pension payments and government salaries.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom Cautions Kenya Over Higher Taxes

Source: Ventures Africa

Kenyan mobile operator, Safaricom, has warned the government that further increases in Excise Tax – a duty levied on goods or services for sale – will make mobile payment services less affordable for poorer citizens.
Thursday, September 12, 2013 — No Region Specified

MasterCard Promotes Financial Inclusion With Electronic Payments

Source: Forbes

While payment cards are often promoted as premium status-driven consumer products in the United States and Europe, in developing countries debit cards are proving valuable for delivering child benefits, pension payments and government salaries.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bank? What bank? Orange, Visa and the changing face of Africa's mobile money

Source: ZD Net

While relatively few Africans have a bank account, companies are finding new ways to offer consumers bank-type services just using mobile devices.
Friday, September 06, 2013 — No Region Specified

Microinsurance: Can the Cinderella of Financial Inclusion Join the Global Ball?

Source: CFI Blog

The global financial inclusion agenda continues to place insurance at the back of the queue when it comes to funding and broader financial inclusion strategies.
Friday, September 06, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Did Mobile Money Flop In Nigeria?

Source: Tech President

Two years have passed since a mobile money service was deployed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and it still has yet to catch on with the masses.
Wednesday, September 04, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Are Bitcoins the Future of Mobile Money?

Source: Think Africa Press

The use of the virtual currency Bitcoins could change the way money flows in Kenya. But it hasn't caught on just yet.
Tuesday, September 03, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa will Rule the World in Mobile Money, Expert Predicts

Source: This Day Live

African countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania have been predicted to rule the world in mobile money transactions, which include mobile banking and mobile wallet, in the next few years, going by the continent’s population and zeal for technology advancement.
Thursday, August 08, 2013 — South Asia

Financial Inclusion is an Opportunity: BR Shetty

Source: Forbes India

The chairman of the UAE Exchange wants to improve financial literacy among those in the bottom of the economic pyramid
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 — No Region Specified

Financial inclusion gap: Some progress, but wide disparities remain

Source: Devex

Despite increased attention on the need to bridge the global financial inclusion gap, much of the adult population in the developing world still does not have bank accounts. Many do not have convenient access to traditional financial services either. But the gap is decreasing, a recently released report on financial inclusion finds.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

Cathy Pharoah: Hail to the Social Stock Exchange

Source: Third Sector

It's a rallying cry to the business world, but will sharpen the challenges that charities face, writes our columnist
Monday, June 10, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

AfDB Signs a Usd 100 Million Risk Participation Agreement With Commerzbank Ag to Support Trade Finance in Africa

Source: AllAfrica

The African Development Bank (AfDB) formally signed on May 29th in Marrakech, Morocco, in the prelude of the 48th AfDB Annual Meetings, a USD 100 million unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) with Commerzbank AG under which the two banks will share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African issuing banks in Africa and confirmed by Commerzbank AG.
Thursday, June 06, 2013 — No Region Specified

'The case for aid? Poverty can be a catalyst for extremist views'

Source: The Guardian

Philippe Douste-Blazy, special adviser to the UN secretary-general on innovative finance for development and chairman of Unitaid, the global health partnership, talks about his work
Thursday, June 06, 2013 — South Asia

What are the biggest problems for Indian healthcare system?

Source: The Times of India

The Indian healthcare system is a dilapidated state. The costs seem to raise everyday which makes it unaffordable for a large chuck of the population. Recently Indian Health Progress (IHP) organisation with support from PhRMa discussed what the Indian healthcare system desperately needs and the steps to improve it. Aman Gupta, Principal Advisory of IHP shares the key areas that need to be developed urgently.
Friday, May 31, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Best and Simplest Way to Fight Global Poverty

Source: Slate

Proof that giving cash to poor people, no strings attached, is an amazingly powerful tool for boosting incomes and promoting development.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 — Latin America

How an iPad in a corner store can spell success in Mexico

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On the outskirts of Mexico City, just past the dusty plateau of a defunct landfill, the cinder block houses of Chimalhuacán crowd a hillside. It’s a city beyond a city, made up of nearly 1 million residents including surrounding areas, yet it lacks many of services and stores one might expect of a city ­– like banks.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 — South Asia

Vodafone Aims to Replicate M-Pesa’s Success in India

Source: Knowledge@Wharton Network

M-Pesa, the mobile-based money transfer and payment service that has been highly successful in Kenya since its launch in 2007, is now available in India by Vodafone, working through its fully-owned subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd (MCSL), and ICICI bank, the country’s largest private sector bank.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 — South Asia

Affordable houses, but for whom?

