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
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 launches Bitcoin wallet tailored for emerging markets

Source: Tech In Asia

Yesterday,, 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?


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?


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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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

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

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

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 — 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
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.
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 — 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

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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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

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.
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.
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

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 — 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 — 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

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

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.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africans Open Fuller Wallets to the Future

Source: The New York Times

JOHANNESBURG — Across sub-Saharan Africa, consumer demand is fueling the continent’s economies in new ways, driving hopes that Africa will emerge as a success story in the coming years comparable to the rise of the East Asian Tigers in the second half of the 20th century.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Next Big Thing You Missed: Bigger, Cheaper Fuel Cells Will Eliminate Power Outages

Source: Wired

General Electric has a bright idea for keeping the lights on even when the electrical grid short-circuits. The 122-year-old company wants to bring clean, reliable, affordable energy to the masses with hyper-efficient fuel cells , and in a rare move, is launching a startup to do it.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — South Asia

A new kind of no-frills bank could kickstart India’s long-awaited mobile money revolution

Source: Quartz

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is one of the few institutions Indians respect (paywall). India’s central bank is known for being clean, sensible, and well-run. It is also extremely cautious
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — Latin America

Financial Inclusion in Paraguay: New Mobile Money Regulation

Source: GSMA

The opportunity to increase financial access in Paraguay is massive.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — South Asia

The BRICS new development bank: A historic game-changer?

Source: Eurasia Review

Following two years of intense negotiations, the BRICS leaders agreed on 15 July 2014 in Fortaleza (Brazil) to launch the New Development Bank (NDB).
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — South Asia

Norms on small banks fail to impress micro lenders

Source: Business Standard

The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) draft guidelines for licensing of small banks has failed to impress microfinance companies.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — South Asia

India PM Modi to unveil comprehensive financial inclusion schemes on Aug. 15 - here’s a sneak peek

Source: FirstBiz

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to give a big boost to the ongoing financial inclusion drive by unveiling a comprehensive programme, to be announced at the Red Fort in his address to the nation on the Independence Day.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — South Asia

World Bank Group (WBG) Loans $500m to Government of Indonesia for Financial Sector Reform

Source: MicroCapital

World Bank Group (WBG) Loans $500m to Government of Indonesia for Financial Sector Reform, Including to Boost Financial Inclusion
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — South Asia

India's youngest bank Bandhan to empower women, rural folk

Source: Business Standard

Innovative microfinance company Bandhan will operate as a bank from October next year and focus on empowering women and rural people, says its chairman and managing director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh.
Friday, July 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

On Capitol Hill, a brief simulation of what poor Americans go through each day

Source: The Washington Post

U.S. Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.) had just finished voting on highway construction funding before he was rushed to a meeting room and thrust into the anxiety-ridden world of Ann and Albert.
Friday, July 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

International Reform Activists Dissatisfied by BRICS Bank

Source: Inter Press Service

FORTALEZA, Brazil, Jul 17 2014 (IPS) - The creation of BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) own financial institutions was “a disappointment” for activists from the five countries, meeting in this northeastern Brazilian city after the group’s leaders concluded their sixth annual summit here.
Friday, July 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Why Farmers Are Loyal to Micro-Finance Institutions

Source: AllAfrica

Rwandans have hailed the role of micro-finance institutions just as Kigali is hosting a global financial inclusion summit starting today.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — South Asia

RBI spells out draft norms to set up payments banks, small banks in India

Source: FirstBiz

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday spelled out draft norms to set up payments banks and small banks in India that will give a major push for financial inclusion, or the process of spreading banking services in the un-banked segments, in Asia’s third largest economy.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom move to open up M-pesa agent network seen to aid mobile money services

Source: PC Advisor

Safaricom's move last week to allow agents for its M-pesa mobile money service to work for rival operators is broadly being viewed as having the potential to further fuel the growth of such services.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — South Asia

Indian government to set up credit guarantee fund to support Rs 40,000-crore Financial Inclusion Mission

Source: Economic Times India

NEW DELHI: The government will set up a credit guarantee fund to support its over Rs 40,000-crore new Financial Inclusion Mission, which envisages to give a Rs 5,000 overdraft facility to around 8 crore new account holders.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

A Supply Chain Overhaul To Boost Coffee Farmers' Income 400%

Source: Forbes

This is about a social enterprise on a mission to reinvent the coffee supply chain, giving farmers a bigger and more equitable piece of the action.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Five reasons why Modi government’s grand financial inclusion plan won’t work

