Shifting from Financial Inclusion to Financial Health: Strategic Focus Areas for Providers and Other Stakeholders
In the past decade, 1.2 billion people around the world have obtained a financial account. But according to Nishant Kumar and Sonal Agrawal at Lakshya, this growing financial inclusion isn't leading to similar gains in financial health – and addressing this challenge will require stakeholders to boost engagement on the demand side rather than just maximizing supply-side efficiency. They propose three key strategic focus areas for improving global financial health, and explore how they differ from the approaches taken to boost financial inclusion.
A Business Opportunity With Exponential Benefits: Linking Agriculture and Energy To Improve Livelihoods in Africa
Agriculture contributes around 23% of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, and energy access can help drive agricultural development. However, Scarlett Santana at RMI points out that the region has few businesses enabling productive energy uses in agriculture, and the lack of electricity for mechanization is limiting growth in rural communities. She explores the opportunities that exist for agribusinesses that link their investment and other business decisions to energy considerations – and for energy businesses that link their efforts to agriculture.
When it comes to blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin seem to dominate the headlines, whereas blockchain itself – cryptocurrencies’ underlying technology – often gets overlooked. But according to Raj Jain at the Social Finance Fund, blockchain may actually have a more compelling future than cryptocurrency – and the technology is flourishing in a variety of different spaces, including the social impact sector. He highlights three organizations that are putting blockchain to innovative use in social impact.
Digital Finance for Climate Resilience: An Urgent Opportunity for Startups and Stakeholders in Emerging Markets
The consequences of climate change are no longer hypothetical scenarios or predictions – they are a global reality, and they’re getting worse, especially for the poor and vulnerable. But according to Malika Anand at BFA Global's Catalyst Fund, this crisis presents an opportunity for digital finance to power greater climate resilience. She explores several types of climate resilience solutions, and shares a framework to help both digital finance and climate stakeholders begin allocating more resources toward these solutions in emerging markets.
Charting a Pathway to Scale Through Government: Adapting a Girls’ Empowerment Program to a Public School Setting
BRAC’s Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) program supports vulnerable young women through group training focused on education and social/economic empowerment. But despite its longevity and impact, the program has lacked a path to self-sufficiency and scale. Esau Tugume and Jenna Grzeslo at BRAC discuss a solution to this challenge: adapting ELA to an after-school setting in Uganda, allowing it to be scaled through public schools. They explore this model, and share how they've navigated the issues that can arise when leveraging government involvement in pursuit of scale.