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
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why South Africa’s largest mobile network, Vodacom, failed to grow M-Pesa

Source: Quartz

With just one million subscribers at the end of March 2015—the uptake of the mobile money platform M-Pesa has been labelled a failure in South Africa.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Posta Uganda to Launch Financial Services

Source: New Vision

Posta Uganda will launch financial services to use its country wide postal networks to promote financial inclusion especially the unbanked rural communities.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — South Asia

Singapore Fintech Out to Empower Asia’s Unbanked

Source: The Establishment Post

For most of us including Singaporeans, not having access to credit and debit cards is almost unheard of. Beyond the Little Red Dot though, citizens in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East continue to transact with cash and coins. They are the world’s unbanked who have minimal contact with banks and financial services. Though the unbanked make up about half of the world’s adult populace today, emerging financial technology startups including Singapore fintech startups are amplifying efforts to bring financial inclusion to the unbanked right at their fingertips.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

Islamic banking consistently expanding in Pakistan

Source: Daily Times

Last week, the State Bank of Pakistan granted its first license to a micro-finance bank and brought it into the Islamic mode.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

President Obama a Fan of M-PESA, Kenyan Innovation

Source: All Africa

US President Barack Obama has endorsed Kenya's innovation powerhouse status and regional economic might during the opening of the 6th Global Entrepreneurship summit.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bitcoin companies move ahead in Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Efforts to get Bitcoin off the ground in Africa received a boost this week as BitX announced it has raised $4 million in funding.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The battle between Africa’s mobile phone companies and banks is a boon for financial inclusion

Source: Quartz

Now banks are not only trying to compete in this space but also offer new products that promise access to banking services to those who up until this point were excluded.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Makes Leap in Cross-Border Mobile Payments

Source: Wall Street Journal

New partnerships aimed at getting a bigger slice of the $48 billion Africans sent and received last year.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money: 4 Services Tackling Wealth Inequality in Africa

Source: Wired

While mobile money services are available in 89 countries globally, nowhere are they having more of an impact than in Africa, where 12 percent of adults have mobile money accounts, compared with 2 percent worldwide.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — Latin America

Peru Government Installs National Strategy for Financial Inclusion

Source: Peru this Week

As the Peruvian Finance Minister, Alonso Segura, declared last December, social inclusion is “the foundation of Peru’s growth.” To make this possible, they increased the budget for social inclusion programs for the current year by 20%.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global Funds Make a Beeline for Indian Banks, Finance Firms; $1.46 Billion Investment Made in 6 Months

Source: The Economic Times

Finance and banking firms, big and small, are raising large sums of money from foreign investors jousting for a slice of action in the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Gates Foundation's Kosta Peric on Blockchain Tech and the Unbanked

Source: The Wall Street Journal

For Kosta Peric, overcoming finance's last mile means looking for ways to do so from the ground up.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion Key to Climate Risk Reduction for Zambia’s Smallholders

Source: Inter Press Service

In the advent of unpredictable weather, smallholder rain-dependent agriculture is increasingly becoming a risky business and the situation could worsen if, as seems likely, the world experiences levels of global warming that could lead to an increase in droughts, floods and diseases, both in frequency and intensity.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can Mobile Money Improve Your Health?

Source: IT News Africa

According to insights provided byMondato, the general rule of thumb is that when something appears too good to be true, it very likely is. Imagine that you were unfamiliar with the concept of insurance. A stranger at your door promises that if you pay 1000 shillings per month via your phone, if at some point you or someone in your family were to fall ill, the man’s company will pay up to 300 times that amount to cover the medical expenses. You would certainly be forgiven for being highly circumspect, at the very minimum.
Monday, June 29, 2015 — Latin America

A Light in the Darkness

Source: The Economist

Some mountainous parts of Mexico are so remote that the electricity grid fails to reach them, let alone the banking system. A five-year-old social enterprise, Iluméxico, hopes to change that. It provides more than 20,000 people with loans to buy low-cost solar panels and batteries, enabling them to switch lights on, watch television and charge mobile phones, sometimes for the first time.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Is There Finally Some Movement on the Pressing Challenge of Microinsurance?

