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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
Monday, March 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Mobile Banking Revolution and What It Means for South Africa

Source: Ventures Africa

New mobile payment platforms can provide a foundation for financial inclusion in South Africa and beyond, says David Abbott of Fiserv, a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions. But who will build the robust ecosystem required to fulfill their potential?
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — South Asia

Yunus Sees Room for Microcredit in China

Source: Global Times

Microcredit has been met with immense enthusiasm in China in recent years, with both banks and business moguls pushing into the sector. Global Times (GT) reporters Gu Di and Liu Zhun talked to Muhammad Yunus (Yunus), a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, economist, and microcredit icon. For founding Grameen Bank, a bank that makes small loans to the impoverished, he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Yunus shared his understanding with GT of why microcredit is flourishing in China and how China's "One Belt and One Road" project could influence the field.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MasterCard, Grooming Centre Boost Financial Inclusion for MSMEs in Nigeria

Source: Disrupt Africa

Over 500,000 female entrepreneurs in Nigeria are to be introduced to electronic payments under a new partnership agreed between MasterCard and local microfinance institution Grooming Centre.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion: Equity Bank, Master Card Launch New Prepaid Card in Kenya

Source: Ventures Africa

In a manner of speaking, Africa can mentor the rest of the world on mobile money based on the number of such solutions that have been successfully planted on the continent in the past half-decade. In a very recent development, Equity Bank Kenya has, in conjunction with MasterCard, launched a prepaid card with the central aim of deepening the cash lite economy in the east African country.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Banking Africa’s Unbanked Population is Not the Solution to Improved Inclusion

Source: Ventures Africa

Banking Africa’s unbanked population–adults who don’t use formal banks or semi-formal microfinance institutions to save or borrow money–may not be the solution to providing wider access to financial products and services.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Kompanion Financial Group Completes Equity Raise with Investment from FMO and Triodos Investment Management

Source: Kompanion

Kompanion Financial Group, one of the largest microfinance institutions in the Kyrgyz Republic both by loan portfolio and number of clients, has concluded an equity raise selling a 35% stake to international investors. The shares were purchased by Netherlands based investors FMO and Triodos Investment Management, with the latter investing through Triodos Fair Share Fund and Triodos Microfinance Fund. Kompanion’s founder Mercy Corps will remain majority shareholder and hold a 65% stake. The funds will be used for growth capital in the lending operations and support Kompanion’s transformation to a licensed banking institution.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria’s Next Challenge: Bank Us Please

Source: Ventures Africa

Like any other country, Nigeria has its problems. However, Nigeria perched now as Africa’s “Golden Child” with a GDP of $510 billion, ballooning past South Africa who has numerous economic challenges ahead.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Low-Income Filipinos Can Rely on Microinsurance When Disaster Strikes

Source: The Manila Times

The domestic insurance industry posted a stellar growth performance in the past year, registering an estimated 28 million Filipinos protected by microinsurance.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Consumer Protection in Microfinance Exceeds 15-Million-Client Mark via Smart Certified Institutions

Source: Center for Financial Inclusion Blog

It’s been an exciting few months for client protection in the microfinance industry. FINCA Kyrgyzstan, MBK Ventura in Indonesia, SKS Microfinance in India, and a number of other MFIs around the world demonstrated that they successfully integrate the client protection principles into their practices and joined the rapidly growing list of institutions that are Smart Certified. Today, we’re pleased to share that the number of clients across all the Smart Certified institutions surpassed the 15-million-client benchmark.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe: Mobile Money Drives Financial Inclusion

Source: allAfrica

Financial inclusion in Zimbabwe increased to 77 percent in 2014 from 60 percent in 2011 mainly driven by mobile money platforms, the FinScope Consumer Survey has shown. According to the survey, which was launched yesterday, 45 percent of the population (3,15 million) is registered with mobile money platforms. Of those who are registered users, 80 percent use it to remit while 46 percent use it to transact in order to pay utility bills, buy airtime, etc.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — South Asia

Vikram Akula's Next Big Gig

Source: Business Today

On January 29, the board of SKS Microfinance, the country's only listed microfinance entity, approved the company's proposal to apply for a licence to set up a small finance bank, a new category of lenders that the Reserve Bank of India has created to drive financial inclusion. A few kilometres away from the SKS office in Hyderabad, Vikram Akula, who founded the company in 1997 and had to unceremoniously exit in 2011, is giving final touches to the application for a small finance bank for his start-up VAYA Finserv.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Remittances to Developing Nations to Hit $500 Billion in 2015 - U.N. Official

Source: Reuters

An estimated 230 million migrants will send $500 billion in remittances to developing countries in 2015, a flow of capital expected to do more to reduce poverty than all development aid combined, a senior official of the U.N. agricultural bank said.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — South Asia

Microfinance Strikes Deep Roots in West Bengal

Source: Financial Chronicle

The Indian microfinance sector has found a new Andhra Pradesh in West Bengal. The sector, which has not been able to see any business in the state of Telangana and AP, has seen brisk business in this eastern state, piping other southern states as well.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Inequality Has Actually Not Risen Since the Financial Crisis

Source: The Upshot

The notion that income inequality has continued to rise over the past decade is part of the conventional wisdom. You’ve no doubt heard versions: The rich just keep getting richer. Inequality is higher than ever. Nearly all of the gains from the economic recovery have gone to the top 1 percent.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Tech Trends: The Age of Start-Up Accelerators

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Start-up accelerators are common in Europe and the United States, where the likes of Y Combinator and Startupbootcamp have emerged as leaders in the model and have offered hundreds of start-ups both equity funding and mentorship to assist them in scaling. But in Africa the concept is still very young, having only really arrived in 2012.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Mobile Money Use Swells to a Record $50,000 per Minute, $26.1 Billion Annually in 2014

Source: GlobalPost

Kenya's 2014 mobile money use surged to a record 26.1 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of about 4 billion dollars from previous year.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — Latin America

Mexican Banks Using Mobile Payments Technology to Enable Digital Transactions at Mom-and-Pop Stores

Source: Mobile Payments Today

In a bid to increase card payments and financial inclusion, Mexican banks are collaborating with mobile payments technology vendors to deploy mPOS solutions at mom-and-pop stores. The Mexican government encourages these initiatives, as around 70 percent of all purchases in Mexico are made with cash and the informal economy represents 30 percent of GDP.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa's Mobile Money Market Could Grow to $1.5 Billion by 2019

Source: EIN News

Sub-Saharan Africa is adopting mobile financial services at a pace seen in few other places, presenting banks and mobile-network operators (MNOs) with a set of strategic choices that will go a long way toward determining their success in the region.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: Smaller Banks Better Suited for India’s Financial Inclusion Drive; Modi Should Have Waited

