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.
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."
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.
Supporting Women-led Businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa During COVID-19: Strategies to Survive and Thrive
Women-led businesses in Africa face many obstacles, from limited access to finance and networks, to social and legal constraints – and COVID-19 has only added to that burden. In response, Nathalie Gogue Ebo and Angela Kerubo at Open Capital argue that governments, financiers and other players need to apply a gender lens approach when designing COVID-19 support for these enterprises.
The top 1,000 U.S. foundations alone have over $31 billion in cash deposits – and according to Catherine Berman at CNote, that money could be used to amplify their impact. She argues that foundations could drive massive change – and advance their missions – by moving these funds out of traditional accounts and into community development financial institutions and credit unions.
Designing for Women: How COVID-19 Could Allow Government Payment Programs to Boost Women’s Economic Empowerment
Governments around the world are deploying government-to-person programs to address the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. But as Amanda Schwartz at IDEO.org points out, unless these programs are designed around women’s unique needs, they could exacerbate gender inequality and financial exclusion. She explores how a gender inclusive approach could "make the single biggest push for women’s economic empowerment that the world has ever seen."
Extending Insurance in Times of Crisis: How an Innovative Partnership is Serving Low-Income Micro-Business Owners in Indonesia
During a crisis like COVID-19, insurance can offer businesses in developed countries some degree of resilience. However, entrepreneurs in emerging markets often lack the access or awareness to take advantage of this protection. Carlie Joselowitz at N-Frnds discusses the challenges of delivering insurance to these small businesses – and an innovative partnership that aims to solve them.
Missed Calls = Missed Opportunities: How Starlogik is Converting a Mobile Billing Loophole into an Inclusive Innovation
The mobile telephony industry has done a remarkable job reaching poorer people in developing countries. But as Ignacio Mas at the Digital Frontiers Institute points out, this success has been shaped by customer ingenuity too – for instance, through the common practice of reallocating call charges by requesting call-backs via missed calls. He explores how Starlogik has formalized this billing loophole to create a mutually beneficial new feature.