Source: Business Standard

The new launches in the affordable category could just be another marketing gimmick to push sales and mop up money
Tuesday, May 07, 2013 — No Region Specified

Accion’s Venture Lab Closes Initial Investments in Financial Inclusion Start-Ups

Source: Press Release

Accion announced the first five investments by Venture Lab, its $10 million seed capital initiative, which invests in start-up companies that help expand global financial inclusion. A pioneer and leader in bringing financial services to the underserved, Accion launched Venture Lab in April, 2012.
Friday, March 15, 2013 — South Asia

Rs 5,500-cr India Innovation Fund to focus on job creation

Source: The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: The government today said the Rs 5,500-crore 'India Inclusive Innovation Fund' will focus on generating employment and supporting livelihoods across the country through innovative enterprises.
Monday, February 04, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

In Pakistan, Savings Circles Beat Banks

Source: Bloomberg Business Week

Ali has been selling wall clocks and wristwatches in a crowded Karachi market for 15 years. He’s been participating in savings circles with fellow shopkeepers for just as long, and has used the proceeds to buy a car and acquire a new store. Now he’s a few months away from getting 400,000 rupees ($4,100) from a savings group of 16 shopkeepers into which he’s been paying 1,000 rupees a day for almost a year. He plans to put a down payment on an apartment. “This system is flawless,” says Ali, 35, who goes by one name. “You can never save this way without this binding commitment of making payments every day or every month. At banks there are hassles and procedures that waste time. This is simple. The organizer comes to collect the money himself, and because of the trust element, it’s a given that we’ll get the money.”
Monday, January 28, 2013 — No Region Specified

CFI at Accion, Citi, and Visa Inc. Launch Financial Inclusion 2020 to Accelerate Universal Financial Access

Source: Press Release

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, together with Citi and Visa Inc., today announced the launch of the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign (FI2020). FI2020 is focused on the acceleration of financial inclusion by uniting the private sector, governments, NGOs, and other relevant parties to develop and advance a comprehensive strategy to achieve this aim.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 — Latin America

Paying with 'kisses' as Brazil’s social currencies spread

Source: BBC

Shopkeeper Heraldo Rodrigues da Silva, 55, owns a small store in Sao Benedito, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Vitoria, the capital of the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo.
Friday, December 14, 2012 — South Asia

Will Saral Money reduce corruption?

Source: ZDNet

India's ruling government is making cash transfers an important pillar in its 2014 election strategy, and while others might call it bribery, citizens shouldn't complain if such initiatives help reduce corruption.
Friday, December 14, 2012 — No Region Specified

New, Individual-Level Data on Financial Inclusion: The “Unbanked” Are Deterred by Cost, Documentation, and Travel Requirements

Source: World Bank Press Release

WASHINGTON, December 13, 2012 – Policy makers can boost the number of people using formal financial services through policies that help reduce the cost, documentation requirements, and travel distance associated with accessing a bank account, says a new World Bank research paper.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya SMEs Get U.S.$60 Million

Source: All Africa

Nairobi — The World Bank has extended a $60 million loan towards boosting Kenya's fledgling Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
Monday, December 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Adult population access to MFBs swells by 4.6m

Source: Business Day

The number of adult population that have a microfinance bank account rose to 4.6 million or 5.2 percent in 2012 as against 3.2 million or 3.8 percent in 2010, representing 1.2 million increase, according to Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA)’s access to financial services in Nigeria 2012 survey report.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Observing the Arab Spring, African Bankers Devise Economic Strategies