Source: Firstpost

There are too many takers for licences for small-sized banks. A total of 113 companies knocked the doors of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with applications when the deadline expired at the close of business hours on 3 February. The list (see here) includes both the biggies and tiny names.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — South Asia

For MFIs in India, Transition to Small Banks Could Be Arduous

Source: Business Line

The Reserve Bank of India’s decision to create small finance banks could be a game-changer for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the country.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank Boosts Financial Inclusion in Cameroon

Source: Ventures Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has recently announced an advisory services agreement with Mircrofinance Institute Advans Cameroun geared at expediting the rate of financial inclusion in Cameroon by expanding the range and reach of services available to underserved urban and rural populations.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia Backs Mobile Players for Financial Inclusion

Source: Mobile World Live

Two mobile money platforms have launched in Ethiopia, as the country looks to improve the take-up of bank services.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and HelpAge Int'l Report - Aging and Financial Inclusion: An Opportunity

Source: PR Newswire

Today, the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and HelpAge International released Aging and Financial Inclusion: An Opportunity, a report that examines the unmet financial needs of the rapidly growing global aging population, particularly in the developing world. The purpose of this report is to highlight the barriers and opportunities related to financial services in older age and throughout the aging process, a relatively neglected area of study.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 — South Asia

Bangladesh to Get $300 million World Bank Loan for Child Health

Source: Reuters

Bangladesh is to get a $300-million loan from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) to help improve child nutrition after a deal was signed on Monday.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 — South Asia

Facebook’s Internet.org Now Offering Free Connectivity to Millions in India

Source: VentureBeat

Internet.org is now available in India, Facebook said late Monday, potentially bringing Internet access to tens of millions of new users for the first time.
Monday, February 9, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: India Needs Free Market Healthcare

Source: Live Mint

Healthcare is such an emotional issue that basic economics is often taken for a ride. This explains quite well India’s intention—following the release of the National Health Policy 2015 late last year—to move towards providing healthcare as a fundamental right through a universal public healthcare system.
Monday, February 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Firms Adopt Visa Digital Payment Card in Nigeria

Source: Thisday Live

Chams Mobile and Skye Bank Plc have signed an agreement to launch the Virtual Visa Card in Nigeria.
Friday, February 6, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Egypt, MasterCard Sign MoU to Drive Financial Inclusion

Source: BiztechAfrica

The Government of Egypt, represented by The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and MasterCard have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a strategic collaboration that will help drive financial inclusion and maximize government efficiency.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 — South Asia

Payment Banks: How It Is Possible to Build a Business Around Financial Inclusion

Source: The Economic Times

Dattaram, 50, earns Rs 9,000 a month doing domestic chores in three to four homes in a Mumbai neighbourhood.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 — South Asia

Mastercard Opens Tech Hub and Preps for Masterpass in India

Source: PYMNTS

MasterCard has opened its largest Tech Hub outside of the U.S. in Pune, India, and plans to roll out its mobile payments system in April, the card brand said on Wednesday (Feb. 4).
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 — South Asia

India's Jan Dhan Yojana has helped poor, but financial inclusion still far off

Source: Live Mint

According to a World Bank survey in 2012, only 35% of adults in India had access to a formal bank account and only 8% borrowed from institutional and formal sources
Friday, January 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bill Gates Explains Why Bitcoin Won't Help the Poor

Source: CoinBuzz

According to the World Bank, approximately 2.5 billion people (roughly half of the world’s adult population) does not have a bank account due to reasons such as lack of money, high fees, long distances, and complicated paperwork.
Friday, January 30, 2015 — South Asia

Bharti Airtel, India’s Largest Mobile Services Provider, Applies for a Payments Bank License

Source: The Economic Times

Bharti Airtel, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd. (AMSL), is applying for a Payments Bank licence with Kotak Mahindra BankBSE -0.69 % as a partner.
Friday, January 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

A Big Step Forward for Bolstering Financial Inclusion

Source: iMFdirect

Economists are paying increasing attention to the link between financial inclusion—greater availability of and access to financial services—and economic development. In anew paper, we take a closer look at exactly how financial inclusion impacts a country’s economy and what policies are most effective in promoting it.
Friday, January 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

If Cash Is King in Africa, Mobile Money Is Heir Apparent

Source: Ventures Africa

For most African businesses and the populace at large, cash is king, owing to the continent’s developing electronic funds transfer systems and the slow uptake of technology-based remittance and payments platforms. But experts believe that the growing integration of telecommunications and banking in most African countries, as well as the continued revamping of platforms enabling electronic funds transfers, is helping mobile money to catch up to cash in terms of popularity.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uber Eyes Use of Mobile Money Service in Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Many people in Africa do not have credit cards, but do use mobile services on phones. After launching its service in seven African cities and hitting a few hitches, especially in Kenya, Uber is exploring the use of mobile money services.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — South Asia

Why 2015 Will Be a Game-Changer for Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Quartz

When it comes to digital finance, India punches below its weight. The 2014 Intermedia Financial Inclusion Insight (FII) Survey of 45,000 Indian adults found that 0.3% of adults use mobile money, compared to 76% in Kenya, 48% in Tanzania, 43% in Uganda, and 22% in Bangladesh.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Better Than Cash Alliance Study Shows Colombia's Digital Payment Tool for Coffee Farmers Is a Model to Replicate

Source: Market Wired

The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) Smart Coffee ID Card (CCI), launched in 2006, has become a vital tool for financial inclusion and change in the productive dynamics of Colombia´s rural sector, according to the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA), a United Nations alliance of governments, companies and the development community committed to the global transition from cash to electronic payments.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — South Asia

How One Man Brought Health Care to India's Poorest Populations

Source: Entrepreneur

Shelley Saxena, a mobile technology entrepreneur in Atlanta, had a head start when he launched Sevamob, a distribution system for low-cost preventive health services across India. But that didn’t save him from having to make a few strategic pivots as his new business grew.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: The Aspen Institute Appoints Ida Rademacher as New Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security

Source: PR Newswire

The Aspen Institute is pleased to announce today that Ida Rademacher has joined the Institute as the new Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security, effective immediately. In this role, Rademacher will lead the Initiative into a new phase of engagement with leaders from the financial services, government, and independent sectors to explore how the rapidly evolving financial system and public policies can work together to improve the financial security and financial well-being of all Americans. Rademacher's work will expand the Initiative on Financial Security's efforts to bring to the national forefront a solutions-focused discussion of how America can address growing wealth inequality and household financial insecurity.
Monday, January 26, 2015 — South Asia

Barack Obama Commends India’s Financial Inclusion Drive, Calls for Greater Voice for the Country in IMF

Source: Zee News

US President Barack Obama Sunday affirmed his commitment to enhancing India's 'voice and vote' in global financial institutions like IMF.
Monday, January 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bank of Zimbabwe Launches $50 Million Fund to Support Smallholder Farmers, Rural Development

Source: Zambia Daily Mail

Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Michael Gondwe has launched a US$50 million Fund under the MasterCard Foundation’s Fund to support smallholder farmers in the rural areas.
Friday, January 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigerian Smart Card Plant Supports Expansion of Financial Services to Poor

Source: ITworld

Responding to banks’ efforts to reach out to people who do not typically use financial services, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan this week inaugurated the first Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) certified smart card manufacturing plant in sub-Saharan Africa.
Thursday, January 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Opinion: Does the GSMA Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers Go Far Enough to Protect Consumers?