Source: Inside Philanthropy

More market players are stepping into the microinsurance arena - if this trend continues, the role of philanthropy in this space may become less and less critical.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Banks Partner with Telecoms to Cope With Mobile Pressure

Source: All Africa

Ugandan banks seem to have realized the threat from mobile services, as more of them are partnering with telecoms to swiftly roll out mobile banking products.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — South Asia

How the Internet of Everything will help bank the unbanked in India

Source: Money Control

As digital frontiers expand, banks will be able to deliver highly customized services at relatively low costs and expand their customer base by reaching people who were until now outside the banking ecosystem.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — South Asia

India to Offer Tax Benefits to Encourage Electronic Payments

Source: Firstpost

The government has put out draft proposals on Monday to encourage electronic transactions in the country.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Survey: Big financial inclusion gains in Zambia

Source: The Post Zambia

According to the FinScope 2015, the proportion of Zambian adults accessing financial services has increased to 59.3 percent in 2015 from 37.3 percent in 2009.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda Legalizes Islamic Banking

Source: All Africa

Uganda's Cabinet has approved the amended Financial Institutions Act 2015, which paves the way for the introduction of Islamic and Agency banking in Uganda.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 — South Asia

Mobile Banking Provides Lifeline for Bangladeshis

Source: Wall Street Journal

Phone-based services revolutionize the way people save and send money.
Monday, June 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Innovation for Poverty Action's New $7.4 million Grant Will Support Research for Financial Inclusion

Source: Innovations for Poverty Action

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) announced today a new $7.4 million grant to support research on product design innovations that enable the poor to access, use, and benefit from financial services.
Thursday, June 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Closing the Financial Inclusion Gender Gap

Source: Huffington Post

While financial inclusion is growing for everyone, women tend to lag men by seven percentage points globally - in emerging markets, the difference is nine percentage points on average and can be as high as 18 percentage points in South Asia.
Thursday, June 18, 2015 — South Asia

Bandhan Bank Is Born: Chandra Shekhar Ghosh's Incredible Journey From a Sweet Shop to Owning a Bank

Source: Firstpost

In most Indian languages, the word Bandhan means bond or togetherness. His bond with the credit-deprived poor in Eastern India’s villages and a Rs 2 lakh loan were the initial capital for Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, the son of a small sweet-shop owner from Bengal, to begin a microfinance institution, Bandhan Financial Services Ltd, and grow it to a private bank in less than 15 years.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 — South Asia

Empty accounts continue to plague India's financial inclusion plan

Source: Business Today

More than half of a record 160 million accounts opened in India as part of a drive to offer banking to all are still empty, illustrating the massive task ahead for one of the government's most high-profile campaigns and the strain on banks.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Indonesian start-ups helping to broaden financial inclusion

Source: Spy Ghana

A string of innovative financial products from Indonesian start-ups are circumventing the traditional payment and investment system, helping to broaden financial inclusion and challenging the established banks.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe at the forefront of the mobile revolution

Source: IT Web Africa

While everyone looks to Kenya as the leader in mobile money transfers, when it comes to sending money from mobiles, Zimbabweans have been almost twice as eager to use an app to make a transfer.
Thursday, June 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: FINCA Releases Case Study Outlining Ways to Drive Financial Inclusion Through Mobile Technology

Source: FINCA

FINCA’s experience in Tanzania offers lessons learned for development practitioners
Thursday, June 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

Ericsson partners with Verifone on mobile money in emerging markets

Source: Telecoms

Kit giant Ericsson has announced a partnership with Verifone Mobile Money to offer its customers a broader range of mobile payment tools for emerging markets.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Scholarships for savings: Nigerian bank uses incentives to advance financial inclusion among students

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

First Bank Plc has put in place a set of incentives, including scholarships, that would encourage young Nigerians, particularly students, to voluntarily embrace savings culture and by extension, help drive financial inclusion.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's largest bank signs up 1.8 million mobile banking customers since March

Source: Reuters

Kenya's biggest bank by assets, KCB, has signed up 1.8 million customers for its mobile phone-based service since it was launched in March and is on target for 10 million users within a year from now, its chief financial officer said.
Monday, June 8, 2015 — South Asia

Postal bank coming soon to India, say officials

Source: Business World

India’s massive postal network is likely to turn into payment banks by late next month, reaching out to the unbanked section of the society under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Jan Dhan programme.
Monday, June 8, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

East Africa: Online Banking Still a Challenge to Many Kenyans - Study

Source: All Africa

Online banking remains a challenge to many people even as the smart phone penetration in Kenya experiences substantial growth, according to a new survey.
Friday, June 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion Releases Report on Progress toward Global Financial Inclusion

Source: PR Newswire

The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) at Accion – an action-oriented think tank working toward full global financial inclusion – released its 'By the Numbers' report today, which benchmarks progress toward global financial inclusion and makes projections about the movement's future.
Friday, June 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Report: U.S. cities are taking a stronger look at financial inclusion