Source: FirstBiz

The Modi-government has somewhat bought the idea of universal bank accounts, something first proposed by the Nachiket Mor panel in January, 2014. The plan will finally come up with a little bit of 'Modi'-fication. Instead of one full service bank account for every adult citizen by January 2016—the idea proposed by the Mor panel—the government plans to offer two bank account for every household within the next year.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Telecel Zimbabwe launches mobile money credit card

Source: ITWeb Africa

Zimbabwe's second largest telco by subscriber numbers, Telecel, on Wednesday launched a credit card for its mobile money system Telecash.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya mobiles step up rivalry

Source: East African Business Week

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya’s lucrative mobile money transfer market is set for unprecedented competition following the entry of three additional telecoms operators with intention to have a piece of the sector’s billion shillings pie.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — South Asia

IBM signes deal worth Rs 550 crore with microfinance firm Janalakshmi Financial Services

Source: Economic Times India

NEW DELHI: International Business Machines (IBM) has signed a deal worth Rs 550 crore with microfinance firmJanalakshmi Financial Services, according to people familiar with the discussions. IBM's consulting division, along with its Institute of Business Value, is leading the engagement, a person familiar with the transaction said.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile payments ideal for Africa

Source: ITWeb Africa

In emerging markets, mobile money has the power to transform lives, says Gemalto.
Friday, July 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe's high interest rates, multiple borrowings and growing debts

Source: The Africa Report

Zimbabwe's microfinance institutions (MFIs) doled out $170 million worth of loans to clients in the first quarter of the year with the bulk of the funds going towards domestic consumption.
Friday, July 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Incentives to lift mobile money uptake

Source: ITWeb

Airtime can be used as an incentive to drive the uptake and usage of mobile money services in countries where its growth has been sluggish.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 — South Asia

Setting a High Bar for Poverty in India

Source: The New York Times

NEW DELHI — It is not uncommon for Indians to stand in a line to receive alms from a politician as he gives away clothes, pots and laptops that would make Apple laugh. This is a custom that has survived from a time when the theater of charity was enough to make the poor feel grateful. But they have since come to regard such alms as political buffoonery and now expect substantial assistance from the government.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank Partner to Counter Equity's Mobile Money Plan

Source: AllAfrica

KENYA Commercial Bank has partnered with Safaricom to offer a new product that converges financial and communication services to take on Equity Bank's planned mobile virtual network operation business.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria Launches National Bank Verification Scheme

Source: Ventures Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – As part of the financial inclusion policy of the Financial Sector Strategy (FSS) agenda of ensuring Nigeria becomes one of the top 20 largest economies in the world by 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised bank customers in Lagos to register and obtain their Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom finally agrees to open up M-Pesa agent network

Source: ITWeb Africa

Mobile network Safaricom, which runs M-Pesa, has unexpectedly agreed to open up its agency network across the country to its rivals.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Bank accounts for all won’t bring financial inclusion to India

Source: First Post India

Financial inclusion, the buzzword that Manmohan Singh government used quite freely during his term in office, is likely to be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lexicon as well. But the question is, how will he implement it?
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile Banking Rises Across the Globe

Source: eWEEK

Emerging countries such as China, India and Bangladesh witnessed significant growth in the past 12 months, the Juniper study found.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania: Better Credit Facility in Pipeline

Source: AllAfrica

MEMBERS of the public may soon start accessing credits on competitive terms, thanks to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), that commercial banks have embraced amid optimism that the data base will help to extend financial services to more people, a new study has shown.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — No Region Specified

Clay Fridges That Keep Food Cool Without Electricity

Source: Fast CoExist

This food storage box won't replace a refrigerator. But it'll help keep food fresh for people who don't have one.
Monday, July 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Developing Africa Through Effective, Socially Responsible Investing

Source: Ventures Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – The SME space is seeing tremendous growth in Africa, with easier access to funds from financial institutions and government policies encouraging sector growth.
Monday, July 7, 2014 — South Asia

Adarsh Credit Co-op Reaches India's Rural Poor With Mobile Tech

Source: Forbes

Mobile phones are a key way to expand financial inclusion to rural areas across emerging markets, as M-Pesa has demonstrated in Kenya. In India, Adarsh Credit Co-operative Society reaches one million members through 800 branches and more than 100,000 financial advisors who travel through villages taking deposits or disbursing money by linking to the bank through their mobile phones.
Monday, July 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

New private equity fund targets microfinance institutions for women

Source: Devex

It’s been a while in the making, but this week Women’s World Banking finally closed its first private equity fund to invest in microfinance enterprises that support women.
Thursday, July 3, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda working on cross border mobile money platform

Source: HumanIPO

East Africa will soon have a common mobile money platform that will enable users to send money from one country to another without any difficulty under exchange rates approved by central banks.
Thursday, July 3, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile money and digitized payments have few takers in India

Source: LiveMint

Lack of awareness and difficult access are the main hurdles
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 — South Asia

Impact investor money chasing very few investible companies in India

Source: Business Today

Venky Natarajan, Managing Partner at impact investment fund Lok Capital, speaks to BUSINESS TODAY about impact investing in India.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 — South Asia

Indonesia Receives Us$500 Million from World Bank in Support of Financial Sector Reform Policies

Source: Insurance News

WASHINGTON, July 1 -- World Bank issued the following news release: The World Bank'sBoard of Executive Directors approved today a US$500 millionFinancial Sector Reform and Modernization Development Policy Loan for the Government of Indonesia. The loan supports Indonesia's policies aimed at reinforcing the stability of the financial system, diversifying the financial sector, and expanding financial inclusion to reach the poor and other underserved groups.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ugandan banks look to expand reach through agents

Source: The Observer

At least six banks have expressed interest in using agents to reach out to people outside the formal banking institutions, Bank of Uganda has said.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania: Missing Link Between Economic Growth, Poverty Reduction

Source: AllAfrica

THE much celebrated economic growth in Tanzania and other African countries that are said to make good progress can only have a meaning if there will be myriad poverty alleviation indicators.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — No Region Specified

Orissa-based Milk Mantra raises $13M in Series C led by Fidelity Growth Partners

Source: VCCircle

The transaction also had a secondary component where 25 angel investors and an old fund under Aavishkaar have exited.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile virtual operators compete with established players in Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Players in the traditional telecoms market have struggled in countries where extensive infrastructure is needed
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Consumer Federation of Kenya fights off claim of bias in mobile money war

Source: Standard Digital

Pressure is mounting on the Consumer Federation of Kenya ( Cofek) to stop opposing the award of licences to Equity Bank and two other Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and support the venture.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Two Financial Titans Open Their Vaults to Impact Investing

Source: Student Reporter

Started a few years ago by a small band of pioneers, impact investing has gained traction and is now drawing the attention of large international banks. Large financial institutions such as BNP Paribas and Citigroup, based in Europe and the United States, respectively, are developing various projects in the field of social and sustainable finance.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The apparent M-Pesa monopoly may be set to crumble

Source: Fortune

Competition to the M-Pesa is heating up in Kenya, the world’s most advanced mobile payments market.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria’s Microfinance Banks Ready To Go Cashless

Source: The Nigerian Observer

Abuja - The National Association of Micro Finance Banks (NAMFB), has expressed readiness of its members to key into Federal Government’s cashless policy.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Int’l Telecoms, Gates Foundation To Connect 2.5bn Adults To Mobile Money

Source: Leadership

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has joined hands with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to connect over 2.5 billion adults who do not have access to a formal bank account, most of them in developing economies, by delivering digital financial services capable of improving the delivery of basic financial services.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Impact investing on the cusp of mainstream wealth management

Source: Investment News

The news releases arrived in noteworthy succession throughout 2013. Morgan Stanley,UBS AG, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — some of the biggest names in the financial services industry — announced plans to establish or augment their activities around impact investing.
Friday, June 27, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: MTN, Pick N Pay in Mobile Money Partnership

Source: allAfrica

Johannesburg — MTN and Pick n Pay have partnered for a free money transfer service that is poised to empower millions of South Africans excluded from the banking system.
Friday, June 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

Wealthy support greater effort to promote social equality

Source: Benefits Pro

Ninety percent of wealthy individuals say they would be willing to pay higher taxes, support more job creation and greater educational opportunities in an effort to promote more income equality, according to a new survey by US Trust.
Friday, June 27, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India testing mobile-based payments system linked to Aadhaar national ID platform

