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Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bamboo Finance Announces the First Close of Financial Inclusion Fund II

Source: Insurance News Net

Bamboo Finance, a private equity firm specializing in investing in business models that benefit low-income communities in growth markets, today announced the first close of $31 million in its second financial inclusion focused fund with investments from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA-CREF) and AXA-IM.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

MasterCard to Collaborate With the Alliance for Financial Inclusion

Source: Finextra

Today, MasterCard and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) signed a strategic partnership agreement that will enable a close collaboration within AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue Platform (PPD).
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Massive Drop in Number of Unbanked, Says New Report

Source: The World Bank

From 2011 and 2014, 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions, or mobile money service providers, and the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped 20 percent to 2 billion adults, says a new report released today.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Slow Global Spread of Savings Accounts

Source: The New Yorker

Last year, researchers travelled around the globe to talk about personal finance with a hundred and fifty thousand people, representing a range of socioeconomic classes, and living both in cities and in remote, rural parts of more than a hundred and forty countries.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Ethiopian Financial Services Industry Is Slow on Mobile Banking

Source: AFKInsider

Ethiopia’s heavily regulated financial service sector is one of the least developed on sub-Saharan Africa with over 80 million people from a population of 94 million still unbanked, despite the rapid economic growth the horn of Africa nation has experienced over the last decade.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Gender Gap Persists for Bank-Account Holders

Source: The Wall Street Journal

A persistent gap between the portion of men and women who have bank accounts is confounding experts despite huge leaps in access to banking services and the financial system globally.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Islamic Financial Services Board Adds Financial Inclusion to Islamic Banking's To-Do List

Source: Reuters

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) is adding financial inclusion to the industry's to-do list, launching initiatives aimed at widening the reach of sharia-compliant banking to include poorer people.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

National Commission to Issue Electronic Identity Cards to Six Million Nigerian MFI Members to Boost Financial Inclusion

Source: Leadership

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is collaborating with the Association of Non-bank Micro Finance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN) to register its six million members into the national identity management system and issue them electronic identity card for effective financial inclusion.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

Eight Months on, Two Charts Raise Questions About India’s Financial Inclusion Scheme

Source: Scroll.in

Two of every three bank accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana have zero balance. Not a single insurance claim was settled during the last year.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Push for Banks for All Leaves Some Still Outside

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Firozaben, a nurse at an upscale clinic here, opened an account at the state-owned Bank of Baroda Ltd. in December, attracted by the promise of an overdraft provision and accident- and life-insurance policies—all for no fee, courtesy of a government program to bring India’s masses into the banking system.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Study: Only 2.8 Percent of Nigerian Adults Have Microfinance Accounts

Source: National Mirror

Despite the huge numbers of Microfinance Banks, MFBs, operating in the country and regulatory authorities’ efforts to use them as channels for financial inclusion, investigations have confirmed that only 2.6 million of the adult population had MFB accounts.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Planning Lessons From Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Source: Livemint

That Narendra Modi is a skilful orator is not news, but to hear him in person and to see him use ground-level common sense to drive home financial lessons to an auditorium full of bankers is quite an experience. The venue was the 80th birthday party of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai. And in case you were wondering, as I did, as to why celebrate 80 years rather than the global norm of 75 or 100, Modi said that 80 years is special to Indians because it marks the sahastra darshan or the 1,000 viewings of the full moon by a person who turns 80.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — South Asia

No Distance Left to Run: India Post Shutters the Traditional Money Order Service

Source: MediaNama

As Bob Dylan would croak, “oh the times they are-a changing”. India Post is quietly retiring its traditional money order service which facilitated pan-India door-delivery of funds to a payee from over 155,000 post offices, reports IANS. Shikha Mathur Kumar, the deputy director general for finance confirmed to the publication and added that India Post will be pushing the electronic money orders (eMO) and instant money orders (iMO).
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

Driving Financial Inclusion at 4G Speed

Source: The Huffington Post

Base-of-the-pyramid financial services providers in emerging markets are increasingly using data analytics to pioneer new products for reaching the unbanked. Alifinance in China is using the underlying transaction data of vendors on the giant online platform Alibaba to underwrite small business loans. M-Shwari in Kenya leverages M-Pesa's mobile money data for short-term, unsecured credit. Cignifi analyzes cell phone usage to provide credit as well as savings propensity scores. Lenddo uses online social network data for credit risk assessment. Similarly, a number of companies including Tiaxa and MODE use cell phone data to extend immediate nano-credits to prepaid customers who run out of airtime balances.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Saving Lives By Making Malaria Drugs More Affordable

Source: Medical Xpress

Forty percent of all malaria-caused deaths in sub-Saharan Africa occur in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization. The private sector "supply chain" manages 74% of the drug volume in Congo and 98% in Nigeria where malaria-stricken patients rely on "drug shops" and other for-profit retail outlets to get life-saving medicine.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Could Your Facebook Profile Get You a Mortgage?

Source: Co.Exist

In the developing world, using people's social graph to determine creditworthiness is opening up billions of new people to the benefits of credit—and a chance at the middle class.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — South Asia

10 Impact Investors in India That You Should Know

Source: e27

Out of the total 1.3 billion population in India, around 80 per cent are living in poverty. There are some companies in India — both in the tech and no-tech segments — helping this large segment to address various problems related to irrigation, lending, travel, education, etc., by providing cost-effective solutions. These impact ventures are getting financial assistance in the form of grants or funds from various investment firms, called Impact investors.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Prime Minister Modi Asks Reserve Bank to Prepare 20-Year Financial Inclusion Roadmap

Source: Business Line

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the Reserve Bank of India to prepare a 20-year roadmap for deepening financial inclusion in the country.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

Cellphones for Women in Developing Nations Aid Ascent From Poverty

Source: The New York Times

Here is what life is like for a woman with no bank account in a developing country. She keeps her savings hidden — in pots, under mattresses, in fields. She constantly worries about thieves. She may even worry about her husband taking cash she has budgeted for their children’s needs. Sending money to a family member in another village is risky and can take days. Obtaining a loan in an emergency is often impossible.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: Millicom Launches Rwanda’s First Mobile-Based Savings Product with Tigo Cash

Source: Business Wire

Millicom (Stockholmsbörsen: MIC), the international telecommunications and media company, announced today that its Tigo operation in Rwanda has launched the country’s first mobile-based savings product – Tigo Sugira – with Tigo Cash.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

Interview: Transforming Banking for the Poor: A Q&A With Jonathan Morduch

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Microfinance was once heralded as a key weapon in the fight against global poverty. Yet some 2.5 billion impoverished people across the world still don’t have access to basic financial services, according to the latest World Bank data.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Does Microfinance Still Hold Promise for Reaching the Poor?

Source: The World Bank

Nearly two decades ago, when the concept of microfinance as a poverty reduction tool was in its infancy, there was hope that microcredit would transform economic and social structures. With its focus on reaching the previously unbanked, microcredit was expected to bring about change at the household level, a market in developing countries that traditional financial institutions had failed to reach.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Airtel to Give Clients Soft Loans

Source: allAfrica

A micro-money lending platform whereby subscribers will be able to borrow up to Rwf50,000 payable in two weeks has been launched by telecom services provider, Airtel Rwanda and Atlantis Limited, a micro-finance institution.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Payments Company Oxigen Eyeing Up to $200 Million Expansion Drive

Source: Live Mint

Payment solutions provider Oxigen is on a major expansion drive that includes hiring about 1,500 people and ramping up its payment network across semi-urban and rural India. The firm is also eyeing a large share of the remittances market and prepares the ground for launching a payments bank.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Illicit Moneylenders Aren’t Going Away

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Three bank branches stand across the street from Ajay Kumar Jaswal’s vegetable stand. But their loan officers shun his small business, forcing him to pay up to 20% quarterly interest to an illegal moneylender for the roughly $160 he needs as working capital.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

85% of Kenyans Have Adopted Electronic Payment Products, Says MasterCard Study

Source: Capital FM

Eighty five percent of Kenyans have adopted electronic payment products including bank accounts, mobile phone, prepaid cards or other payment products, according to a new study by MasterCard.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