Source: CivSource

Cities are taking a stronger look at financial inclusion, according to new research from the National League of Cities.
Friday, June 5, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: Fixing financial inclusion in India

Source: Financial Express

A Self Help Group-bank linkage programme should be included in the financial inclusion strategy of the government.
Thursday, June 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

How a Cutting Edge Effort to Boost Family Financial Stability is Giving Out $3 Million

Source: Inside Philanthropy

JPMorgan Chase is the founding partner with CFSI of the Financial Solutions Lab, a $30 million, five-year initiative "to identify, test, and expand the availability of promising innovations that help Americans increase savings, improve credit, and build assets."
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: Bangladesh Government joins the Better Than Cash Alliance

Source: PR Newswire

Aligned with the nation's Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021, the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh today announced it will accelerate its transition from cash to digital payments, marked by a new partnership with the Better Than Cash Alliance.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Can China’s Financial System Become More Inclusive?

Source: The Diplomat

Beijing is trying to make finance accessible to those traditionally denied it, with mixed results.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: Finance Minister launches National Financial Inclusion Strategy for Pakistan

Source: State Bank of Pakistan

The Federal Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, launched National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) for Pakistan at Islamabad.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

REPORT: By 2020, biometrics will be predominant method bank customers will use to identify themselves

Source: Goode Intelligence

Goode Intelligence today issued a new Analyst Report forecasting that by 2020, bank customers will use biometrics as the predominant method of identifying themselves to access bank services.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ugandan court says mobile money illegal, but no jurisdiction

Source: Telecom Paper

A court has pronounced that mobile money business operated by the five major telecommunication companies is illegal - a judge dismissed the case, however, because it was instituted in the wrong court.
Monday, June 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania surpasses financial inclusion target

Source: Daily News

TANZANIA has surpassed its financial inclusion target of 50 per cent, some two years ahead of deadline in 2016, thanks to mobile transaction platform.
Friday, May 29, 2015 — South Asia

India's microfinance loans are growing at a scorching pace, but it's a warning signal

Source: First Post

The institutions that give tiny loans to the poor somehow seem to be rediscovering their long-lost obsession for rocket-speed loan growth — the same mistake that once shattered the entire industry.
Thursday, May 28, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: Accion Announces MetLife Foundation Grant to Support Financial Inclusion in Myanmar

Source: PR Newswire

Financial inclusion pioneer Accion announced today that the MetLife Foundation has awarded Accion a $250,000 grant over two years to support its new MFI, Dawn Microfinance, in Myanmar.
Thursday, May 28, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Indonesia Turns to Technology to Build its Banking Sector

Source: Wall Street Journal

Indonesia is hoping to get more of its 250 million citizens using formal financial services, and it’s looking to some of the creative tech startups that are already one step ahead for some assistance.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Why turning the Postal Service into a bank isn’t nearly as ridiculous as it sounds

Source: Salon

This remains a tremendous idea to relieve economic inequality and preserve an important public-sector ladder into the middle class; and continued agitation just might get it done.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

What The U.S. Can Learn About Financial Inclusion From The Developing World

Source: Tech Crunch

While every country context is unique, there is much that the U.S. and developing countries can learn from each other.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa Plans to Corporatise Post Bank

Source: CPI Financial

South Africa’s Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele says the process to corporatise Post Bank is at an advanced state.
Friday, May 22, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Findex: Sub-Saharan Africa Continues to Be the Leading Frontier of Financial Inclusion

Source: The Huffington Post

Half of the world's population lives and works in the informal economy - not by choice, but by necessity. In the language of economists, poor families in developing countries are consumption-smoothing households and capital-consuming, self-employed entrepreneurs at the same time. As a result, they need a broader range of financial services to manage inevitably irregular income and expense spikes, accumulate working capital, build assets, and mitigate risks. Lacking better alternatives, they often resort to informal financial mechanisms, such as moneylenders, pawnbrokers, and rotating savings clubs, which can be very unreliable and expensive.
Friday, May 22, 2015 — South Asia

India's Street Dentists Filling Gap for the Poor

Source: AsiaOne

Ignoring noisy buses and curious onlookers, street dentist Allah Baksh plunges his hands into a patient's mouth to fit a sparkling set of dentures for $12 (S$16) in the Indian city of Bangalore.
Thursday, May 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria's GTBank Introduces New "Short Code" Channel for Mobile Money Transfers

