The cost of using financial services is a key barrier to their adoption and use in low- and middle-income countries — and when it comes to mobile money transactions via M-Pesa in Kenya, those costs are greater for women, according to a recent study. Bryan Pon at Caribou Data shares details about the study's findings, and explains how understanding these gender differences could illuminate some of the obstacles women face when using digital financial services – and help inform policy or system design approaches that could address these challenges.
Winning the Low-Income Market: Assessing the State of Product Development in the Nigerian Financial Service Industry
Nigeria's financial inclusion goals have gone unmet, and the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress even further. Olayinka David-West and Ibukun Taiwo of the Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services initiative of the Lagos Business School share the results of their 2020 study on the state of the Nigerian market, exploring the product development practices of the country's financial service providers – and how they could be improved.
In the Race for Dominance in African Fintech, Partnerships With Phone Makers Are Transforming the Landscape
Corporate partnerships and acquisitions have proliferated in Africa's fintech sector in recent years, as companies fight for dominance in the growing digital payment space. Digital economy analyst Jill Lagos Shemin highlights an emerging element of this trend: alliances between mobile phone makers and payment providers and telecom operators. She explores how these partnerships can boost customer access to smartphones and digital credit, while expanding Africa's digital finance ecosystem and building tech players' footprint in this sought-after market.
Majority of ASEAN Region Fintech Firms Are Planning to Raise Additional Funds While Expanding Operations in 2021: Report
Four in five or 80% of Fintech companies in the ASEAN region are focused on expanding their operations following the COVID-19 outbreak. ASEAN member countries include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
- South Asia
Data + Digitization: The Key To Helping African Banks and Microfinance Institutions Support Their Customers During COVID-19
Thanks to COVID-19, the IMF projects 2020 to be the worst year for Africa's economic growth since its record-keeping began in 1970. And concerns are also mounting about the likelihood of an increase in non-performing loans, which will impact businesses, industries and individuals across the continent. Cate Rung at Pngme explores how financial technology – including a unified data API platform – can help banks and microfinance institutions weather this crisis, while delivering services that comply with social distancing measures.
A Phone Can Only Do So Much: Why Mobile Access Isn’t Leading To Digital Financial Service Usage Among Women in India
India has made significant progress in financial inclusion in recent years. However low-income working women are not benefiting from this momentum, even when they receive their wages digitally. To better understand why, BSR’s HERproject and MSC have researched the financial behaviors of female garment workers in India. Akhand Tiwari at MSC and James Steady at BSR explore the results, and discuss how the financial inclusion sector should respond.
Specifically, lower-income groups in developing countries and emerging economies face not only the prospect of abject poverty in many cases but also the likelihood that their financial systems may not be sufficiently robust to help them through these dark times.
- Asia Pacific
Enabling Ecosystems: How To Boost Fintech Innovation and Financial Inclusion During and After COVID-19
Lockdowns in response to COVID-19 have rapidly accelerated digitalization worldwide, particularly in finance. But as analysts from the University of New South Wales, the University of Luxembourg, the University of Hong Kong and GIZ point out, ensuring the safe and inclusive development of digital finance is a major challenge. They explore why an ecosystem-based strategy could be the answer.