India’s SKS Microfinance: Back From the Brink

Source: Live Mint

SKS Microfinance Ltd, one of the largest microfinance companies in India, was a model for many other firms in the sector. Established by financial services professionals, the company was once considered the answer to India’s financial exclusion problem. While SKS has been through its fair share of struggles in the last four years, things are starting to look better for India’s only listed microfinance company.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Funding for Financial Inclusion Rises to $31 Billion in 2013

Source: Reuters

Global investment in affordable financial services for the poor has risen by an average seven percent per year since 2011, a World Bank think tank said in a survey released on Wednesday.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

Ratan Tata, Others Invest in Grameen Capital's Social Impact Debt Funding Arm

Source: VCCircle

Grameen Capital India, a social impact-focused investment advisory firm, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from a group of investors, including Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding firm of Tata Group, for a new debt investment vehicle.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

You Need a Banking Law to Create a Bank for the Poor

Source: Business Today

Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and a proponent of 'social business', a not-for-profit business model to combat unemployment and other social evils, does not mince his words when it comes to micro-credit for the poor. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is dismissive about some recent innovations in the microfinance sector and warns about the direction they are taking. He also believes that micro-credit should be kept outside political influence to run it as a sound financial institution. "The best scenario," he says, "is when a micro-credit bank is owned by the poor." Excerpts from an interview with Shamni Pande:
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — Asia Pacific

28M Filipinos Covered by Micro-Insurance as of 2014

Source: Sun.Star

As of 2014, 28 million Filipinos have micro-insurance coverage, according to the Insurance Commission (IC). The agency sees a continued growth in this segment as more Filipinos turn to micro-insurance for protection and financial security, especially for calamities.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: To Reach India’s Rural Poor, Why Not Try Television Banking?

Source: Business Line

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was envisioned to provide universal financial inclusion to rural and urban households. The mission includes not only providing universal banking access to all households but also micro-insurance. The government and commercial banks have accomplished the remarkable feat of opening 12.8 crore accounts within the last six months. While this is a laudable achievement, a number of issues related to servicing these accounts, mostly in remote and far-flung areas, may need to be addressed.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Table-Banking Bridges the Financial Inclusion Gap in Kenya

Source: Standard Digital News

Whichever way you look at it, Kenya and by extension the East African region is undergoing a major transformation as far as financial inclusion goes. In October last year, the Central Bank of Kenya released a report on development regarding the access and consumption of financial services in Kenya. The FinAccess 2013 Survey revealed that Kenya's financial inclusion landscape has undergone considerable transformation.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN Uganda Responds to Mobile Money Fraud Story

Source: PC Tech Magazine

In a rather unusual move last week, MTN Uganda called a Press Conference, the venue of which would be Stanbic Bank Boardroom at Crested Towers in Kampala.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Brazil and Malaysia Can Teach the U.S. About Financial Inclusion

Source: American Banker

When people think about financial inclusion, their minds tend to go first to highly-publicized unbanked regions in Africa and parts of Asia. But many people right here in the United States lack access to traditional financial services.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Youth Agenda At the World Bank? Readers and Development Partners Weigh In

Source: Devex

Can World Bank staff loosen their ties and engage with young people in a meaningful, productive way? Youth champions and development professionals hope that — if approved by senior management — a new team focused on youth will put an emphasis on listening more to young people to incorporate their ideas into the core of the global financial institution’s work.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: Ennovent’s Impact Investment Holding invests in Anant Learning

Source: Ennovent

Members of the Ennovent Circle, the Ennovent Impact Investment Holding and Upaya Social Ventures, closed a seed investment round in Delhi-based Anant Learning & Development.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — South Asia

Pakistan’s Largest Conventional Bank is Expected to Enter the Microfinance Sector

Source: The Express Tribune

Habib Bank (HBL) is expected to enter the microfinance banking segment by acquiring Pakistan’s second largest microfinance bank in terms of the value of savings, according to a regulatory filing by the country’s biggest commercial bank on Thursday.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Report Offers Insights into How Young People Save in Developing Countries