Source: World Bank Group

The recently launched GSM Association Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers is a welcome initiative. There is increasing recognition of the economic benefits that digital financial services can bring, along with an understanding that achieving ambitious financial inclusion targets may well depend on their rapid rollout. Such targets are being proposed by the World Bank, under the Maya Declaration and in other forums.
Thursday, January 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bill and Melinda Gates Want to Fix Another Messy Global Problem: Banking

Source: Quartz

Bill and Melinda Gates have taken on some of the world’s messiest problems, funding projects to improve the design of toilets and condoms and even create urine-powered fuel cells. Now, in their annual letter published today, they’re outlining ambitions to tackle another messy sector: banking.
Thursday, January 22, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: AfDB and Mastercard Seek to Broaden Financial Inclusion in Africa Through Digital Finance

Source: allAfrica

On Thursday, January 22 in Davos, Switzerland, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and MasterCard announced a broad collaboration that aims to expand financial inclusion across the African continent. The collaboration seeks to develop solutions that drive inclusive growth in Africa by broadening access and usage of digital financial services.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Reaching the Hardest-to-Reach: Financial Services for Overlooked Populations

Source: The Huffington Post

The growth of microfinance solutions to address pressing development challenges has brought many of the world's formerly "unbanked" into formal financial systems. However, one group continually remains outside the system -- the poorest of the poor. Even some microfinance programs and deliberately inclusive financial policies remain unaffordable for segments of the population. Across the Global South, a number of initiatives have emerged with the notion that, although access to financial services has expanded in recent years, the remaining need demands innovative actions. We take a look at examples in Lagos, Bogotá, Cairo, and Bangalore.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Many Universities ‘Failing to Address Public Health Needs of World’s Poor’

Source: Times Higher Education

Most of the top-funded universities for medical science are not doing enough to address the needs of the world’s poorest people in terms of public health research, according to a new ranking.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Financial Inclusion Drive Sets Guinness World Record for Most Bank Accounts Opened in One Week

Source: The Indian Express

As many as 11.5 crore bank accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, exceeding the enhanced target of 10 crore and covering 99.74 per cent of households, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Report: Mobile Money Could Be a Silver Bullet for Financial Inclusion in Africa

Source: IT-Online

Mobile money is shaping up to be one of the most exciting areas in mobile communications, and is quickly transforming the way in which consumers and enterprises transact.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 — South Asia

India Needs Reliable Data on Basic Healthcare

Source: The Hindu

Founder and Chair of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute G.N. Rao is universally known for his contribution to the introduction of quality and affordable eye care in India. Apart from his work in ophthalmology, Dr. Rao is well-known for his innovative ideas on healthcare in general and his efforts to make healthcare affordable.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Banks Are Now Handing Out Loans to People They’d Normally Shun

Source: Wired

Before Jeff Stewart could credibly advance the notion that your Facebook friend network could—or even should—help you get a loan, he had to prove the system worked and was reliable. It took a long time. I first met him in 2012, a year after he’d launched Lenddo, pitching it as a new way for people just entering the middle class to qualify for and receive loans. His startup planned to use Facebook data to assess credit risk, and to make loans to well-qualified candidates, starting in the Philippines.
Monday, January 19, 2015 — South Asia

Why 2015 Will Be Important for Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Business Today

The year 2015 could be a watershed year for India in its quest to provide access to a wide range of financial services to all its citizens.
Friday, January 16, 2015 — South Asia

bKash CEO Discusses the Scope, Growth and Future Prospects of Mobile Banking in Bangladesh

Source: Dhaka Tribune

In a recent interview with Dhaka Tribune, Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash, discusses the scope, growth and future prospects of mobile banking in our country.
Friday, January 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Accion Microfinance Bank Attains National MFB Status in Nigeria, Gives Out N32bn Loans

Source: Thisday Live

Accion Microfinance Bank Limited has upgraded to the category of a national microfinance bank (MFB). By this development, the bank said, it has surpassed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) requirements for a national MFB.
Thursday, January 15, 2015 — Latin America

MasterCard and Movistar Launch Peru's First Mobile Money Service

Source: Finextra

With the goal of promoting financial and social inclusion in Peru, Movistar, in alliance with MasterCard, has announced the launch of “Your Mobile Money” (Tu Dinero Movil), the first electronic money service in Peru, which will offer users significant savings in their money transfers.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Etisalat Partners with Firstbank to Provide Mobile Money in Nigeria

Source: allAfrica

In a partnership which industry watchers hailed as capable of entrenching financial inclusion and lead innovation in mobile payment systems, Etisalat Nigeria and FirstBank have teamed up to provide Firstmonie on the Etisalat Easywallet SIM application solution.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 — South Asia

Health Minister JP Nadda for Innovation of Cheaper New Drugs

Source: The Economic Times

Union Health Minister JP Nadda today underlined the need for innovation of new drugs at low cost which are affordable to the poorest, even as he sought to strike a balance between the commercial and medical spendings.
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — South Asia

Myanmar anticipating a leap-frog in development through financial inclusion

Source: OECD Insights

An overview of the Financial Access Landscape and the usage of financial services by consumers in Myanmar.
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

Can Innovation Help the Poor Escape from Payday Lenders? Ford Thinks So

Source: Inside Philanthropy

The Ford Foundation has been working to close the racial wealth gap for over two decades, a gap much in the news these days, and one part of that effort has been to help "unbanked" low-income people escape from the shady world of payday lending and worse, and access the financial services that middle-class people take for granted. To that end, Ford recently gave $1 million dollars to the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) to continue its work on building financial tools for the underserved.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 — South Asia

