Guest Articles

December 23

NextBillion Editor

The Most Popular Posts of 2015: Which One Most Influenced You?


The end-of-the-year listicle has gone from something to be loved to something to be reviled back to something to be … well, we don’t exactly know how to feel about listicles these days.

But one thing we do know – a good argument, good research, good real-world impact and a good narrative that brings everything home – that will never go out of fashion.

Our most popular posts on NextBillion in 2015 managed to find that balance. For the fourth year in a row, we’re launching our Most Influential Post of the Year Contest. Think of it as a listicle that you control. Below are the 12 most viewed articles on NB by month. Please read or re-read them and then vote for your favorite(s). You may vote up to a dozen times using the survey widget at the bottom of the page.

One note on this year’s contest: We will not be posting the results until after all the voting is complete, Jan. 4. We’re doing this because in years past we’ve seen a blog post or two take off in the early voting results. This has resulted in fewer overall votes, as many readers don’t bother to cast a ballot when the odds seem mathematically stacked against their favorite.

Thank you to all of our hundreds of contributors in 2015. Here’s wishing everyone a happy and productive 2016, when we will resume our regular publishing schedule.


The Most popular posts of 2015


Financial Inclusion Trends and Innovators Already Lighting Up 2015: The most exciting technologies and startups in inclusive finance this year by Vikas Raj, director of Investments at Accion Venture Lab.


NexThought Monday – Calling All Failures: Failing is a big part of social entrepreneurship, by Leticia Gasca, co-founder and director of the Failure Institute and FuckUp Nights


10 Takeaways from the World Bank Forum on Microcredit’s (lack of) Social Impact: The key discussions, debates and controversies as the sector contemplates its future by James Militzer, editor of NextBillion Financial Innovation.


Mobile Money Without Borders: How a new model is transforming the remittance landscape in West Africa BY Claire Scharwatt, the Market Engagement Senior Manager, and Chris Williamson Mobile Money Services Senior Manager at the GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked program.


NexThought Monday: Too Good to be True?: Is the Global Findex survey overstating growth in financial inclusion? by Daniel Rozas, independent microfinance consultant and co-founder of the MIMOSA project; and David Roodmana development economist assisting in the MIMOSA project.



Six Questions for Microfinance’s Biggest ’Haters’: Why it’s time for the sector to shake off its critics by Maria May, senior program manager for the BRAC Social Innovation Lab


The Female Factor: Why enrolling more women as mobile money agents can benefit service providers, customers – and the agents themselves by Matthew Strickland, mobile technology programme manager at the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women


It Takes a Village to Build a Business: Lessons learned from a fintech accelerator in Mexico by Jackie Hyland, a senior investment analyst with Accion Venture Lab


NexThought Monday – Does Anti-Poverty Work Actually … Work?: Three questions every ‘pro-poor’ group needs to ask themselves by Chris Dunford and Carmen Velasco, co-chairs of the Truelift Steering Committee


The State of Assessment: Why the ‘assess or not’ debate continues and how we can move beyond it (Part 1 of 2) by Heather Esper and Yaquta Kanchwala Fatehi, with the William Davidson Institute


NexThought Monday: Mobile-izing Savings with Defaults in Afghanistan by Michael Callen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and an affiliate of the Evidence for Policy Design Initiative; Joshua Blumenstock, an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Information School; and Tarek Ghani, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs


Youth Jobs 2.0: Five Powerful Ways to Harness Digital Technology to Curb Youth Unemployment by Marcus Haymon, a project manager at Dalberg Global Development Advisors and co-deputy of the firm’s education to employment practice; and Rachna Saxena, a senior project manager at Dalberg.


Agriculture, Education, Energy, Environment, Health Care, Impact Assessment, Investing, Social Enterprise, Technology
Base of the Pyramid, financial inclusion, impact investing, impact measurement, microfinance