Source: Washington University

A new project from the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis shows, among other findings, that girls in developing countries, given equal opportunities, will save as much or more in formal financial institutions than boys.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: MetLife Foundation Sponsors ‘The Financial Inclusion Challenge’ in Asia

Source: Market Watch

Today, MetLife Foundation announced its exclusive sponsorship and launch of The Financial Inclusion Challenge. The Challenge, developed in partnership with MetLife Foundation and managed by The Wall Street Journal, is a two-year global project launching in Asia with the aim of encouraging non-profit and for-profit enterprises to submit proposals that provide innovative, sustainable solutions for individuals and families struggling to be part of the financial mainstream.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Calls Grow for a New Microloans Model

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Some of the world’s top experts in microlending recently gathered to debate a hot topic: Has the microloan boom of the last decade actually helped global efforts to lift people out of poverty?
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — South Asia

INTERVIEW: Muhammad Yunus discusses the Indian microfinance industry

Source: Live Mint

The Nobel laureate and founder of microfinance pioneer Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank says MFIs in India could be greedy and tapping the capital market or raising loans from private equity funds is a bad idea.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Asia Steps Up Efforts to Reach the ‘Unbanked’

Source: Wall Street Journal

Across Asia, governments are experimenting with novel ways to widen access to financial services, from using mobile technology for transfers to allowing retail stores to take deposits in remote areas.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Mysterious Disappearance of Poverty

Source: Maclean's

How do you help the poor? It is a very old question. The Roman emperor Nero found the answer in the advice of Stoic philosophers like Seneca, and built an awe-inspiring palace covered in gold leaf. This would fill the lower classes with gratitude for being blessed with such a glorious leader. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Roman senate ended Nero’s reign by ordering him to commit suicide four years later.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Inclusion in Focus in India, but Bank Loans to Micro Sector Fall 5.5%

Source: The Economic Times

State-run banks may have created a record with opening of Jan Dhan accounts, but when it comes to lending to the poor, they are actually faltering. Bank loans to the micro sector, the target group of the government's financial inclusion drive and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), have fallen 5.5% over the last 14 months, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Monday, March 16, 2015 — Asia Pacific

State-Owned Bank Negara Indonesia Prepares to Launch Branchless Banking Program

Source: The Jakarta Post

State-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is preparing to expand its electronic money (e-money) service to increase low-cost funds as well as to offer wider banking access.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — South Asia

India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Launches Digitization Scheme for Women Self-Help Groups

Source: The Economic Times

With an objective to promote financial inclusion, Nabard today started a pilot project for complete digitisation of women self help groups (SHGs) to improve the quality of interface between members and banks for efficient and hassle free delivery of banking services.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

Next Phase of Jan Dhan Yojana to Mobilize Financial Savings

Source: The Economic Times

The finance ministry on Wednesday said the next phase of the government's ambitious financial inclusion scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), will be focused on mobilisation of financial savings to reverse the decline in the savings rate.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: IFC Study Shows How Tanzania Became Mobile Financial Services Pioneer

Source: StarAfrica

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today published a study documenting the establishment of interoperability in the mobile financial services market in Tanzania, an arrangement that increases access to mobile financial services and advances financial inclusion.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

3 Ways to Fight Financial Exclusion

Source: World Economic Forum

Inclusion is one of the hottest development topics of 2015. Being excluded, financially or socially, perpetuates unemployment, inequality and poverty. With 1.8 billion young people in the world, and this number growing most rapidly in the countries with the highest rates of exclusion, we can’t afford to hesitate in addressing this problem.
Friday, March 6, 2015 — Latin America

MasterCard and Microsoft partner to promote financial inclusion in Mexico

Source: FinExtra

MasterCard and Microsoft announced a partnership to promote economic development in Mexico by supporting the base of the economy, the micro merchant, through comprehensive projects and innovative solutions in information technology, communication and payments
Friday, March 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

For the 'unbanked', mobile money still has some way to go

Source: Reuters

While many people have mobile money accounts – usually with the phone companies - few are actively used.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

MasterCard CEO says financial inclusion is our generation's big responsibility

Source: Business Insider

MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga discussed financial inclusion at Mobile World Congress.
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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 — 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.