State Bank of India to Provide Mobile Financial Services to Underserved

Source: Mobile Payments Today

Amdocs, a provider of customer experience products, today announced the selection of its mobile financial services product in association with Triotech's product, which will enable State Bank of India to offer mobile financial services to India's unbanked and underbanked population, using the mobile network of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. The solution will be delivered under a five-year services contract, according to a press release.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Underserved Markets Ripe for Insurance Innovation, Swiss Re Americas CEO Says

Source: Insurance Journal

Underserved populations and market niches are ripe with potential for insurance innovators who are willing to take on the challenge of creating opportunities in areas that may seem unprofitable at first glance, says the chief executive of the Americas unit for one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies. And the ability to reach those markets digitally is key.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — South Asia

Khosla Labs & Unitus Seed Fund to Incubate and Back Up to Six Aadhaar-Based Startups

Source: VCCircle

Bangalore-based startup incubator Khosla Labs has partnered with seed-stage impact investor Unitus Seed Fund to incubate and fund four-six startups working on the Unique Identification Authority of India (Aadhaar) project.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Global Banking Alliance for Women Announces Partnership to Close Gender Data Gap in Finance

Source: PR Newswire

The Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA) is proud to announce a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Data2X to expand the collection and use of financial data on women in economies around the world. The commitment was announced this morning at an event in New York headlined by speakers Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michael R. Bloomberg, during a panel moderated by Chelsea Clinton. The initiative aims to close the gender data gap in the banking sector, leading to greater financial inclusion and empowerment of women.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Survey: 36.9m Nigerians Excluded From Financial System

Source: Thisday Live

Findings from the EFInA access to financial services in Nigeria 2014 survey has revealed that 36.9 million adults, representing 39.5 per cent of the population are financially excluded.
Monday, December 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MasterCard Sees Opportunity with Nigerian E-ID Cards

Source: Pymnts.com

There’s a lot of untapped potential in the Nigerian commerce market — which is growing — and MasterCard has discovered a marketing niche with the country’s national high-tech e-ID card pilot project.
Monday, December 15, 2014 — No Region Specified

American Express Serve Announces Research Pilot to Encourage Consumer Saving

Source: Market Watch

American Express AXP, -0.91% today announced that it is kicking off a research pilot to study consumer savings behaviors using the Serve software platform. This research pilot can help identify new ways to promote saving and explore whether certain behavioral interventions are effective in increasing consumer savings. This program will also help inform research at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the U.S. government agency charged with making financial markets work for American consumers, to better understand how to promote saving among consumers.
Friday, December 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

An Atomic Physicist's Plan to Bring Adjustable Eyeglasses to Developing World Classrooms

Source: Co.Exist

Think about what life would be like if you needed glasses and you didn't have them. You would struggle to study in school, you would be hampered in your work, and much else besides.
Friday, December 12, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

E-Kwanza Mobile Payment Service Launched in Angola

Source: HumanIPO

Angolan Investment Bank (BAI) has launched e-Kwanza a mobile money service that allows users to make transfers and payments for goods and services across the country.
Thursday, December 11, 2014 — South Asia

Micro Insurance: A Tool for Financial Inclusion

Source: Financial Chronicle

Financial inclusion is now one of the most talked about agendas towards holistic development of the country. With the thrust towards financial inclusion by the Narendra Modi government to achieve all round growth of society, micro insurance is poised to play an important role in it.
Thursday, December 11, 2014 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: Inaugural “Inclusive Finance India Global Summit” Promotes Financial Inclusion

Source: Business Wire

The first “Inclusive Finance India Global Summit” in Delhi, organized by ACCESS, a national think tank, was inaugurated on Monday (December 8) by Shri HR Khan, deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The two days of deliberations at the Summit covered issues related to Financial Inclusion, Financial Education and Financial Stability, and built a Financial Inclusion Vision 2020. MetLife Foundation is proud to be one of the two principal partners in the Inclusive Finance Summit.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria’s NDIC advocates ‘Pass-Through Insurance’ to mobile money subscribers

Source: Business Day

One of the issues discussed at the just concluded Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) three-day workshop for business editors and members of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Katsina State is extension of deposit insurance to mobile money subscribers via Pass-Through Insurance (PTI).
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 — South Asia

Xerox Eyes Financial Inclusion, Caters to Banking Sector

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI) is a high-priority vertical for Xerox in India. Vishal Awal, Executive Director, Xerox South Asia spoke about how Xerox India is addressing technology requirements of the banking sector.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How MasterCard Aims to Bring Financial Services to East Africa

Source: PYMNTS.com

There is no shortage of efforts to bring financial inclusion to those in developing economies who lack access to basic financial services. Most have failed for one very important reason – they’ve been unable to scale. The announcement last week of MasterCard’s partnership with The Gates Foundation will address that problem, starting with the launch of an Innovation Lab in the birthplace of the region’s most successful mobile money scheme – Kenya.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

Financial Inclusion: From Margins To Mainstream

Source: Forbes

Hundreds of millions of the world’s citizens today lack opportunities to join the financial services mainstream. Meanwhile, global financial institutions are missing out on a corresponding number of opportunities to refresh and grow their customer base, create prolific new markets, and develop sustainable demand for a new generation of products and services.
Monday, December 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Better Healthcare for Low Income Kenyans

Source: GOV.UK

The Business Call to Action and Private Sector Innovation Programme for Health (PSP4H) on December 4, 2014 co- hosted an event focused on innovative private sector approaches to delivering better healthcare to low income Kenyans. The event brought together chief executives, senior representatives from governments, bilateral donors, civil society and the United Nations.
Monday, December 8, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Cryptocurrencies Can Transform Financial Services

Source: Live Mint

Can an open protocol-based network technology transform a cartelized, oligopolistic and highly regulated industry by transferring power from large corporations to individuals?
Monday, December 8, 2014 — South Asia

“Gift-a-Pension” Initiative Helps Maids, Drivers, Cooks Save for Their Retirement in India

Source: The Economic Times

This September, A Mary, 47, got something she never thought she ever could — not a car or a home but a pension. A house help and a mother of two whose husband is a driver, Delhi-based Mary always viewed a pension as something only the affluent could afford — until her employer Kurt Strasser, a senior sector specialist at German development bank KfW, brought it within her reach.
Friday, December 5, 2014 — No Region Specified

Timor Leste’s First Mobile Money Pilot Launched to Expand Access to Financial Services

Source: National Journal

BNU, in partnership with Timor Telecom, and with support from the Inclusive Finance for the Under-Served Economy (INFUSE) Programme and MicroSave, launched Timor-Leste's first mobile wallet product called BNU Mobile.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: Roundtable on Aging and Financial Inclusion in Latin America