Source: Knowledge@Wharton

The African Development Bank (AfDB) was established in 1964 to guide the continent onto a path of sustainable pan-African economic growth and reduce poverty. Heading its efforts is Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and vice president at the multilateral bank, which is temporarily headquartered in Tunisia.
Thursday, November 08, 2012 — No Region Specified

Mastercard Inc : The SEEP Network Partners with MasterCard to Promote Innovative Uses of Technology

Source: 4-Traders

Washington, DC, November 7, 2012 - The SEEP Network's two-day 2012 Annual Conference titled, "Building Inclusive Markets: Impact through Financial and Enterprise Solutions" kicks off on Wednesday, November 7 in Arlington, VA.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Education boosts role of local women

Source: China Daily

Women in the Tibet autonomous region enjoy rising social status and are stepping beyond their traditional roles, according to an official at the Tibet Women's Federation.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Study paints sad picture of women in poor countries

Source: Standard Digital

Women perform more than half of all economic activities in developing countries but only a third of their work is captured by statisticians, a new report says. This means women are likely to miss out on business, industrial and social development opportunities arising from globalisation.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Micro Benefits to be Recognized at the G20 Summit for Improving the Livelihoods of China's Factory Workers

Source: Market Watch Press Release

SUZHOU, China, Oct 31, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In collaboration with the G20 Mexico Summit, Ashoka Changemakers(R) has named Micro Benefits one of five finalists in a worldwide social impact competition - the G2012 Mexico Financial Inclusion Challenge: Innovative Solutions for Unlocking Access. More than half the world's population - some 2.7 billion adults - lack access to basic financial services such as affordable credit, savings and insurance products.
Monday, October 29, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

N220bn MFBs' fund to drive development, financial inclusion

Source: Punch Nigeria

The Federal Government is set to launch a N220bn fund to enable Nigerian businesses and citizens that lack access to traditional financial services access such services at a much lower cost. The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, said this at a press conference on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in Abuja on Wednesday.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 — South Asia

P Chidambaram urges banks to lend more to the poor

Source: Times of India

By saying banks need to lend more to the poor, Union finance minister P Chidambaram is on the right track. There is no denying that India continues to be a significantly under-banked country. Around 41% of the population is unbanked, with the figure touching as high as 61% in rural areas.
Friday, October 05, 2012 — Europe & Eurasia

Kyrgyzstan's Leading Microfinance Institution, Bai Tushum, Becomes A Bank

Source: The Herald Online

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Oct. 5, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On September 26 microfinance company Bai Tushum and Partners received preliminary permission from the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic to operate as a bank.
Monday, October 01, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Liberia: Lifting Liberia by Lifting Women -President Sirleaf Heightens Crusade on Women

Source: All Africa

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, addressing a Goldman Sachs Foundation Cocktail and Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Sunday, says one of the surest ways to lift Liberia is to train and empower 70% of the nation’s population, which are women and the youth.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 — No Region Specified

New Dalberg Report Guides Investors on Addressing Finance Demand for Smallholder Farmers

Source: Press Release

WASHINGTON DC – Dalberg Global Development Advisors has released a new report today identifying innovative and sustainable ways that investors can help fulfill the largely unmet need for smallholder agricultural financing.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 — South Asia

U.S.-Pakistan Women's Council Launched

Source: RTT News

(RTTNews) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday announced the launch of the U.S.-Pakistan Women's Council on the margins of the UN General Assembly, in the presence of Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman. Recognizing the critical role economically empowered women play in strengthening stability, security, and prosperity, the Council's core mission is to promote the economic advancement of women in Pakistan.
Monday, September 24, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

LendmeMula introduces ZimSwitch enabled MulaConnect card

Source: TechZim

One of the issues with the LendmeMula micro-credit service that we have covered here before, is that so far borrowers have had to wait for up to 24 hours before they could access the borrowed money in their bank accounts. The money had to be transferred by Lendme to their bank accounts. This made the process somewhat slow, and where a borrower did not have a bank ATM card, they had to pray they could access their money before the banks closed their doors.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Rural banks partner with telcos to boost microfinance

