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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Thursday, 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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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 — 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 — 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

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.
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.
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 — 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.
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?
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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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 disenfranchised around the world–minus a few bright spots (M-Pesa) the progress of mobile in bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked has been slow going.
Friday, September 12, 2014 — South Asia

Card payment network RuPay sees boost from Indian government's financial inclusion scheme

Source: Business Today

The Indian government's financial inclusion drive to expand banking services in the country is giving a boost to home-grown card payment network RuPay.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — South Asia

Next generation of microfinance: Leveraging Indonesian experience

Source: The Jakarta Post

The history of microfinance institutions in Indonesia dates back more than 100 years.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Alliance for Financial Inclusion Reveals New Home in Malaysia and New Funding Partner With Omidyar

Source: Market Wired

AFI announced today that Malaysia, represented by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), will be the new host country for the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — South Asia

Uber in talks with firms to integrate digital wallet in India

Source: Economic Times India

Global taxi-hailing company Uber is in talks with firms providing digital wallets and payment gateways in India as it looks to become compliant with local regulations.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 — South Asia

India's Bandhan Bank's plans to usher in a new model in financial inclusion

Source: The Hindu Businessline

Bandhan will start its journey with 600 branches. The microfinance company’s existing 2,016 offices will operate as sub-branches, each having an army of salaried field staff to take banking to the villages.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s telecom regulator moves to increase competition in money transfer business

Source: Standard Digital News

Communications Authority of Kenya ( CAK) has said it will not reverse its decision to allow Equity Bank to introduce mobile money transfer services despite protests from integrated communications service provider, Safaricom.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — Latin America

Mexico summit pledges to serve microfinance clients better

Source: The Daily Star

The 17th Microcredit Summit held in Merida, Mexico, last week discussed ways to better serve the next generation of clients and promote client-centred microfinance.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

These Off Grid Solar Lights Are Made By The Communities Who Use Them

Source: Fast CoExist

Liter of Light works with women's cooperatives to make solar lights from simple parts, instead of sending them solar lights that don't work the way they want them.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

M-Pesa To Monitise: How Necessity Is Pushing FinTech Innovation From Africa To The UK

Source: Forbes

Necessity is often said to be the driver of innovation. Nowhere is this clearer than with the mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing service, M-Pesa, in Kenya, wherein the need to provide financial services to the under-banked population resulted in a truly transformative fintech solution.
Monday, September 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nudging towards financial inclusion in India

Source: Financial Express

The Indian government recently launched a massive financial inclusion program with a view to improve access to formal finance. In this context, it is crucial to understand not only the importance of universal access to formal finance, but also the effective ways of achieving the same.
Monday, September 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New ID Card Scheme: Breaking the Barrier to Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

The burden of providing valid means of identification that has alienated some segments of the society from deriving benefits and value from the nation’s financial system and other initiatives will become history with the National Electronic Identity Card, reports Festus Akanbi
Thursday, September 4, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Microfinance in Jordan isn’t helping to empower women

Source: The Guardian

Foreign donors need to reconsider how their money is being used, as profits are taking precedence over sustainability
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 — No Region Specified

Report: Digital payments bolster economy, promote financial well-being

Source: Cistran Finance

A new report by the World Bank Development Research Group found that incorporating digital payment systems into the economies of emerging and developing countries helps to spur economic growth and individual financial well-being.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money: The Battle for Africa

Source: The Wall Street Journal

As enthusiasm for mobile-phone-based payments grows in Africa, operators are rushing to get a piece of potentially lucrative and ever-expanding markets and to challenge more popular and established mobile-payment services, such as Kenya’s M-Pesa.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 — No Region Specified

4 tips to implementing effective and efficient microfinance programs

Source: Devex

Despite being in place for more than 20 years, microfinance has yet to achieve its full potential, some experts suggest.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Rwanda: How Energy Can Contribute Towards Poverty Alleviation

Source: AllAfrica

WE LIVE in interesting times when so much is happening in terms of development. However, there are curious contradictions that undermine our journey to the Promised Land; development.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 — No Region Specified

Has microfinance lost its moral compass?