Source: 3BL Media

Over 40 leaders from across Latin America, including the banking, microfinance, academic, and aging advocacy sectors, joined together in Bogota, Colombia for a roundtable on the topic of Aging and Financial Inclusion. This meeting focused specifically on aging demographics in Latin America and the increasing need for access to quality financial services—including pensions, savings, insurance, loans, and payments.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Firms, Aid Groups Help Filipinos Borrow From Banks Instead of Sharks

Source: Reuters

Housewife Jenny Orquiza, whose home was damaged by super typhoon Haiyan, did not imagine that the Philippines' biggest natural disaster would lead to her getting something she never had - a bank account.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MasterCard Teams With Gates Foundation to Expand Digital Financial Services in East Africa

Source: IT News Africa

MasterCard has unveiled the launch of MasterCard Labs for Financial Inclusion, a new initiative seeking to impact more than 100 million people globally by developing practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access and help build stable futures over the long term.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 — Latin America

Narayana Health Opens Hi-Tech Hospital in the Caribbean

Source: India West

Famed heart surgeon Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Mother Teresa's personal physician and founder of Narayana Health — an Indian hospital network that is internationally regarded as one of the world's lowest-cost, highest-quality healthcare providers — is bringing his mission of providing affordable, accessible healthcare to America.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 — South Asia

Only 48% of Indian Adults Have Access to Bank Accounts

Source: The Economic Times

Only 48 per cent of Indian adults have bank accounts and nearly half of them lie dormant, says a report. According to a nation-wide survey on financial behaviour, India has the highest account dormancy rate even more than countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Modi’s Financial Inclusion Scheme Is Not As Inclusive As You Might Have Thought

Source: Scroll.in

The government’s ambitious financial inclusion programme is about to get bigger. Last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the target for new bank accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana had been revised from 7.5 crore to 10 crore by January 26, 2015.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghana Teams Up With Better Than Cash Alliance In Move Towards Cashless Economy

Source: UN News Centre

The Government of Ghana today took steps towards enhancing fiscal transparency and promoting the financial inclusion of its citizens by committing to a United Nations-backed initiative that supports countries’ transitions to electronic payments.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: African Policymakers Pledge to Financially Include Kids

Source: Daily Exchange

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – On 4-5 December 2014 the Third Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will be held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Meeting will bring together Africa’s finest policy makers, educators, research and academic institutions, financial service providers, as well as representatives from various government ministries to develop a common African position on the advancement of a unified financial education and inclusion plan of action for children and youth across the continent.
Monday, December 1, 2014 — South Asia

Global Health Looks To BRAC and Gates Foundation for Mobile Money

Source: Forbes

Bangladesh is going digital. Not in smart watches, sensor-based clothing or electronic health records, but in money. Mobile money. Money, that according to BRAC and the Gates Foundation could improve the economic and health outcomes of the country, especially of women and children. With a healthy appreciation of the complexities in scaling digitally, faith in innovation at the grassroots level and years of planning, these organizations just might make mobile money the future of finance.
Monday, December 1, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India Prohibits Airtel, Vodafone & Idea From Using Existing Channels for Payments Banks Business

Source: The Economic Times

The Reserve Bank of India's final rules on payments banks prohibit telecom operators from leveraging their nationwide retailer networks and channels if they enter the new business, but analysts say this is a good opportunity for mobile phone companies to add another revenue stream given their existing consumer connect.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — South Asia

Banks Get Better Access To Tap Micro Segment

Source: The Jakarta Post

The newly launched branchless banking regulation will enable banks to expand their financial services to disadvantaged and low-income segments at affordable costs, a senior official of the Financial Services Authority (OJK) has said.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — South Asia

NBFCs say Reserve Bank of India's new rules will work against financial inclusion, drive towards unscrupulous moneylenders

Source: The Economic Times

On a typical day, Rohit Bokhare makes about Rs 800 taking passengers in his Mahindra Xylo between Saki Naka in Andheri and Adlabs Imagica on the Mumbai-Pune expressway in Raigad district. The 51-year-old defaulted on repayment of the loan he took to purchase the utility vehicle for four months, which led his financier to come inquiring. Shriram Transport Finance, the non-bank finance company that financed the vehicle, last week found his Xylo lying in a garage for repair for 20-25 days, blocking his regular cash flow. To top it up, Bokhare had a repair bill of Rs 20,000-25,000. He couldn't pay the EMIs in the previous months because of family exigencies.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Roadmap: Microfinance Industry Eyes 10m Customers By 2018

Source: The Express Tribune

Perhaps this is the reason why Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) Chairman Nadeem Hussain believes that an impressive growth of 20-25% per annum for the past many years has still not made the country’s microfinance industry ‘relevant’ in the fight against poverty.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Dubai-Based Social Enterprise Shines Bright For Africa

Source: The National

It started with a plea to help 60,000 orphans in the company’s care. The children, who were being looked after in Zimbabwean orphanages set up by the telecoms operator Econet Wireless, could not study at night because there was no power and lighting, and many were getting sick from breathing in the chemicals emitted from candles.
Monday, November 24, 2014 — South Asia

Micro-insurance On the Up Among Insurers and Public

Source: The Jakarta Post

While insurance penetration in general remains low, micro-insurance has seen significant growth as more banks partner with insurance firms to offer micro-insurance products to low-income earners.
Monday, November 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion and SMEs Set to Soar in Ghana

Source: The Worldfolio

Financial and insurance activities are expanding at roughly twice the pace of the overall economy and just 30 per cent of the population are formally banked, so industry leaders have good reason to be optimistic about the country’s financial services future.
Friday, November 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

LeapFrog Set To Acquire East African Health Insurance Firm For $18m

Source: Ventures

LeapFrog Investments and Resolution Insurance announced today, that LeapFrog intends to invest $18.7 million for a majority stake in Resolution Insurance,through its holding company, Resolution Health East Africa Limited.
Thursday, November 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania Leads Africa in Financial Inclusion

Source: AllAfrica

TANZANIA is the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa and ninth globally for demonstrating most conducive environments for financial inclusion, according to the new Global Microscope 2014 by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 — South Asia

Pakistan turns to biometrics for banking

Source: Planet Biometrics

Pakistan’s central bank has revealed it will implement biometric technology for identity verification developed by the country’s National Database and Registration Authority.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: CFSI Identifies Household Cash Flow as the Focus for its First Innovation Challenge

Source: Business Wire

The Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) today announced that household liquidity, the management and alignment of income and expenses, will be the focus of its first innovation challenge.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 — South Asia