Source: This Day Live

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) said it is applying a breakthrough innovation to enable funds transfer on the mobile phone for the first time in Nigeria for the bank’s customers.
Thursday, May 21, 2015 — South Asia

India's Jan Dhan financial inclusion drive hits customer service barrier

Source: The Hindu Businessline

Creating new accounts is not enough. Banks’ behaviour towards low income clients is a major roadblock
Friday, May 15, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ecocash Users in Zimbabwe Can Now Make Mobile Money Transactions in Local Languages

Source: New Zimbabwe

Users of EcoCash, the mobile money offering of Econet Wireless, are now able to transact in local languages after the company announced new enhancements to the platform.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 — Latin America

New GSMA Report Finds That Latin America and the Caribbean Have Fastest Growth in Mobile Financial Services Globally

Source: Business Wire

At the Mobile 360 Latin America event today, the GSMA issued the report, ‘Mobile Financial Services in Latin America and the Caribbean: state of play, commercial models and regulatory approaches’, which examines the current state of mobile financial services across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region. The report outlines important advances in mobile money adoption in the region, showing that nearly two thirds of markets have at least one live mobile money service. Today, there are a total of 37 mobile money services, accounting for roughly 14.9 million registered mobile money accounts, in 19 countries1 in the region. This includes seven new services launched in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama and Peru since 2014.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: Contributory Social Security Schemes Launched Last Week in India Could Be Game Changers

Source: The Indian Express

The prime minister launched three welfare-enhancing pension and insurance schemes on May 9. In a country where less than 10 per cent of the population has insurance cover and almost nobody in the unorganised sector has a pension plan, these three schemes are expected to play a significant role in providing social security for the poor.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Vodafone's M-Pesa Mobile Money Service Goes Live in Albania

Source: Telecompaper

Vodafone Albania officially launched the M-Pesa mobile payment service during a press conference held in the capital Tirana. Vodafone Albania is the second Vodafone operator in Europe to offer the service, following Vodafone Romania in April 2014.
Monday, May 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion in Africa: “Things Are Further Behind Than People Think”

Source: Ventures Africa

Plenty of progress has been made on increasing the size of Africa’s banked population. The trouble is, from the amount of noise that is made about the topic, you would be forgiven for thinking we had fixed the problem when we really haven’t.
Monday, May 11, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: India’s Financial Inclusion Schemes Are Fine, but Why Is the Government Not Addressing Banks' Quality, Cost Concerns?

Source: Firstpost

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team at the NDA government deserve their due share of credit for initiating efforts to bring a large segment of India’s population to insurance, pension cover at cheaper cost, even as the Congress is crying foul of repacking old UPA ideas.
Friday, May 8, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Africa, Mobile Money Is on the Move

Source: Mail & Guardian Africa

Moving money across African borders with the click of a cellphone button just keeps getting easier. The mobile money revolution – essentially the use of cellphones to access financial services – is already transforming the face of financial inclusion on the continent.
Thursday, May 7, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Visa Pushes for Financial Inclusion in Philippines

Source: Rappler

There is an opportunity for financial inclusion in the Philippines, and VISA is banking on such potential.
Thursday, May 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Could Stellar Be the Answer to Enable Financial Inclusion Around the Globe?

Source: Memeburn

When the internet first came round in the mid-nineties, people didn’t expect to see impactful tools like open-source libraries like Wikipedia or renting sites like AirBnb or car-sharing ones such as Uber and Lyft. As an open tool, the internet has laid the foundation for these products to be born, reaching audiences far and wide with powerful applications that impact most of our daily lives, whether we like it or not. But a lot of important industries have been left behind in the process. This, however, might be starting to change.
Thursday, May 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania: Mobile Banking Deepens Financial Inclusion

Source: allAfrica

One of the drivers of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 7.0 per cent last year was financial intermediation, speeded up by inclusive financing.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 — South Asia

In India, More Than 50% of Jan Dhan Yojana Bank Accounts Remain Empty

Source: Livemint

Nearly nine months after the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched, more than half the accounts do not have any balance.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 — Latin America

Total of $125,000 USD Awarded to Two Local Companies for Financial Technology Business Solutions

Source: Accion

Village Capital and Accion Venture Lab announced the winners of their program, Village Capital-Accion Venture Lab: FinTech Mexico 2015. The program partnered with theMasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, Pomona Impact, and United IT Consultants, Inc. to support entrepreneurs making financial services more affordable and accessible for Mexicans who lack access to traditional financial services (“underbanked”).
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Microfinance Leaders Offer Model Law Resource for Financial Consumer Protection

Source: Center for Financial Inclusion

The Microfinance CEO Working Group has published Client Protection Principles: Model Law and Commentary for Financial Consumer Protection. This Model Law provides a framework of suggested legislation for financial consumer protection in the microfinance and broader financial inclusion industry.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 — South Asia

Why Is Pakistan So Far Behind Its Neighbors in Financial Inclusion?