Source: Phys.org

The industry that provides financial services for people on low-incomes and without access to traditional banking services is morally reprehensible according to new research from The University of Manchester.
Thursday, August 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

India PM Launches Financial Inclusion Plan

Source: Zee News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched Jan Dhan Yojana, a mega financial inclusion plan under which bank accounts and RuPay debit cards with inbuilt insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh will be provided to crores of persons with no access to formal banking facilities.
Thursday, August 28, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Financial Inclusion Game Changer

Source: BBC

Today, MasterCard is launching a ground-breaking program in Nigeria with the cooperation of the Nigerian government. This program uniquely combines a national ID card with electronic payments. Daniel Monehin, MasterCard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, sat down with MPD CEO Karen Webster to discuss why today is a such significant day in payments for Nigeria and why this program has the potential to be the financial inclusion game changer everywhere in the world.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Microfinance Sector Soldiers On Despite Burden of Bad Loans

Source: All Africa

Sector experts say there is an urgent need to address challenges facing MFIs, especially by empowering the sector to enhance its capacity and performance.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 — South Asia

Indian PM asks banks to make financial inclusion a national priority

Source: Business Standard

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked banks to make the opening of bank accounts in 70 million households this year a national priority.
Monday, August 25, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Formal employment remains key to financial inclusion in India

Source: Indian Express

We believe the biggest boost to financial inclusion will come from a push to higher employment in the formal sector, especially regular, salaried employment.
Monday, August 25, 2014 — South Asia

In India, 50% of microfinance institutions could convert to banks, says regulatory body CEO

Source: The Hindu Business Line

About half of the Microfinance Institutions Network’s 49 members could follow in the footsteps of Kolkata-based Bandhan and convert themselves into banks in the next couple of years, according to a top official.
Friday, August 22, 2014 — South Asia

India's ICICI Bank plans to add more than 1.5 million accounts in FY15

Source: Business Standard

ICICI Bank-India's largest private sector bank-in a move to take ahead its financial inclusion strategy is planning to add another 1.5 million bank accounts in this financial year.
Friday, August 22, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Glo launches Nigeria’s 1st Mobile Money Agent Network - Central Bank lauds initiative

Source: Nigerian Tribune

GLOBACOM, Nigeria’s national telecommunications carrier, has launched Glo Xchange, a Mobile Money Agent Network, aimed at accelerating mobile money revolution and financial inclusion in the country.
Friday, August 22, 2014 — South Asia

Bharti Airtel in talks with State Bank of India for mega alliance

Source: Economic Times

Days after the Reserve Bank of India introduced draft norms for small and payments banks to boost financial inclusion, the nation's largest telco and the nation's largest lender are exploring a mega alliance.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Wells Fargo creates startup accelerator to get front-row seat on financial innovation

Source: Charlotte Business Journal

Wells Fargo & Co. has established the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, designed for startups pursuing innovation in financial services.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor asks bankers to be innovative on home loans

Source: The Indian Express

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor R Gandhi today asked lenders to be more financially innovative in designing home loan products and suggested creation of a periodic deposit-linked facility.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 — South Asia

Financial inclusion in India may remain an unsolved puzzle for now

Source: Business Standard

Days after the PM announced a financial inclusion package, a look at how banks and insurance firms are going about it & what lies ahead.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — Latin America

Ericsson to power Mobile Money project for ASBANC in Peru

Source: Telecom Lead

Telecom equipment vendor Ericsson will design and implement the mobile money project, Peru’s largest private initiative for financial inclusion for the National Bank Association in Peru.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ending M-Pesa’s solo story

Source: Mobile World Live

M-Pesa lacks interoperability with any of the rival services run by the country’s three other operators: Airtel, Orange and yuMobile. But Safaricom is now under pressure to change its ways.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Using mobile money to increase financial inclusion in Indonesia

Source: Jakarta Post

With the rapid growth of the middle-income population and a better-educated demographic bonus, Indonesia is expected to experience a more sustainable economic growth. One of the ways to achieve this is by increasing people’s involvement in the financial sector, otherwise known as financial inclusion.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — South Asia

Narendra Modi government to pay banks fee for pursuing financial inclusion plan in India

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: Government has agreed to give banks some commission for pursuing the financial inclusion plan announced by the prime minister on the Independence Day.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: By making ATM transactions expensive, the Reserve Bank of India is contradicting its own stance

Source: First Biz

On Thursday, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted banks to charge customers for using other bank ATMs more than thrice a month and that of own-banks more than five times, the apex bank was contradicting its own stated policy stance of encouraging public to alternative banking channels and, then gradually, to paperless banking.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Modi Promises Access to Banking for India's Poor

