Despite advances in digital technology, cash has remained the undisputed king of payments in sub-Saharan Africa. However, as Michaella Allen and Christine Hougaard at Cenfri explain, COVID-19 has placed a stigma on cash and led governments across the region to actively encourage digital payments. They explore the implications of this shift, and whether it could make central bank digital currencies a viable alternative.
A Vaccine Is Not the Only Answer to COVID-19: Why Strengthening Statistical and Data Systems Must Be Part of the Solution
The COVID-19 pandemic has been financially devastating, tightening budgets around the world. But Deirdre Appel and Shaida Badiee at Open Data Watch caution governments and development organizations against defunding the systems that provide accurate, real-time data. They explore why strong data systems are essential – not only to fighting the virus, but to responding to future needs and crises.
Innovating on the Pay for Success Model: How ‘Social Derivatives’ Can Unlock Everyday Giving to Incentivize Greater Impact
Pay-for-success models have generated considerable excitement in the social finance sector. But according to Akhil Pawar and Geet Kalra at Yunus Social Business, the approach presents several challenges, mainly around the question of who will pay, and how to ensure an economical structure. They share a potential solution that leverages retail giving, substituting large donors with small ones by using "social derivatives."
The Impact of COVID-19 as Seen in Solar Payment Data – and How One Off-Grid Energy Company is Responding
Since COVID-19 began, the energy company Bboxx has been monitoring payment trends among its 250,000+ pay-as-you-go solar customers in 12 emerging markets. Analysts at Bboxx assess the data from four African countries, exploring what it says about the pandemic's impact on solar electricity users – and about how to support these customers during the crisis.
Africa’s COVID-19 Moment: How Youth Startups Are Addressing the Pandemic – And What They Need to Reach the Next Level
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to a young and increasingly entrepreneurial population. As Ahunna Eziakonwa at UNDP and Eleni Gabre-Madhin at blueMoon explain, many youth-led African startups are repurposing their businesses or launching new operations to address COVID-19. They profile some of these young innovators, and lay out four ways the global development community can support them.