Source: The Manila Times

Rural banks will soon have their own set of “killer apps” to better compete with bigger banks and, more importantly, expand their microfinance services in the Philippines.
Friday, August 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Secret of Africa’s Banking Boom: Mobility

Source: TIME

While U.S. and European banks suffer hangovers from the Great Recession and continued shock waves inside the eurozone, Africa’s top lenders have never looked stronger or been more ambitious. Why is a continent better known for political instability and foreign aid riding a banking boom characterized by aggressive pan-African expansion and swelling balance sheets?
Thursday, July 26, 2012 — Latin America

Mexico experiments with the 'branchless' bank

Source: Marketbplace

Tess Vigeland: The FDIC estimates that somewhere around 18 percent of the U.S. population is what's called underbanked -- Ppeople who turn to payday lenders and check cashing services and the mattress because they don't have good access to the banking system.
Monday, July 02, 2012 — No Region Specified

Rio+20: business should help young people to build a positive future

Source: The Guardian

I spent two weeks tracking Rio+20 as a student reporter seeking to make sense of the sustainable development talks, listening to ministers, CEOs and scientists who opened up trail-blazing perspectives on changing economic and societal paradigms.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 — South Asia

Financial inclusion for whose benefit?

Source: The Hindu Business Line

The tale of financial inclusion in India is akin to that of the blind men and the elephant. You all know the story. A bunch of blind men chance upon an elephant. The one who catches hold of its tail says the elephant is like a rope. The one who touches the trunk says the elephant is like a snake, while the one touching the animal's leg insists it's like a tree.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Equity's Mwangi Tops the World Again

Source: All Africa

Nairobi, Kenya — Equity Bank's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director James Mwangi, has been voted the 2012 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year at a colorful ceremony held in Monte Carlo, Monaco over the weekend.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 — Latin America

First Fund to Help Smallholder Farmers with Long-Term Loans

Source: Microfinance Focus

Incofin Investment Management, Fairtrade International (FLO) and Grameen Foundation will establish a ‘First Fund’ to focus on the unmet demand of smallholder farmers for long-term loans.
Friday, April 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

Rethinking the Role of Capital Markets in Enabling Social Progress

Source: Forbes

Earlier this week at theGlobal Philanthropy Forum, Tracy Palandjian, CEO of Social Finance, Inc., served on a panel discussion around the challenges and opportunities of impact investing. In the below interview with Tracy, we discussed her career trajectory, the first-ever social impact bond in the United Kingdom and its potential to be replicated in the United States, and much more.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Microinsurance in Rapid Expansion Says ILO, Munich Re Report

Source: Insurance Journal

According to the Microinsurance Innovation Facility of the International Labor Organizationand the Munich Re Foundation, “the number of microinsurance schemes worldwide has increased substantially over the past five years and now reaches an estimated 500 million worldwide.”
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Microfinance Giant Launches Venture Capital Fund For East Africa

Source: Forbes

Accion, an international microfinance and investment firm, has launched Venture Lab, a $10 million investment vehicle which will provide seed capital and management support to financial inclusion startups worldwide, with a particular focus on East Africa and India.
Friday, April 06, 2012 — South Asia

Government's Heavy-handed Regulation of Microfinance Will Kill It and Bring Back Moneylenders

Source: The Economic Times

Among many Bills stuck in the legislative process is the Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill. This is a 2011 Bill. An earlier 2007 Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha, but lapsed with the lower House's dissolution in 2009. Financial inclusion shouldn't mean only credit.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 — No Region Specified

Accion Launches Venture Lab, a Seed-Stage Investment Initiative for Financial Inclusion Start-ups

Source: Press Release

Accion, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, today announced the launch of Venture Lab, an initiative dedicated to providing seed capital and management support to financial inclusion start-ups worldwide. The $10 million program will seek out companies that have completed research and development and are at the pilot/first-revenue stage. Investments will typically be in the range of US $100,000-$300,000, invested either as convertible debt or equity.
Monday, April 02, 2012 — South Asia

Omidyar's Jayant Sinha: Volatile Government Policy is a Deterrent to Investing

Source: Forbes India

Jayant Sinha, partner and MD, Omidyar Network India Advisors, tells Dinesh Narayanan that government trying to micro-manage the economy is not good. Edited excerpts from an interview.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 — South Asia

Angel Deals May Get Tax Breather

Source: VCCircle

Individual investment up to Rs 5 crore and total deal of Rs 10 crore may be exempted.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 — No Region Specified

Is Sustainable Local Development A Persuasive Alternative to Microfinance?