Source: The New York Times

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised on Friday greater access to financial services for nearly 500 million Indians who do not have a bank account, many of whom are now at the mercy of money lenders who charge extortionate interest.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Mastercard and Indosat give 60M Indonesians access to electronic payments

Source: PYMNTS

Indonesian mobile operator Indosat is making it easier and more secure for Indonesians working abroad to send money back home to family and friends by adding the MasterCard-backed HomeSend service to its offerings, the telco said this week.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Airtel, Voda, Idea move to cash in on mobile payments in India

Source: Hindustan Times

Till a few years ago, Sachin Dhaval had to visit the collection centre of SUMUL, the Surat-based milk co-operative, to pay cash a day in advance for placing his orders.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Airtel introduces mobile money saving solution

Source: IT News Africa

Airtel Uganda, in conjunction with Grameen Foundation, has developed a service that will allow Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and other forms of savings groups, such as Chamas or investment clubs, to store their group’s cash as mobile money.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda, Tanzania latest to welcome Diaspora Mobile Money transfer service

Source: Tech Moran

The Diaspora Mobile money transfer service from Rapid Communications’ is now in Uganda, Tanzania and Senegal only a month after it was unveiled in Kenya.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 — South Asia

Full financial inclusion can boost India’s GDP by 0.9%, says report

Source: Business Standard

British brokerage Barclays today said returns from financial inclusion, in the form of savings through reduced leakages, better tax collection and improved savings, would be much higher than the cost incurred.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 — South Asia

How to make financial inclusion work for women in India

Source: Financial Express

A striking thing in the BJP’s maiden budget was integrating gender in the macroeconomic policy framework.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's mobile money transactions hit KES1 trillion

Source: ITWeb Africa

Statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya indicate that Kenyans transferred over KES 1 trillion between January and June this year.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

Banking correspondents risking lives to bring financial inclusion to India

Source: LiveMint

In Bihar alone, at least 14 attacks on bank kiosk operators have been reported in the last two years
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Western Union Expands Collaboration with MTN Group; Launches Mobile Money Transfer Service in the Ivory Coast

Source: Market Watch

Consumers Who Subscribe to MTN Mobile Money Can Now Receive a Western Union Money Transfer Transaction on Their Mobile Phones
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

Indian MFIs demand more incentives for working as business correspondents

Source: Business Standard

According to survey by microfinance institution network (MFIN), published in February this year, nine out of 14 MFIs closed their operation as BCs in the recent past.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

Direct cash transfers will reduce corruption in India, says Reserve Bank governor

Source: Economic Times India

Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan made a strong pitch for direct cash transfers to the poor, saying this would help reduce corruption by breaking the "cycle of dependence".
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

India's Welcome Reform Of Its Ghastly Food Aid Program

Source: Forbes

India is making essential changes to the way that it operates its food aid program for the poor.
Monday, August 11, 2014 — South Asia

Ideas for a financially inclusive India

Source: Deccan Herald

The Prime Minister is expected to outline a policy on financial inclusion in his maiden speech from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2014.
Monday, August 11, 2014 — South Asia

RuPay cards to replace Aadhaar in welfare scheme authentication in India

Source: Economic Times India

The finance ministry has decided to limit Aadhaar's role in its welfare scheme payments and, instead, use ATM-enables RuPay cards for last-mile authentication to withdraw money.
Friday, August 8, 2014 — South Asia

Micro-insurance products in India may see sea-change

Source: Business Standard

Better remuneration to distributors and policies with bigger ticket size may boost sale
Friday, August 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Airtel unveils Airtel Insurance

Source: IT News Africa

Airtel Nigeria has collaborated with MicroEnsure and Cornerstone Insurance in order to launch its latest, free insurance product.
Friday, August 8, 2014 — South Asia

Rocket Internet raises $445 million to invest in mobile payments in emerging markets

Source: Internet Retailer

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company is purchasing a 10% stake in Rocket, a German e-commerce investment firm. The deal will combine the Philippines telecom operator’s mobile expertise with Rocket's global e-commerce and web services footprint.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank Group Commits US$ 5 Billion to Boost Electricity Generation in Six African Countries

Source: World Bank

The World Bank Group today committed $5 billion in new technical and financial support for energy projects in six African countries-- Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania—which have partnered with President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe: Telecoms Firms Embrace Innovation to Survive

