Category Archives: Banking

Primer on African Fintech: Myths, Misconceptions, Opportunities, Hotspots and Roadblocks

As we prepare to start work for our third African fintech client, I thought it was time to quickly and briefly introduce the opportunity space and clear up some misunderstandings around fintech in Africa. The first point is the common confusion between Fintech and financial inclusion. Investopedia’s definition of Fintech says financial inclusion, that is, […]

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Why is the Kenyan mobile loan industry facing just a digital version of India’s MFI problems?

When you make fast, easy, short term loans available on the phone to anyone with a need for quick money, why is it a surprise when high levels of consumer debt are the result? A recent survey by financial inclusion giants like FSD and CGAP discovers that low income Kenyans have not been helped by […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Kenya, Loans, Mobile platform, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Strategy, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

How informal financial services can lower the barriers to formal financial inclusion

Around 2 and a half years ago, I was on a short visit to Abidjan, the capital of Cote D’Ivoire as a guest of the African Development Bank. They were holding an innovation weekend for young women and men in the Francophone West African region who were interested in becoming entrepreneurs. David O. Capo Chichi, […]

Also posted in Africa, Afrique francophone, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Flexibility, Income, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Mama Biashara, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Retail in Africa, Savings, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, UEMOA | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Formalization is no panacea for micro-entrepreneurs, a liminal space is necessary for growth

Yesterday, my bank sent back a client’s payment though I’d presented the invoice and other paperwork. I’m a registered micro-business in the highly formal economy of Finland, and the bank I’ve been with since 2009 has upped their internal regulations after a spate of bad publicity surrounding the Panama papers. I’ve been caught in the […]

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2017 is the Year Mobile Service Operators Became Banks

South African business headlines read MTN takes on Vodacom for title of Africa’s biggest digital bank and usher in a whole new era for banking and finance on the mobile platform. Having watched this space impatiently for more than a decade, seeing this was a landmark worth noting. The number of mobile-money customers in the […]

Also posted in Africa, Airtime, Alternative currency, ASEAN, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Collection, Design, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Marchés africains, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Savings Groups : Observations on Economic Cooperation and Collaboration in Rural and Informal Conditions

Recently, I was interviewed on communal rural economic behaviour, particularly socially cooperative ones  such as informal savings and lending groups. The questions posed were: How has your opinion of savings group changed over time? Why in your opinion, are people in Africa and Latin America countries (developing countries) predisposed to forming savings groups? What is […]

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Financial Behaviour Patterns Observed Among Households in Rural Informal Economy in Asia

This is the original working paper of the research conducted on rural household financial management, in developing country conditions, pioneering the use of methods from human centered design for discovery, during Nov 2008 to March 2009, aka the Prepaid Economy Project. It was peer reviewed by Brett Hudson Matthews, and I have incorporated his comments into […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Airtime, Alternative currency, Analysis, ASEAN, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, global, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Livestock, Marchés africains, Marketing, Migrant worker, Mobile platform, Philipines, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Projects and Reports, Research, Retail in Africa, Risk, rural, Rural Economy, Savings, Scarcity, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unforeseen outcomes of India’s demonetization shine light on the value of our design philosophy

Latest news on India’s demonetization informs us how the rural economy is bearing the brunt of this initiative. The action was intended to target wealthy tax evaders and end India’s “shadow economy”, but it has also exposed the dependency of poor farmers and small businesses on informal credit systems in a country where half the […]

Also posted in Analysis, Assumption filter, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Frameworks, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Research, Rural Economy, South Asia, Strategy, Systems, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Insights on the psychology of cash money – Demonetization vs Financial Inclusion

The flurry of commentary on the Great Indian Demonetization of November 2016 has thrown up some nuggets of insight worth considering more deeply. Santosh Desai explores the psychology of cash money in the Times of India blog, linking the need for tangible evidence of income to physical labour, as opposed to those of us with […]

Also posted in Alternative currency, Base of the Pyramid, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Mobile platform, Perspective, Risk, Savings, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An economy of trust

Cash on credit is the caption given to this cartoon by the BBC. Neighbourhood groceries are offering their regular customers cash advances in addition to bread and milk. While the media is filled with a plethora of stories of heartbreak, my own suspicion is that we’ll discover the resilience of the cash intensive informal sector […]

Also posted in Alternative currency, Base of the Pyramid, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Economy, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Perspective, Research, Risk, Systems, Value | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment