Articles by David Porteous
Revisiting our Assumptions About Digital Financial Inclusion: Three Unexpected Findings from BFA’s FIBR Project
When BFA launched its FIBR (Financial Inclusion on Business Runways) R&D project four years ago, it outlined a set of assumptions about how smartphones, increased connectivity and digitization would help to accelerate financial inclusion for small businesses in Africa. As the project wraps up, BFA Founder and Chair David Porteous explores which of those assumptions still hold – and which need to be reassessed as unanticipated developments have reshaped the market.
With their big brands, big budgets and big data, superplatforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba already know more about most banks’ customers than the banks themselves. As these internet giants make increasing inroads into financial services, what are the implications for low-income customers – and their existing providers? David Porteous of BFA and Olga Morawcynski of MasterCard Foundation explore how these platforms are reshaping the face of financial inclusion around the world.
Perhaps surprisingly, young people in sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income countries haven't embraced digital payments to the extent of their older peers. But that may be changing as "superplatforms" like Alibaba and Facebook – which can leverage their data and tech capabilities over multiple sectors – emerge in the region. David Porteous and Amolo Ng’weno of BFA and Olga Morawcynski of Mastercard Foundation discuss four ways these tech platforms will shape youth employment, financial inclusion, digital identity and other fields.
In 2016, some US$18 trillion changed hands via non-bank digital payment transactions in China – a value larger than its GDP. Meanwhile, though its population is roughly the same, India's digital finance industry has lagged far behind. But thanks to new digital infrastructure and evolving regulations, this situation is changing fast. Like the tortoise in Aesop’s fable, will India catch up with China, which has bounded ahead at hare-like speed? David Porteous at the Digital Frontiers Institute explores the two countries' approaches and their implications for other emerging markets.
Why Alternative Lending Struggles to Scale in Emerging Markets – And What Fintech Companies Can Do About It
Fintech models have proliferated in most developing countries, but alternative lending has struggled to gain scale. That's why FIBR, a project by consulting firm BFA in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, is bringing together fintechs and banks to use networks of small businesses – shops, clinics and even local schools – to deliver digital financial services to low-income customers.