Source: AllAfrica

AS technological convergence redefines business models across nearly every industry, mobile telecommunications companies have shown a growing appetite for innovation in order to survive and thrive in a fast-paced and unpredictable environment.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — South Asia

Indian Banks to ensure minimum remuneration to business correspondents

Source: Business Standard

Over 220,000 BCs had been appointed by banks after the RBI pushed this as a cost-effective way of extending banking services to the unbanked villages
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

3 Startups Offer New 'Microloan' Options for Entrepreneurs With Big Ambitions

Source: Entrepreneur

In the United States, a whopping 543,000 new businesses are launched each month. Sadly, half of all start-ups aren’t able to keep their doors open for more than five years. The failure of many small businesses is due, in large part, to lack of funding.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Social Enterprises Raise Money Through Direct Public Offerings

Source: Forbes

Looks like there’s a growing interest among social enterprises in a capital-raising method called Direct Public Offering (DPO).
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Grows In Africa But Hurdles Remain

Source: Gulf Business

Industry players say a fragmented and tough regulatory environment is holding the mobile money industry back.
Monday, August 4, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

What Vodacom has learned from M-PESA’s initial failure in South Africa

Source: Gadget

Following a disastrous South African launch in 2010, Vodacom has redesigned and re launched m-pesa, the mobile money service that has transformed the Kenyan economy. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK considers its chances of success.
Monday, August 4, 2014 — South Asia

Will Indian PM Narendra Modi's financial inclusion plan use Aadhaar for authentication?

Source: Economic Times India

NEW DELHI: In less than two weeks, PM Narendra Modi is expected to announce a new Financial Inclusion drive.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India's move to issue differentiated banking licences is path-breaking - but challenges remain

Source: Business Today

The RBI's move to issue differentiated banking licences is path-breaking but challenges galore.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banking For The Poor: Will This Be Bill Gates' Greatest Philanthropic Achievement?

Source: Forbes

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has given away more than $28 billion, comfortably making him the world’s greatest living philanthropist.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

EcoCash Launches Africa’s first physical MasterCard companion card in Zimbabwe

Source: Biztechafrica

Econet’s Mobile Money service, EcoCash, has announced a landmark agreement with MasterCard that will significantly assist in reducing cash dependence and increase financial inclusion through the provision of electronic payments in Zimbabwe.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — South Asia

Indian government aims to open 7.5 crore bank accounts by August 15, 2018

Source: Economic Times India

The NDA government has drafted a new financial inclusion plan that aims to open 7.5 crore bank accounts in rural and urban areas and extend financial services to all citizens by August 15, 2018.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Airtel wins case against Safaricom to open up M-Pesa

Source: HumanIPO

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) has ruled in favour of Airtel after the company accused its rival Safaricom of anti-competitive practice, a move coming weeks after Safaricom had decided to open up the network.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Latin America

OPINION: Brazil's Unaffordable Homes

Source: The New York Times

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — I live in Mandaqui, a district six miles from downtown. The nearest subway station is roughly two miles away, or about 30 minutes by bus, since they’re slow and scarce. It’s not the best place to live if you don’t have a car. Even so, the average price per square foot here recently soared to $250. Real estate in prime areas of the city can now cost as much as $465 per square foot.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M-PESA’s back: Vodacom relaunches mobile money in South Africa

Source: htxt

Vodacom has announced that it is relaunching its M-PESA mobile money payments system today, with a new look design for South Africans.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Survival Instinct Takes Over As Banks Partner With Telecoms

Source: AllAfrica

As the fight for customers between banks and telecoms continues to grow by the day, banks have realised that the only way to ease the pressure and also stay competitive is to work with telecoms.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — South Asia

Incofin floats ProPulse Fund to back microfinance cos, targets institutions

Source: VCCircle

Incofin has backed microfinance firms such as Annapurna, Fusion and Grameen Koota in India.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India survey finds 47 percent of banking agents 'untraceable'

Source: The Financial Express

The success of the government’s thrust on financial inclusion, which largely hinges on the role played by business correspondents (BCs), is faced with a harsh reality check.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Microcredits boost rural financing in China

Source: China Economic Net

Opinions on Development of Financial Services to Farmer, Rural Areas, and Agricultural Production by the General Office of the State Council has proposed "accelerated promotion of microcredits in rural areas".
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Crowdnetic and UC Berkeley to partner on Crowdfunding Research