Source: Business Recorder

Just this month the World Bank released the 2014 edition of its Global Financial Inclusion (Findex) database. Findex provides useful indicators on savings, borrowings, and payments made by people across the world. The data indicate that the global, adult, banked population stood at 62 percent as of 2014 end, but that still leaves a whopping 2 billion folks that still remain un-banked.
Monday, May 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: The Evolving Microfinance Revolution Has Yet to Run Its Full Course

Source: Devex

Forty years ago, before microfinance was called microcredit, before it even had a name, I made $50 loans to 800 Guatemalan farmers in the form of six bags of 12-24-12 fertilizer, which dramatically increased their yields on the plots of maize and beans they cultivated.
Monday, May 4, 2015 — South Asia

CNET Founder Eyes Bitcoin Wallet in India

Source: The Times of India

From having founded the pioneering digital publishing platform CNET, selling it for $1.8 billion to CBS and filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy subsequently, Halsey Minor — an American serial tech entrepreneur from the 1990s dotcom boom era — has seen it all. His next big bet is digital finance, which he describes as the "last frontier of internet", with all other consumer-facing segments having been already tapped.
Friday, May 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

How The Internet of Everything Is Helping 'Unbanked' Citizens Around the World

Source: Huffington Post

In the future, if every device is connected to the Internet, what kind of life will those who are financially excluded have?
Friday, May 1, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: Financial Inclusion in India – Easier Said Than Done

Source: Hindu Business Line

Given the numerous players and rapid churn in financial inclusion technologies, regulators face a challenge
Thursday, April 30, 2015 — South Asia

Without broadband, financial inclusion in India will remain a ‘pipe dream,’ says telecom regulator chairman

Source: Indian Express

Advocating deeper broadband penetration to ensure success of Jan Dhan scheme, telecom regulator TRAI’s chief Rahul Khullar today said financial inclusion will otherwise remain a “pipe dream” and merely opening bank accounts will not serve the purpose.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Inclusion: How Banking Is Coming to India’s Countryside

Source: The Wall Street Journal

One of the ways that Indian Prime Minister Modi is trying to get more Indians into the financial system is by delivering state support straight into bank accounts of those who need it rather than via costly price subsidies.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: MasterCard Fndn. Announces $150,000 Award for the Most Client-Centric Organization Advancing Financial Inclusion

Source: GlobeNewswire

The MasterCard Foundation today announced the opening of its Clients at the Centre Prize competition, a US$150,000 initiative to find and recognize the most customer-focused organization working to enable poor people in developing countries to access formal financial products and services.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: Accion, FMO and Triodos Investment Management Form Consortium to Strengthen Financial Inclusion in Myanmar

Source: Accion

Financial inclusion pioneer Accion, the Dutch development bank FMO, and Triodos Investment Management today announced their plans to invest in and expand Dawn Microfinance, one of the earliest microfinance institutions (MFIs) established in the Republic of Myanmar. The $6.85 million investment is intended to establish the newly incorporated MFI as a premier institution that can serve as a model for the country’s nascent microfinance industry and influence the development of the sector.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 — South Asia

Other Countries Like US, Russia May Soon Follow the Model of India’s Financial Inclusion Drive

Source: The Economic Times

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana programme, the drive launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure at least one member in every household in the country had a bank account, could soon emerge as a worldwide template for achieving rapid financial inclusion.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

Industry Convergence in Financial Services Is Accelerating

Source: TechCrunch

These days everyone wants to create the next Uber for anything, and the word “disruption” is mentioned across boardrooms and management meetings in nearly all industries. But while discussing the true meaning of disruption and which fintech startups are worth keeping an eye on, incumbents are at risk of overlooking players that once were customers and partners that can quickly become new digital competitors.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Microcredit Summit Campaign Joins World Bank's Financial Inclusion Efforts

