Articles by Jacob Winiecki
Over 1 billion people lack reliable access to essential services like sanitation, potable water and electricity - and reaching them remains a stubborn challenge. But as Jacob Winiecki and Malika Anand at BFA point out, the financial inclusion industry has learned a lot about how to serve low-income customers in remote communities. They share four key lessons in this thought-provoking article.
Off-grid solar delivers essential energy to millions of people, helping make households, business and institutions more resilient to the COVID-19 crisis. But as analysts at BFA, CGAP and GOGLA explain, the pandemic threatens the industry, particularly its very successful pay-as-you-go business model. They explore how companies could enable customers to continue using their solar home systems during the pandemic, with reduced – or even without – customer payments.
Machine learning is an exciting technology with plenty of potential applications in social impact business. But as Jacob Winiecki at BFA points out, the hype around the approach may make it tempting to jump in without first determining if it's the right tool for the job. He offers a clear run-down of how machine learning actually works in practice, along with three concrete steps for how a PAYGo enterprise can implement the technology, based on the work BFA’s FIBR Project has done with ZOLA, a leading PAYGo solar operator in Africa.
With over 1 million units installed in the past four years, the PAYGo financing model is already unlocking significant growth for the off-grid solar industry. But the sector also faces formidable challenges. FIBR, a project by BFA in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, is exploring ways PAYGo solar can leverage data to make better point-of-sale decisions, customize product offerings, engage and retain agent networks, inform future follow-on products, and build linkages with other financial service providers.