Source: Business Standard

Despite uncertainty surrounding Aadhar's future, RBI is testing a mobile-based payments system linked to this platform
Friday, June 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

International Telecommunication Union sets up mobile money focus group

Source: HumanIPO

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established a focus group on mobile money, setting its sights on global financial inclusion.
Thursday, June 26, 2014 — South Asia

Google announces ‘Android One’ standard for affordable devices, arriving first in India at under $100

Source: The Next Web

Google has revealed a new program called Android One which will specify a set of hardware and software guidelines for device makers to adhere to if they wish to attain official ‘Android One’ status.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 — No Region Specified

MTN offers Mobile Money Visa in South Africa

Source: ITWeb

MTN SA has launched a Visa card for Mobile Money users in SA.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Forget Bitcoin: There’s A Better Model For Mobile Money

Source: ReadWrite

It's called M-Pesa, and it's also spreading around the world.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

BitPesa set to launch in Nairobi

Source: HumanIPO

Kenyan startup BitPesa is set to formally launch in Nairobi next week, bidding to bring down the high transaction fees associated with international money remittance companies by taking advantage of the digital, borderless currency Bitcoin.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Why mobile money has failed to take off in India

Source: Quartz

As we report this week, in much of the developing world, mobile money is evolving.Initially just a means of making payments, it’s now becoming a platform for an entire financial-services industry.
Friday, June 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

Myanmar: Adjusting for growth in the financial sector

Source: Oxford Business Group

Authorities in Myanmar are determined to foster economic progress and have placed financial inclusion on their list of priorities.
Thursday, June 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

How to manage all your financial affairs from a $20 mobile phone

Source: Quartz

“I feel like a caveman who’s just been handed a Bic lighter,” reported Charles Graeber, a writer for Bloomberg Businessweek who recently went to Nairobi to check out M-Pesa, Kenya’s dominant mobile-money provider.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Mobile Money Services - Not Mobile Wallets - Will Lead To Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Light Reading India

Mobile wallet services have been around for quite some time now and have gained considerable traction. However, the broader genre of mobile money services are yet to etch a mark.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

BNP Paribas, Orange Partnership Reaffirms Growing Significance Of Mobile Money In Africa

Source: Ventures Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – UK-based telecom giant, Orange and the French banking group, BNP Paribas have teamed up to roll out mobile money services for Africans, joining the growing pool of mobile money providers and reaffirming the increasing prominence the innovative service is taking in the continent’s financial sector.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Over 70% of micro enterprises in Nigeria lack insurance protection, group raises alarm

Source: Nigerian Tribune

A civil society organisation, Transparent Protection Limited (TPL), on Monday, in Abuja, raised the alarm that over 70 percent of micro enterprises in the country did not have any form of insurance.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — No Region Specified


Source: Tech Moran

Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom’s paperless banking service M-shwari has today launched a fixed deposit savings account dubbed “Lock Savings Account”, the first of its kind in the mobile money space aimed at helping Kenyans an opportunity to save for a specific purpose.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Grameen America Scales Microlending Model Across the U.S. with Launch of Microfinance Training Institute in Queens

Source: Digital Journal

Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance organization offering microloans, training and support to help women in poverty build small businesses, today announced the launch of the first U.S. Training Institute for microfinance with the support of longstanding partner Capital One.
Monday, June 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Citi celebrates small successes with microentrepreneurship awards

Source: The Daily Star

Six microentrepreneurs, two lenders awarded
Monday, June 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Unbanked and cashless: why mobile wallets like M-Pesa are focusing on eastern Europe

Source: DW

Banks in Europe are rolling out mobile wallets and peer-to-peer payment apps originally developed for Africa in a bid to offer banking services to millions of eastern Europeans who are "unbanked."
Monday, June 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile Payment Transactions Hit N271 Billion in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

In spite of the initial apathy to the mobile payment initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), there are indications that the policy is gaining traction as the total value of mobile payments in the country amounted to N271 billion for 25 million transactions as at end of May.
Monday, June 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Reserve Bank of India’s relaxation of know-your-customer norms to boost financial inclusion

Source: Business Standard

Bankers and industry experts believe that this will not only bring migrant workers but also students and people with a transferable job in the banking fold
Friday, June 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile money remittances for Zimbabwean expats

Source: ITWeb Africa

Expat Zimbabweans now have an alternative remittance service thanks to Econet Wireless partnering with cash transfer firm WorldRemit on a mobile money offering.
Friday, June 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Cash transfers in Africa