Source: PRWeb

The Microcredit Summit Campaign joins the World Bank Group and their coalition of partners -- including MasterCard, Visa, Mandiri, the State Bank of India, Equity Bank, and Bandhan -- in making a commitment to accelerate universal financial access; financial access and inclusion are stepping stones to achieving the end of extreme poverty by 2030. The Campaign will work with its reporting institutions to help them expand their outreach by at least 53 million of the world's poorest families, bringing the overall total of the world's poorest families reached by microfinance to 175 million by 2020.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Trumps World Giants in Payment Tech

Source: ITWeb Africa

Africa is ahead of the US in terms of the rate of payments innovation, while Europe is lagging way behind.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — South Asia

A Former New York Investment Banker Takes on Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Forbes

When she left New York five years ago, a former Wall Street investment banker had a plan for a new business in India. Today, that plan has become a growing company tackling financial inclusion in a way few have considered to date, in India’s evolving, highly unique, growth environment.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'Mobile money is not the only option in Sub Saharan Africa'

Source: IT Web Africa

Mobile money platforms may have taken root in Sub Saharan Africa but they are not the only innovation disrupting the financial services sector in the region, with new technology-based finance platforms also seeing rising uptake, experts say.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — South Asia

India accounts for about a fifth of the global population without bank accounts

Source: The Hindu

Recent statistics released by the World Bank highlight not only the strides made by India on the financial inclusion front, but also the challenges ahead.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Somalia's Premier Bank to bring ATMs, debit cards to Mogadishu

Source: Reuters

Somalia's Premier Bank has struck a deal with Mastercard and will issue debit cards and install ATM machines in the capital of the war-ravaged country, the Islamic lender's top executive said on Wednesday.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — South Asia

Nepal commits to modernize economy through digital payments

Source: Enterprise Innovation

Nepal recently announced an ambitious commitment to modernize its economy through digital payments, which include joining the Better Than Cash Alliance to foster inclusive growth and transparency.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IFC, MasterCard in $250M Risk Sharing Pact to Drive Financial Inclusion

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and MasterCard have signed an agreement to establish a risk-sharing facility, which is expected to provide millions of people in emerging markets access to electronic payments, a crucial next step in their ongoing collaboration to increase universal financial access by 2020.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN & Vodafone Interconnect Their Mobile Money Services

Source: CNBC Africa

In a move focused at deepening financial inclusion in East Africa, MTN and Vodafone have agreed to intersect their mobile money services.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — South Asia

Report: India's Microfinance Sector Poised to Grow Robustly in Next Five Years

Source: VCCircle

The microfinance sector, which is seen as a vehicle of financial inclusion, has seen a boom over the past year as government has laid more emphasis on financial inclusion. The sector is expected to grow robustly in the next few years as large players consolidate their position in their market.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Visa's Plan to Connect 500M to Financial Mainstream

Source: PYMNTS

Visa’s CEO Charles Scharf has got a plan to connect half a billion additional consumers to the financial mainstream in the next five years.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

MasterCard to Collaborate With the Alliance for Financial Inclusion

Source: Finextra

Today, MasterCard and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) signed a strategic partnership agreement that will enable a close collaboration within AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue Platform (PPD).
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bamboo Finance Announces the First Close of Financial Inclusion Fund II

Source: Insurance News Net

Bamboo Finance, a private equity firm specializing in investing in business models that benefit low-income communities in growth markets, today announced the first close of $31 million in its second financial inclusion focused fund with investments from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA-CREF) and AXA-IM.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Gender Gap Persists for Bank-Account Holders

Source: The Wall Street Journal

A persistent gap between the portion of men and women who have bank accounts is confounding experts despite huge leaps in access to banking services and the financial system globally.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

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

Source: The World Bank

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

The Slow Global Spread of Savings Accounts

Source: The New Yorker

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

Why Ethiopian Financial Services Industry Is Slow on Mobile Banking

Source: AFKInsider

Ethiopia’s heavily regulated financial service sector is one of the least developed on sub-Saharan Africa with over 80 million people from a population of 94 million still unbanked, despite the rapid economic growth the horn of Africa nation has experienced over the last decade.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

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

Source: Reuters

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

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

Source: Leadership

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

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


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

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

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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

Study: Only 2.8 Percent of Nigerian Adults Have Microfinance Accounts

Source: National Mirror

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

Financial Planning Lessons From Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Source: Livemint

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

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

Source: MediaNama

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

Driving Financial Inclusion at 4G Speed

Source: The Huffington Post

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

Saving Lives By Making Malaria Drugs More Affordable

Source: Medical Xpress

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

Could Your Facebook Profile Get You a Mortgage?

Source: Co.Exist

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