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Over a year ago, Crowdnetic and UC Berkeley began collaborating on the launch of UC Berkeley’s Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance, headed by Dr. Richard Swart, who serves as its Director of Research at the Coleman Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Top 20 African tech startups, PesaPal, mobile services providers in the lead

Source: Venture Capital Post

Africa today is said to be a mobile continent, according to CNN. As such, a lot of innovative startups concentrate on developing innovative products and systems for mobile applications.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

4 questions about World Bank safeguards

Source: Devex

The World Bank board's Committee on Development Effectiveness meets on Wednesday to review a new proposal that may change the way the Washington, D.C.-based institution assesses and mitigates the environmental and social impacts of its investments.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile wallet a distant dream in India

Source: Times of India

Despite a huge unbanked population and 700 million cellphone connections, the concept of mobile wallet will take some time to become popular in India as people are still unaware of its larger benefits like financial inclusion, even as the standards to make it functional are yet to be in place, experts maintain.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — South Asia

Taking financial inclusion beyond bank accounts in India

Source: The Financial Express

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the grand financial inclusion plan last week, which he is going to unveil on August 15.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

International Labour Office, World Bank to Enhance Access to Insurance in Africa and Asia

Source: This Day Live

The International Labour Office (ILO) and the World Bank Group (WBG) have signed a memorandum of understanding that aims to provide access to improved insurance products to hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers, small businesses and individuals in Asia and Africa.
Monday, July 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Skoll Centre Venture Award winners: Tree-planting Quad-Copters and Farmers’ Transport Logistics

Source: Skoll Centre

Two new social ventures with founding teams from the University of Oxford have been chosen to receive this year’s Skoll Centre Venture Awards. The winners are Biocarbon Engineering, focusing on replanting one billion trees annually through the use of quad-copter technology, and Linkage, which aims to help smallholder farmers in Kenya to improve their selling practises and supply chain using an Uber-like logistics and transport system.
Monday, July 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Social Impact Bonds: Phantom of the Nonprofit Sector

Source: Nonprofit Quarterly

What issue could bring Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) into bipartisan partnership? Social impact bonds (SIBs)—or pay-for-success (PFS), depending on one’s preferred terminology.
Monday, July 28, 2014 — South Asia

Payment banks to be new revenue stream for India’s telcos

Source: Business Standard

Analysts expect all telcos to join the race; a liberal policy could boost revenues by 7-8% for the sector
Monday, July 28, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: President Peña Nieto of Mexico Expected to Attend 17th Microcredit Summit

Source: Digital Journal

The Microcredit Summit Campaign announced today that President Enrique Peña Nieto is expected to join the delegates of the 17th Microcredit Summit on September 3, 2014, in Merida, Mexico.
Monday, July 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Technoserve releases annual report highlighting progress on five-year strategic plan

Source: TechnoServe

We work with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries.
Friday, July 25, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IBM, Monitise targets financial sector with mobile money solution in Kenya

Source: Capital FM Kenya

IBM and Monitise have announced a global alliance to deliver cloud-based mobile commerce solutions to help financial services institutions embrace the mobile channel and better engage with customers.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Airtel sticks to its case against Safaricom

Source: Mobile World Live

Kenyan operator Airtel has pledged to continue its case against larger rival Safaricom over what it charges for access to its M-Pesa mobile money transfer service, said Business Daily.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

d.light Reaches 500,000th Pay-As-You-Go Customer, Launches Access Initiative

Source: Business Ghana

Company announces strategic focus to scale solar through financing globally
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — South Asia

World Bank to provide $18 bn aid to India in three years

Source: Odisha Sun Times

The World Bank Wednesday said it will provide financial support of $15-18 billion to India over the next three years to help accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — South Asia

Chinese microcredit firms lend around USD $10 billion in first half of 2014

Source: Global Post

BEIJING, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Microcredit companies in China issued 61.8 billion yuan (about 10 billion U.S. dollars) of new loans in the first half of 2014, industry figures showed on Wednesday.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — South Asia

Can India Achieve Financial Inclusion within the Next Few Years?

Source: Huffington Post

The new Government of India has made financial inclusion one of the corner stones in its modernization aspirations for the country.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Does the World Still Need the World Bank?

Source: Bloomberg View

There will always be a need for a World Bank, which celebrates a birthday of sorts Tuesday. There is no need for a World Bank with more than 10,000 employees.