Jan Dhan may win Guinness record for Modi, but duplicate accounts can burden banks

Source: FirstBiz

he Narendra Modi government is in dialogues with the Guinness World Records team to bag a record for the government for opening maximum number of bank accounts in minimum number of days, according to persons familiar with the development.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile payment startup taps into Indian villages

Source: PYMNTs

Ezetap, a mobile payment startup, wants to connect small Indian villages with business and is using its mPoS to do so, Business Standard reported.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Financial inclusion is key to addressing America’s two-speed economic recovery

Source: Quartz

I’ve had the opportunity over the last few months to meet bankers and regulators from around the world to discuss their economic growth plans, the impact of rising inequality in wealth and incomes, and in some cases, extending the reach of their financial systems.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — South Asia

Taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber to launch mobile wallet in India

Source: Times of India

The taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber will launch a mobile wallet in India after its payment mechanism came under the RBI scanner for flouting the mandatory two-step verification on card transactions earlier this year.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Accion and MasterCard Foundation Partner to Strengthen Board Governance in Africa

Source: PR Newswire

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion today announced a $6.1 millionpartnership with The MasterCard Foundation to launch the Accion Africa Board Fellowship program.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — South Asia

75% of Jan Dhan accounts empty: Indian financial inclusion scheme may be missing its objective

Source: First Biz

Initial indications from the data on Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) are that the grand financial inclusion scheme of the Narendra Modi government has failed to achieve its original objective - to encourage the country's vast unbanked poor population to use bank accounts for cash transactions.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — South Asia

India Post keen to become a universal bank

Source: Economic Times

India Post is interested in turning itself into a universal bank like many of its peers across the world and a committee under former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian is looking into the matter, a senior department official said today.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

Credit for all: Increasing women's access to finance

Source: Trust.org

Women’s need for financial services may actually exceed that of men because they tend to live longer, have lower levels of formal employment, own fewer assets, and have less control over household finances.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

U.S. Lags Behind G-7 in Bank Accounts as Poor Can’t Build Assets

Source: Bloomberg

The world’s largest economy lags behind other developed nations in banking participation.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Financial inclusion in India needs another model

Source: Hindu Business Line

Priority sector targets are met by means fair and foul. Competition in providing credit to the unbanked will work better
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Citi Convenes Developers from around the Globe to Unveil Innovative Digital Banking Solutions

Source: MarketWatch

More than 60 Teams – Chosen from More than 700 Submissions across 62 Countries – to Present Innovations at Events in Silicon Valley, New York and MiamiCiti Mobile Challenge Developer Survey: 88 Percent of Developers See Potential for Financial Innovation in Wearables, but Many Say Banks Are Not Doing Enough to Innovate and Keep Up with Other Industries
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Zombies, Colin Farrell Uncover a ‘Trillion Dollar Scandal’

Source: ONE

Ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, The ONE Campaign released a new video today highlighting the fact that at least a trillion dollars is siphoned out of developing and emerging countries through corrupt activity every year. We’re talking about shady natural resource deals, phantom firms, money laundering, and illegal tax evasion.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 — South Asia

3 tech phenomena you only encounter in the emerging markets

Source: MemeBurn

There’s a stage when, after travelling too much, or meeting too many people from the emerging markets, your perception of the world shifts.
Monday, November 10, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Gates and World Bank Back Tech-Aided Access for the Underbanked

Source: Nonprofit Quarterly

A partnership between the World Bank and the Gates Foundation is encouraging the creation of a digital payment system.
Friday, November 7, 2014 — South Asia

Philippines Leads 12 Asian Nations in Giving Access to Finance

Source: Bloomberg

The Philippines provides the best access to financial services to people among 12 countries in Asia, reflecting the central bank’s efforts to boost inclusion and tackle poverty, an Economist Intelligence Unit study shows.
Friday, November 7, 2014 — Latin America

WorldRemit expands mobile money transfer services to Latin America

Source: Mobile Payments Today

WorldRemit, an online and mobile money transfer company, has announced a partnership with Bancomer Transfer Services Inc. to offer money transfers to Latin America.
Friday, November 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

“Africa needs Africa”: MasterCard & Bank of Tanzania push for local solutions

Source: Mobile World Live

Zahir Khoja, VP, global channels at MasterCard, said Africa is attractive as an untapped opportunity and warned many companies think they can implement a “plug and play solution” without realising that “sometimes there is no socket” to do this. Instead they need to understand that an African-specific solution is needed.
Friday, November 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Econet Wireless partners with Western Union in Zimbabwe

Source: New Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE’S largest mobile telecoms company by earnings and subscribers Econet Wireless and Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, have teamed up to offer consumers fast and reliable international money transfers.
Thursday, November 6, 2014 — South Asia

USAID administrator announces financial inclusion commitments in India

Source: India Blooms

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah announced USAID support for three priority areas of partnership as identified in the recent summit between Prime Minister Modi and President Barack Obama in Washington.
Thursday, November 6, 2014 — South Asia

India's financial inclusion scheme progressing ahead of schedule

Source: Times of India

At the current pace, it's a matter of days before bank employees help the government scale the target of opening 7.5 crore bank accounts under the financial inclusion scheme launched on August 29.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Survey: Banking growth has not boosted savings in South Africa

Source: Money Web

The number of banked South Africans has grown to 27.4 million over the past ten years, or about 75% of the total adult population. But this increase has not translated into a higher incidence of saving, with only 20% of banked adult South Africans saving either in banks or non-bank financial institutions.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 — South Asia

Indian start-up to enable bank transactions via kirana stores

Source: Business Standard

Novopay uses Aadhaar biometric scanner for dealings
Thursday, October 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Goa will be India’s first state to achieve 100% financial inclusion, say officials

Source: Times of India

Panaji: With 95% of the house-to-house survey completed and the procedure to allot accounts to Goans done, Goa may well be the first state to be entirely covered under the Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana. With this, Goa will be the first state to achieve complete financial inclusion, officials close to the development said.
Thursday, October 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

'Social Impact Bonds' Tap Private Money for Public Health

Source: Govtech.com

More states are considering “social impact bonds” for multiyear projects in health, education and prisoner rehabilitation. Are they a good investment?
Thursday, October 30, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda joins Better Than Cash Alliance as part of bid to achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2017

Source: FinExtra

Rwanda has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance to help accelerate the adoption of electronic payments in the country as part of a commitment to achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2017.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Taking Bitcoin Beyond the Banked

Source: Coin Desk

Most of the industry development around bitcoin still seems to be run by a collection of people who are decidedly banked. This begs the question: what part do the unbanked play in bitcoin, its use and evolution?
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 — South Asia