Source: The Economist

Bitcoin for the poor
Friday, June 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Soon, Indians won't need smartphones for mobile money transfers

Source: Business Standard

FM might next month launch mobile banking services for people not using smartphones, the move aims at pushing financial inclusion in India
Thursday, June 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

World Bank, Firstmonie partner to advance mobile money in Nigeria

Source: HumanIPO

The World Bank through its subsidiary the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced a partnership with First Bank of Nigeria’s Firstmonie to advance mobile money services in Nigeria.
Thursday, June 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

This Credit Union in Disguise Is Helping Poor Latino Communities

Source: National Journal

Low-income Latinos often rely on predatory payday loans and high-priced check-cashing services. Savings accounts can change that.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

The experimenters strike back in microcredit research

Source: The Economist

“GIVE a man a fish”, said Bono, an Irish singer turned philanthropist, “he’ll eat for a day. Give a woman microcredit, she, her husband, her children and her extended family will eat for a lifetime."
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Correlation Established Between Mobile Phone Usage and Banking Behavior

Source: Digital Journal

Findings are result of WSBI project carried out by Cignifi
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — South Asia

World Bank to offer transition support of $3.5 billion to India for infrastructure, education initiatives

Source: Economic Times India

NEW DELHI: The World Bank will continue its concessional lending meant for poorer countries to India and has also significantly upped the country's single-borrower limit, looking to provide a helping hand to the new government in taking forward its agenda on infrastructure, skilling, river cleaning and tourism.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

My Day Without Banks

Source: National Journal

Lesson one from navigating the archipelago of check cashers, payday lenders, and discount store money desks: it’s expensive to be poor.
Monday, June 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

Fighting Financial Exclusion: How To Serve 88 Million Americans Who Have No Bank

Source: Forbes

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor,” the great American author James Baldwin wrote in 1960.More than half a century later, his words ring true to the 46 million Americans who live below the poverty line and to the millions more who are struggling to stay above it.
Monday, June 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

Safaricom softens stance on opening up M-Pesa

Source: ITWeb Africa

Kenya’s largest mobile phone company Safaricom has softened its position on opening up its mobile money system M-Pesa to rivals.
Monday, June 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

More evidence that giving poor people money is a great cure for poverty

Source: Vox Media

As solutions to global poverty go, "just give poor people money" is pretty rock solid.
Monday, June 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

Women and Money: Bridging the Financial Inclusion Gender Gap in the Global South

Source: Huffington Post

The urban poor in the Global South lack access to banking and financial services, and women are disproportionately affected. They are less likely than men to hold a bank account, to take out a loan, or to borrow money. This is a detriment to development since women are more likely to spend extra funds on their family, thereby improving food, education, and health. São Paulo, Mexico City, Nairobi, Bangalore, and Dhaka have taken various approaches to bridging the financial inclusion gender gap.
Friday, June 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing: Not Just For Billionaires

Source: Forbes

Foundations just make grants, correct? Not necessarily. Grants are becoming one option in a more complex menu of financial tools for the social sector.
Friday, June 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ten Days in Kenya With No Cash, Only a Phone

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Even farther into the country, a few miles from the Ugandan border in a town called Bungoma, I find Gertrude Wamalwa working her farm plot, a rust-colored scarf tied across her forehead and a machete in her leathered hands. Wamalwa and her Bungoma neighbors don’t appear to have any connection to mobile money.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

Tigo, Airtel, Zantel announce Africa’s first interoperable mobile money agreement

Source: HumanIPO

Three major telecoms companies operating in Tanzania – Tigo, Airtel and Zantel – are to adopt interoperable mobile money services by the end of the month, the first agreement of its kind of Africa.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

How Mobile Phone Carriers Are Helping Insure The 4 Billion People Who Live Without A Safety Net

Source: Fast CoExist

With this system, every time a customer tops up his SIM card, he gets free insurance coverage. The model helps carriers increase brand loyalty and gets people in poverty comfortable with the emerging concept of micro-insurance.
Monday, June 2, 2014 — No Region Specified

In India, Telcos Ride Piggy Back on Migrant Workers, Bet Big on Mobile Money

Source: The New India Express

KOCHI: If the initial responses are any indication, the ubiquitous mobile phone is set to become a tool for financial inclusion in Ernakulam district.
Monday, June 2, 2014 — No Region Specified

