Ensuring That Women’s Financial Access Is Not Another Casualty of COVID-19: The Value of Agent Banking
As COVID-19 continues to ravage global economies, the existing gender-poverty gap is set to widen: UN Women projects that for every 100 men aged 25-34 in extreme poverty due to the pandemic, 118 women of the same age will be living in extreme poverty this year. Peris Mburu at FSD Africa explores why agent banking is a promising solution to this growing challenge – and how its benefits can extend beyond access to finance.
Financial Inclusion During – and After – COVID-19: Three Takeaways From a (Very Different) European Microfinance Week 2020
The 2020 European Microfinance Week encapsulated much about the financial inclusion sector – the good, the bad and the simply confusing – as it navigated the historic challenges of the past year. Sam Mendelson at e-MFP shares three broad takeaways from the event, representing three key priorities for the inclusive finance industry as it seeks to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis – without overlooking other essential priorities.
2020 MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTICLE CANDIDATE: Taking Cold Chains Off-Grid: How Solar Powered Cold Rooms Could Dramatically Reduce Food Waste in Sub-Saharan Africa
In sub-Saharan Africa, up to 50% of produce perishes before reaching end customers, largely due to a lack of viable cold chain solutions. Maria Knodt at Energy 4 Impact and Ruth Kimani at CLASP explore how solar-powered cold rooms can address this issue, and highlight some significant technical and business model challenges that could undermine their impact.
2020 MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTICLE CANDIDATE: Businesses Behaving Badly: The Troubling Parallels Between Microfinance and Facebook
Chuck Waterfield left microfinance five years ago, after working in the sector for three decades. He stopped using Facebook three years ago, after using the platform for about 10 years. As he explains, he left them both for a similar reason: Their business models have grown increasingly problematic over time – and without external intervention, things are likely to get worse.
2020 MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTICLE CANDIDATE: Insurance in the Age of COVID-19: The Pandemic Highlights the Need for a New Approach
With much of the world on lockdown due to COVID-19, many businesses are closing down – either temporarily or permanently – with devastating effects on individual welfare and entire economies. This has amplified the importance of insurance, says Kate Rinehart-Smit at Cenfri. She explores how the sector can make a greater impact – not only on the resilience of businesses and individuals, but on broader economic development.
2020 MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTICLE CANDIDATE: Liquidity Before Solvency: A Guide for Microfinance Investors in the Time of COVID-19
Among microfinance investors, there's growing concern that the COVID-19 pandemic will push providers toward insolvency, with fewer loans and shrinking portfolios leading MFIs to default on their debt. But Daniel Rozas at e-MFP argues that in a crisis, preserving MFIs’ liquidity must take precedence over maintaining their solvency. To that end, he urges investors to commit to a six-month moratorium on debt repayments from MFIs.
2020 MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTICLE CANDIDATE: When Inclusion is Not Inclusive: What Needs to Change to Achieve Meaningful Financial Inclusion for Women
India has achieved impressive growth in women's financial inclusion — recent statistics show that 79% of the country's women are financially included. But according to analysts at MSC, there are troubling questions about whether these women are truly benefiting from their newfound financial access. They discuss why financial inclusion often fails to impact female customers, and how viewing financial services for women through the lens of gender centrality could help.
The global increase in internet access has led to an explosion in digital data, with 33 zettabytes produced in 2018 alone – a number predicted to increase to 175 zettabytes by 2025 (1 zettabyte is 1 trillion gigabytes). Meanwhile, the advent of machine learning and the Internet of Things has changed the way businesses process this information. Analysts at MicroSave (MSC) explore how fintechs can leverage this new data and analytics technology to obtain a competitive edge – and to benefit their customers.