Source: The Guardian

Milford Bateman has made a cogent case for community-based financial institutions that prioritise sustainable local solutions
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 — Europe & Eurasia

The Argidius Foundation and ANDE Announce Finance Challenge to Stimulate Small Businesses in Emerging Markets

Source: Press Release

Competition aimed at providing entrepreneurial finance will award up to two million euros
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 — No Region Specified

Microcredit Is Expanding to New Products for the Poor

Source: Voice of America

We spoke to Ghiyath Nakshbendi about changes in the world of microfinance. He is an expert in international business and teaches microfinance as a business model at the Kogod School of Business at American University.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

GroFin Expands Pool of SME Funding to $323 million, Enters Three New Countries

Source: Press Release

GroFin, the multinational pioneer of growth finance working to create real impact through the support of small and medium businesses, has announced a growth in funds under management from $260 million to $323 million.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 — Latin America

Tigo Helps Remittances Go Mobile

Source: Fast Company

In countries like Guatemala, remittances from migrant workers in the U.S. are critical to the economy. Tigo, an international telecom, has a unique plan to use mobile banking to simplify a trying process.
Monday, March 19, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Facebook-style Microcredit Site Helps China Farmers

Source: NewStraitsTimes

BEIJING: Dairy farmer Deligeerma needs 642 to buy fodder for her cows during the harsh winter months in northern China. So far, she has received 149 in pledges from four people around the world.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 — No Region Specified

What Went Wrong with Microfinance?

Source: Time

Long before “99%” became a symbol of Occupy Wall Street, the microfinance industry used the number to describe the share of its clients — poor entrepreneurs shunned by traditional banks — who repaid their micro-loans on time. It’s a number used less and less in microfinance these days — not because of Occupy Wall Street, but because many micro-borrowers are starting to default.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 — South Asia

For a New Highway, from Rio to Delhi

Source: The Hindu

Brazil and India can benefit from each other's experience for an inclusive development agenda.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 — South Asia

N Sundaresha Subramanian: Why the SME Exchange Needs a Big Hand

Source: Business Standard

For the third time in the Indian stock market history, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) now have a new platform to access funds from people other than friends and family in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) SME exchange that completed its first initial public offer (IPO) in February.
Monday, March 12, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Kiva and Silatech Launch Online Entrepreneur Micro-loans

Source: ITP.net

Online micro-lending platform Kiva has announced a partnership with Qatar's Silatech to develop an online funding programme for young Arab entrepreneurs.
Friday, March 09, 2012 — Asia Pacific

IFC To Start $100M Microfinance Debt Fund

Source: VCCircle

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group, along with two other investors, will set up a $100 million debt fund called Micro Finance Initiative for Asia (MIFA), to address the funding needs of microfinance institutions in developing and underdeveloped economies.
Thursday, March 08, 2012 — Latin America

Tiny Loans, Tremendous Returns: Tales from the Microlending Frontier

Source: DailyFinance

Sometimes, small gestures can make huge differences in people's lives and livelihoods. That's the premise -- and the power -- of microlending.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 — No Region Specified

Cash Transfers Do Not Address the Underlying Causes of Women's Poverty

Source: The Guardian

Women need more than just small amounts of cash to escape poverty – the limited 'empowerment' of income support should be coupled with training and employment
Thursday, February 23, 2012 — No Region Specified

The State and Future of Impact Investing

Source: Forbes

In a recent interview with Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund, we discussed his new book about the impact investing sector, emerging trends and ideas in this space, challenges and opportunities moving forward, what the world would look like if the potential of impact investing were to be realized, and advice to traditional investors interested in becoming an impact investor.
Friday, February 17, 2012 — South Asia

Indian MFIs Have Deviated From Idea of Micro Credit: Muhammad Yunus

Source: The Economic Times

Microfinance institutions in India have deviated from the idea of micro credit, Professor Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Yunus Centre and pioneer of micro-credit, has said. "They (MFIs) moved away from the idea of micro credit. That has created all the problems," said Yunus, in a media brefing in Mumbai. "MFIs based in Andhra Pradesh have drifted from their mission.
Friday, February 17, 2012 — No Region Specified

E+Co Announces Plans to Scale Up Clean Energy Investments

Source: Press Release

E+Co, the non-profit leader in clean energy investing in small and medium enterprises in emerging markets, announced today that it will phase out its innovations unit to solely focus on and scale up clean energy investments in developing markets.
Thursday, February 16, 2012 — No Region Specified

Commercial MFIs Can Make Markets Work for the Poor

Source: The Economic Times

Commercial microfinance institutions (MFIs) are an exemplification of making markets work for the poor. Are they indeed? A recent piece of research, comparing the lending performance of for-profit MFIs with not-for-profit MFIs, shows that though for-profit MFIs serve close to three-quarters of the market, the evidence does not seem to indicate that these MFIs lend indiscriminately when compared to their peers.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 — No Region Specified

World Bank President Robert Zoellick Tells Board He Will Step Down June 30

Source: The Washington Post

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Wednesday he is stepping down, raising the possibility that a non-American might be chosen for the first time to head the 187-nation lending organization.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Accion MFB Considers Customers’ Plight, Out With Low Interest Products

Source: Business Day

Accion Micro Finance Bank has come out with cheaper and low interest rate products to meet the needs of its customers.
Monday, February 13, 2012 — South Asia

Microfinance Project Helping Low Income Group In Singapore

Source: Justmeans

An innovative MicroCredit Business Scheme (MCBS) has been launched in Singapore to help people from low-income backgrounds create a sustainable income by establishing or expanding their small businesses. The project is a pioneering initiative in Singapore that is being implement as a collaboration between POSBank (POSB), Tote Board, and the Social Enterprise Hub.
Thursday, February 09, 2012 — South Asia

Akhuwat: Making Microfinance Work

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

A groundbreaking microfinance model is bringing out the best in society and bucking the trend of giving out loans that could realistically never be paid back.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance Services in Ghana Greeted With Hope, Concern

Source: Voice of America

Microfinance, providing financial services to low-income clients, has gained popularity in Ghana in the past 20 years and has played an important role in helping the poor - especially women - improve their lives.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012 — No Region Specified

Avoiding the “Hope Bubble”

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

We must invest in the financial literacy of social entrepreneurs and in the social literacy of investors.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 — No Region Specified

Microfinance Will Eliminate Severe Poverty – John Hatch

Source: Microfinance Focus

In an exclusive interview with Microfinance Focus, John Hatch, founder of FINCA and creator of Village banking, discusses the future of microfinance industry and FINCA’s efforts to stay committed to its social mission.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How Businesses Can Excel as the Poor Shift to Buying in Small Packs

Source: Business Daily

My colleague expressed shock at the price of packaged mushrooms in supermarkets in Eastlands compared to those in Westlands in Nairobi. The price for the same product was almost double in Eastlands compared to Westlands. She was surprised at the pricing logic, but this is just a poverty penalty. I explained that the rich always pay less than the poor in many circumstances. Micro finance institutions charge higher interest rates for loans than mainstream banks while shylocks ...
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Show Me Your Pricing Data: Transparency Helps Philippines Lead Global Microfinance

Source: Justmeans

"The Philippines receives a perfect score...for the way it regulates the microcredit activities of established financial institutions." -- Economist Intelligence Unit,"Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment" [1] The microfinance industry has taken a beating lately. In March, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunnus was ousted from his position as managing director of the microcredit lender Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which he founded in 1983, by the ...
Friday, February 19, 2010 — South Asia

Helping Farmers Pedal Out of Poverty

Source: Hindu Business Line

He has reached over one million small and marginal farmers — those owning less than one acre — in India with his low-cost irrigation tools to meet their water needs. But ask Amitabha Sadangi, CEO of IDE (International Development Enterprises) - India, how we are treat...
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