MobiKash launches mobile merchant payment service in Kenya

Source: Human IPO

MobiKash Afrika has unveiled a merchant payment service to deliver mobile money transactions in real time, making cashless transactions at the grassroots level a reality for thousands of Kenyans.
Thursday, May 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

U.N. Vows to Eliminate Open Defecation by 2025

Source: Inter Press Service

At the height of his election campaign last October, Narendra Modi, India’s Hindu nationalist leader, briefly set aside his spiritual aspirations when he told a surprised audience that economic development should take precedence over religion.
Thursday, May 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Virtual Operators Add Twist To Mobile Money Revolution

Source: AFK Insider

A move by the Kenya communication regulator to license three mobile virtual network operators (MNVO) – that don’t own their own communication infrastructure – is expected to expected to increase competition in the mobile money segment of the market that has been for the last couple of year dominated by a single player.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Landmark Agreement with MasterCard, Bank of Punjab Designed to Bring Financial Inclusion to Millions in Pakistan

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Landmark Agreement with MasterCard, Bank of Punjab will Issue Payment Cards to Citizens, Empowering the Unbanked Population
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile offers brighter future for Africa's rural homes

Source: BBC News

John Kibet's home in rural Kenya is not linked to the country's electricity grid.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

M-Pesa Rival Bitpesa Unveils Pilot of Bitcoin Remittance Service in Kenya

Source: AllAfrica

Kenya's BitPesa has launched a pilot or beta version of its solution which allows diaspora Kenyans to send money back home with ease and at affordable rates.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

Chilasa Invests in Indian green building products manufacturer Ecoway Bricks

Source: Chilasa Venture Philanthropy

Chilasa Venture Philanthropy, a pioneer in small enterprise growth in poor communities, today announced a new investment to support the expansion of Ecoway Bricks PVT LTD, a manufacturer of environmental building products made from rice husk ash.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 — No Region Specified

Is For-Profit the Future of Non-Profit?

Source: The Atlantic

The troubling allure of turning philanthropy into consumer activity
Thursday, May 22, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINON: South Africa’s mobile money success requires telco, bank collaboration

Source: ITWeb Africa

South African cellular companies must collaborate with banking institutions to ensure an increase in the uptake of mobile money services in the country, an Ericsson official has said.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Axa builds 'fund of funds' for socially responsible investing

Source: The Guardian

Axa's Impact Investment Initiative pulls together small pools of capital to create large-scale positive social impact
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IFC expands support to capital markets, access to finance and telecommunications in Rwanda

Source: WorldStage

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the private sector in Rwanda.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

Somaliland has embraced mobile money – but at what price?

Source: The Guardian

Mobile money platform Zaad is booming in Somaliland, but there is concern its reliance on the dollar is damaging the economy
Monday, May 19, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile money use on the rise in West Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Various strategies are being used to encourage use of mobile money services
Friday, May 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Vodacom Tanzania, CBA launch mobile money banking product

Source: HumanIPO

Vodacom Tanzania and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) have launched a banking service named M-Pawa allowing Tanzanians to save and borrow money on their mobile phones.
Friday, May 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Why Government Should Help Poor People Get Bank Accounts

Source: Governing

The former head of consumer affairs in New York City explains why helping the poor manage money more wisely would also help government manage their money more wisely.
Thursday, May 15, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: MIX Introduces Groundbreaking System For Analyzing Data On Financially Underserved Communities

Source: PR Newswire

First Platform for Coordinated Delivery of Responsible Financial Services to the Unbanked
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Citi starts Latin American mobile startup challenge

Source: Banking Technology

Citi is hosting a major new mobile innovation competition in Latin America. Called the Mobile Challenge LatAm 2014, the competition aims to bring together individuals and companies with innovative ideas to create applications for Citi’s Latin America mobile banking platform.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Promoting Access to Finance in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

The introduction of the tiered Know-Your-Customer regime for potential bank customers will drive the country’s quest for improved access to finance, writes Obinna Chima In most developing countries, large population of low income earners has little access to financial services.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Progress Report Asks Governments To Promote Mobile Banking

Source: AFK Insider

A new report has urged African governments to emulate Kenya in supporting the development of mobile banking and electronic commerce to increase financial inclusion.
Monday, May 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