Task Force on India "Postal Bank" to submit report by year-end

Source: Business Standard

The Task Force set up by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to leverage the country's post office's network in a bid to advance financial inclusion will submit its report by the end of this year, a top government official said today.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Indonesia Has More Smokers Than Bank Account Holders

Source: Global Indonesian Voices

Jakarta – Indonesia has a far greater number of smokers and mobile phone users than bank account holders, according to the Director General of Bank Mandiri, Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Dusty Tanzania Market Shows Next Step in Mobile Banking

Source: Bloomberg

Like millions of Africans, Sebastian Adam uses M-Pesa, a service that lets him pay bills with his mobile phone. With his wife pregnant, Adam decided it was time to start saving -- and to earn interest on the money he saves -- so he switched to a newer offering called M-Pawa.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

UN, World Bank and Islamic Development Bank commit 8billion dollars in Major New Development Initiative for the Horn of Africa

Source: Standard Media

Leaders of global and regional institutions today begin an historic trip to the Horn of Africa to pledge political support and major new financial assistance for countries in the region, totaling more than $8 billion over the coming years.
Thursday, October 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mozido Receives $185 Million in Series B Funding from MasterCard, Wellington Management Company...

Source: MarketWatch

Mozido, a provider of mobile financial, retail and marketing services, today announced a two-part round of Series B funding of up to $400 million.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 — No Region Specified

U.S. States Ease Interest Rate Laws That Protected Poor Borrowers

Source: New York Times

Lenders have come under fire in Washington in recent years. Yet one corner of the financial industry — lending to people with poor credit scores — has found sympathetic audiences in many state capitals.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Improving Financial Services for Indonesia’s Underserved

Source: Jakarta Post

Financial inclusion is about reaching out to the poor and vulnerable in ways that allow them to take part in the world of financial services either for saving or getting credit. There are at least three ways to do this.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Innovative Collaboration Aims to Bring Greater Transparency to Sub-Saharan Microfinance

Source: MasterCard Foundation

Aiming to bring greater transparency to microfinance across Sub-Saharan Africa, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), The MasterCard Foundation and Moody’s Analytics have launched an innovative collaboration to use Moody’s Analytics’ social performance assessments (SPA) to help microfinance institutions better measure and manage their long-term social impact.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa

Source: The Washington Post

No credit, no cash, no bank account? There’s still a place to go shopping, but it comes at a price.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan mobile money agents apprehensive of new Equity Bank service

Source: Coastweek

Mobile money agents in Kenya fear loss of business once a banking institution rolls out a cheaper cash transfer service.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Here’s why emerging markets are a challenge for Apple Pay

Source: Quartz

Apple Pay could certainly be the nail in the wallet’s coffin, similar to what the iTunes model was for music when it was introduced in 2001. And this on the heels of the Twitter “buy” button, another move by a major tech titan to occupy the payments space via a mobile device.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Why Do Customers Fear Banks?

Source: allAfrica

In Uganda, many point to the success of mobile money in improving financial inclusion by promoting peer-to-peer money transfer.
Friday, October 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Blockchain Ideas Get Play at IMF Panel

Source: Wall Street Journal

Financial inclusion has become a long overdue buzzword among aid agencies and international economic policymakers of late – and it’s opening the door for bitcoin and blockchain technology to become a part of the discussion among international policymakers.
Thursday, October 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania: Mobile Technology to Benefit Local Farmers

Source: allAfrica

CONNECTED Farmer Alliance (CFA), a public-private partnership between Vodafone Group, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and TechnoServe, has announced an agreement to use mobile technology to increase productivity of thousands of smallholder farmers.
Thursday, October 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Equity set to offer free money transfer services

Source: The Star, Kenya

Equity Bank will not charge for mobile money transfer services on mobile virtual network, it said yesterday, but subscribers also have to hold accounts with the lender.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 — South Asia

India's Financial Inclusion Scheme Can Bring Unorganized Remittances Under Banking Channels

Source: Economic Times

"With the help of the Jan Dhan Yojana, the reach of banking can definitely be expanded, making migrant workers aware of different services," says a senior executive from Bank of India.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Nigerian Government Aims to Use Post Office to Reduce Unbanked Population to 10 Percent

Source: Nigerian Tribune

The Federal Government has said it would leverage the expansive network of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) to reduce the unbanked adult population in the country to 10 per cent by 2016.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 — South Asia

Coins.ph launches Bitcoin wallet tailored for emerging markets

Source: Tech In Asia

Yesterday, Coins.ph, the Philippines largest Bitcoin exchange, launched what it says is the first mobile Bitcoin wallet designed specifically for emerging markets.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: 10 Reasons Why Mobile Rocks in Africa

Source: allAfrica

Mobile use in Africa is expected to increase 20-fold in the next five years.
Thursday, October 9, 2014 — South Asia

Branchless banking introduced for poor households in Indonesia

Source: The Jakarta Post

Bank Indonesia (BI) officially launched on Wednesday an electronic payment system to support the transfer of government direct cash assistance to poor families in several provinces in the country.
Thursday, October 9, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Products meant for the affluent, urban market will not work for the financially excluded in India

Source: The Hindu

Stripped-down versions of products meant for the affluent, urban Indian will not work for the financially excluded
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom, Commercial Bank of Africa launch campaign to deepen financial inclusion

Source: All Africa

Commercial Bank of Africa and Safaricom have launched a campaign to deepen financial inclusion and access to financial services, targeting M-PESA customers who have yet to start using mobile savings and micro - loan solution M-Shwari.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Here Comes the Internet of Money

Source: Bloomberg View

A new wave of financial innovation is forming, that could sweep over traditional banking, traditional payments systems, even the traditional idea of money.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 — South Asia

Operational difficulties complicate India’s ambitious financial inclusion scheme

Source: The Hindu

Banks in a tizzy over shortage of cards, duplication of accounts
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Table-banking, a booming loan facility among Kenyan women

Source: Shanghai Daily

Initially when she needed a loan, Joan Mwashi would approach a group she belonged to under a microfinance institution.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Shared mobile money agents: Does this benefit the ecosystem?

Source: Techzim

It’s been reported that the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has pushed through an order compelling Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator, to share its mobile money transfer agents with the other mobile networks.
Monday, October 6, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Is mobile money the key to Africa’s cashless society?

