Category Archives: Savings

Mobile Money in South Africa: The nature of the beast by Flo Mosoane

The 2015 State Of The Industry Report (SOTIR) for Mobile Money published by GSMA, reveals a picture of a service that continues to change the landscape of financial inclusion in developing and poor countries across the globe. In December of 2015, the industry processed transactions in excess of a billion, most of which were in […]

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Lessons for Formal Finance from Informal financial services

  On one of my many field explorations on rural financial services,  I found out, that for one mama biashara, as soon as payment checks in, she withdraws all her funds from her local coffee SACCO account, and spreads it out via micro-deposits across her more than 5 local informal savings groups (from right to […]

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3 Myths of Financial Inclusion

This article has been co-authored with Michael Kimani @pesa_africa Banking the unbanked is very popular right now, as financial inclusion is seen as a key milestone on the path to development. In parallel, a plethora of “cashless” or “cash lite” solutions have begun permeating the cash intensive informal economy. These can be broadly described as […]

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Creative ways to financial inclusion, inspired by observing practice

Needless to say, mobile money has been a wild success in scaling an expansive agent network for converting cash to e-money and enabling person to person money transfer. Speaking at a recent conference, John Staley, Chief Officer – Finance, Innovation and Technology at Equity Bank had this to say: “We should move the conversation from […]

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The importance of the agent/customer relationship for successful financial inclusion

The role of agent networks in East Africa’s mobile money and mobile banking roll-outs is widely documented; as an intermediary, a kiosk exchange point – accepting deposits for e-money/ withdrawals for cash and usajili (registration). “. . .as the first point of contact, human agents help bridge the gap between a high-tech service and low-literacy […]

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How social networks can share the cost of technology – An innovative payment plan

The original Prepaid Economy project grant from the iBoP Asia Project required me to design a payment plan for a shared community asset based on the exploratory user research on households managed their finances on irregular and unpredictable incomes. For the first time since I started looking into this space back in 2008 I’ve come […]

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Role of Chamas in informal sector entrepreneurialism in Kenya

Researcher Mary Njeri Kinyanjui shares deep insights from Kenya on how social cooperation and collaboration play an important role in the informal entrepreneur’s business financing strategy. In East Africa, particularly in Kenya, the formation of chama—a Kiswahili word for social group—has helped to enhance group agency and solidarity entrepreneurialism. Individuals collectively and cooperatively form a […]

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Human centered design for financial inclusion: Lessons from fieldwork in rural India, The Phillipines and Kenya

Introduction Financial inclusion has become mainstream thinking in economic development. The vast majority of the unbanked live in the developing world, and a significant proportion of this population are rural residents. One can easily surmise, without recourse to statistics, that the bulk of the target audience for institutions seeking to offer them affordable and accessible […]

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Sharing insights on the ROI of cow ownership with The Economist et al

Dung cakes provide free fuel for the rural housewife (photo credit: Goverdhan Meena) While the internal rate of return (IRR) of a cow may certainly be in the high negative numbers, per the recent Economist note on research, there are other elements of the cost/benefit analysis that also need to be taken into account when […]

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The Role of Livestock Data in Rural Africa: The Tanzanian Case Study

The World Bank finally notices the humble goat, four of which will buy you a new Nokia featurephone in Malawi. Funded by Bill and Melinda, this report takes a closer look at the domesticated animal as a financial instrument and investment vehicle. Here’s a snippet with some points I’ve made bold: Some of the most […]

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