Tanzania: Mobile Money Services Register Boom

Source: AllAfrica

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world are unbanked. They lack financial services needed to invest in their livelihoods, protect their assets, and avoid falling deeper into poverty.
Monday, May 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

How Non-Profits Are Cashing In on the Cryptocurrency Boom

Source: Motherboard

Bitcoin is often discussed as the backbone of the online drug trade, an interesting speculative investment, or simply a futuristic way to order pizza. But proponents say the cryptocurrency also has great potential for the nonprofit world.
Friday, May 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

10-year-olds can open and operate a bank account alone, says Reserve Bank of India

Source: The Times of India

Children older than 10 years will no longer need the help of their parents or guardians to open and operate a savings bank account. To boost financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday said that banks were at liberty to allow minors above 10 years to independently open and operate savings bank accounts.
Friday, May 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Accion Venture Lab Invests in RevolutionCredit

Source: Press Release

Accion, a pioneer and leader in financial inclusion, today announced an investment in the financial capability and behavioral-credit insight company RevolutionCredit, through Accion Venture Lab, a $10 million initiative dedicated to providing seed capital and management support to financial inclusion start-ups.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION via Tony O. Elumelu: CSR as an anti-poverty instrument

Source: The Hindu Business Line

In 2000, the United Nations made the historic announcement of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They were very specific and had a timeline of 15 years for delivery. Progress on most of these objectives has been encouraging, but as we look towards the next round of development goals, we must recognise how the world has changed since 2000.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Making banking more secure, convenient through verification number

Source: Nigerian Tribune

The World Bank Group’s newly launched Global Financial Development Report 2014 on Financial Inclusion estimated that half the world’s adults, approximately 2.5 billion individuals, do not have an account with a formal financial institution.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Forget Banks: If Bitcoin Is Going To Change The World, Then This Is The Real Competition

Source: Business Insider

A central conceit of Bitcoin evangelists is that the cryptocurrency could be most useful to "the global unbanked."
Monday, May 5, 2014 — South Asia

Indian microfinance bank Bandhan plans to open 600 branches

Source: The Hindu

Microfinance outfit Bandhan Financial Services Ltd., which got a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India on April 9, is planning to open around 600 branches, its Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Sekhar Ghosh said.
Monday, May 5, 2014 — No Region Specified

BLOG: Momentum Builds for 100 Percent Impact Investment Movement

Source: Huffington Post

When I first started working in impact investing, the field's challenges were foundational: refining the concept, finding suitable investments, figuring out how to measure impact, even determining what to call the concept. Work in all those areas continues, but the field has matured to the point where it's on the agenda of the G8, finance conglomerates feel they need to have an impact product, and the mainstream business press is taking notice (if skeptically). N
Friday, May 2, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Philippines Using Postal Banks to Advance Financial Inclusion

Source: Philippine Information Agency

The Philippine Postal Savings Bank (Postbank) inaugurated Tuesday this week two branches of its Microfinance Banking Office (MBO) or Bangko sa Nayon in Albay alongside the government efforts to pursue inclusive growth particularly on the countryside.
Friday, May 2, 2014 — Latin America

Microfinancing Mexico Via Responsible Tourism Activities

Source: Travel Weekly

Fundacion En Via aims to empower women in Mexican villages with interest-free loans and business coaching.
Friday, May 2, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India May Allow MFIs to Function as Business Correspondents of Banks

Source: The Free Press Journal

However, the move has faced serious opposition from various departments in the central bank.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bottom of the Pyramid Business Strategy in Nigeria

Source: New Telegraph Online

The BOP concept champions new thinking and new ways of doing business in the world’s poor markets.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 — No Region Specified

E-banking Central to Uruguay Financial Inclusion Law

Source: BN Americas

Electronic banking services will play a central role in Uruguay's new financial inclusion law, approved by the senate last week, local paper Espectador reported.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda’s Bank of Africa Unveils Mobile Banking Platform

Source: Human IPO

Uganda’s Bank of Africa (BOA) has launched a mobile banking platform geared towards earning the bank a larger market share amongst those using mobile money as a way of doing business.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

38% of payments made in Swaziland are through mobile money

Source: Swazi Observer

The Centre for Financial Regulation (CENFRI) states that MM was one of the many market payments available in the country together with eWallet, credit electronic fund transfer (EFT), debit EFT, Point of Sale (POS), paper based to name but a few.