Source: IT News Africa

As the story of the mobile phone and its contribution in bridging the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa unfolds, the device’s revolutionary role in facilitating transactions and wealth distribution in the region is shaping up in an unprecedented way.
Friday, October 3, 2014 — No Region Specified

Citi looks to tech and non-profits to drive financial inclusion; Gates talks bitcoin and biometrics

Source: Finextra

Citi is working with non-profit organisation Catalyst Miami on a tech-based financial inclusion programme that it believes could be replicated across the country.
Friday, October 3, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile wallet won’t take off in India unless direct withdrawal allowed: Experts

Source: The Economic Times

The first wave of telco-backed payments banks is slated to charge up India's mobile banking turf but explosive growth in mobile money transactions, mirroring the Africa experience, won't happen unless RBI allows direct cash withdrawals under mobile wallet services, leveraging the reach of telecom retail networks, mobile operators and sector analysts told ET.
Friday, October 3, 2014 — No Region Specified

Gates Links Technology, Banking Services for Poor

Source: The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)

Bill Gates is banking on digital technology to bring financial services to the world’s poor.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 — South Asia

Are Toilets and Bank Accounts Connected? In India, Yes

Source: Bloomberg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to develop India includes creating toilet access for all 1.2 billion people and opening a bank account for every adult who doesn’t already have one.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Microfinance Struggling to find its feet in Middle East

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Microfinance has blossomed in recent years, helping fill a funding need for businesses too tiny and risky for traditional banks. Curiously perhaps, while microfinance has been a big hit across parts of Asia and South America, its start in the Middle East and North Africa hasn’t been as auspicious.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Indian government to offer life insurance with new bank accounts through financial inclusion scheme

Source: Economic Times India

The government will shortly announce the life insurance cover to be provided to the new bank accounts being opened under the Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana, a top finance ministry official said today.
Monday, September 29, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Are the RBI and Indian government headed for a face-off?

Source: First Biz

The Modi government has ignored warning signals raised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about the way the Jan Dhan Yojana financial inclusion scheme is being implemented.
Monday, September 29, 2014 — South Asia

India's cooperative banks emerge from technological dark ages

Source: Live Mint

The National Informatics Centre cooperative core banking solutions aims to address some of the concerns of financial inclusion in rural areas.
Monday, September 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion: Ecobank, MasterCard Enter New Card Deal

Source: Ventures Africa

Sequel to a multi-country licensing agreement made between MasterCard and Ecobank in January, both institutions have signed another deal that will see the use of MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards at Ecobank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in 28 African countries.
Thursday, September 25, 2014 — No Region Specified

Walmart Now Offering Low-Cost Mobile Checking Accounts

Source: TechCrunch

Apple Pay what again? Walmart is getting into the mobile banking space, the companyannounced this morning, through a partnership with financial services provider Green Dot Corporation.
Thursday, September 25, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile Technology Overcomes Barriers to Financial Inclusion for Women

Source: Huffington Post

This week more than 1,000 leaders across industry, government and academia have come together at Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to discuss new approaches to address complex global challenges.
Thursday, September 25, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Vodacom “cautiously optimistic” that M-Pesa is better positioned to take off in South Africa

Source: ITWeb Online News

Mobile operator Vodacom is cautiously optimistic that itsMobile money offering, M-Pesa, is now better positioned to take off locally, after it failed to make much of an impression on the local market the first time around.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

IMF unveils results of global financial access survey

Source: The Guardian, Nigeria

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has unveiled the result of its 2014 Financial Access Survey (FAS), which is aimed at mapping the global financial inclusion strategy.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Use of Thin SIM technology approved in Kenya

Source: HumanIPO

The use of thin SIM technology has been approved in Kenya paving way for new Mobile Virtual Networks Operators (MVNOs) to use them for new services among them mobile money transfer.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 — South Asia

Why isn't the Reserve Bank of India excited about Modi's financial inclusion scheme?

Source: Scroll.in

The central bank warned last week that a faulty rollout could create more problems than it could fix.
Monday, September 22, 2014 — South Asia

Gates Foundation offers to help monitor India's ambitious financial inclusion scheme

Source: Economic Times

NEW DELHI: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has offered to help in monitoring of the progress made with regard to Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, the flagship financial inclusion scheme of India's government.
Monday, September 22, 2014 — No Region Specified

JPMorgan Chase to spend $35m on promoting financial inclusion

Source: Finextra

This commitment builds on the efforts of the Financial Solutions LabSM, a separate five-year, $30 million program developed earlier this year by JPMorgan Chase and the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), to identify, test and scale innovative financial products and services to improve financial security.
Friday, September 19, 2014 — Latin America

MasterCard and Bansefi to drive financial inclusion in Mexico

Source: Finextra

MasterCard and BANSEFI, the social bank of Mexico, announced a partnership to foster financial inclusion in Mexico through the disbursement of social benefits using electronic payments.
Thursday, September 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Free mobile money transactions from Airtel to boost Rwanda's financial inclusion drive

Source: All Africa

The government's efforts geared at ensuring that all Rwandans access financial services have been boosted by Airtel Rwanda, which has scrapped charges on Airtel Money service transactions.
Thursday, September 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

African depositors grew fivefold since 2004 according to IMF Financial Access Survey

Source: CPI Financial

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) survey revealed that among African countries reporting data on commercial bank depositors, depositors per 1,000 adults experienced a fivefold increase from 2004 to 2013, while simultaneously achieving a 40-percent growth in real GDP per capita.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

A Day in the Life of the Unbanked Consumer — And How Mobile Can Help

Source: ReCode

To fully understand the effect that mobile payment technology is having on our world, let’s take a look at a day in the life of individuals who are oceans apart but have one thing in common: No bank account.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Amex to Crowdsource Financial-Inclusion Ideas from Academics

Source: American Banker

It's like the opposite of "Not Invented Here" Syndrome.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Where to, when mobile money reaches critical mass?

Source: BusinessTech

M-money services take-up has taken time, but as it passes the “critical mass” moment, two things begin to happen, writes Russel Southwood.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India governor cautions Modi government on speed of financial inclusion scheme

Source: FirstBiz

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan’s warning to sarakari banks, on a hunt to win maximum number of bank accounts in minimum days to make Narendra Modi government’s flagship financial inclusion scheme Jan Dhan Yojana a success, reflects the regulator’s concern on the way government using state-run banks to push its populist agenda overlooking prudential norms.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The MasterCard Foundation: Access to Financial Services in Africa Can Transform Lives

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

“Greater financial inclusion is correlated with higher living standards, better health outcomes, higher education levels, and an overall improvement in well-being,” explained Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Bill Gates focused on digital payment for poor

Source: PYMNTS

Though there has been a lot of talk and media coverage about the tremendous potential mobile payments offer to the poor, underbanked and financially disenfranchise