Category Archives: Savings

Mobile Money and the Informal Economy: A Paradigm Change

One of the most powerful pieces of data analysis I have come across recently has been the Banque de France’s working paper on the role of financial innovation in the informal economy. In my opinion, the importance of their conclusions are no less than the famous “price of fish” paper of a decade ago – […]

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Rural Household Financial Management on Irregular Incomes

While all farms are not alike, and scale and variety and geography differs, the pattern of household financial management holds its fundamental logic across continents. As we saw previously, an experienced farmer tends to fall somewhere in between a salaried employee and an odd job labourer in their ability to predict with any reasonable degree […]

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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, […]

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A Unique Path to Development Seen for the Informal Economy

Just recently I stumbled over this slim book < 60 pages that analyzed existing data sources in order to frame an answer to the research question they posed: How did the informal economy―markets and the private sector―develop in the absence of legal and administrative frameworks to support it? Some of the most intriguing insights extracted […]

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Work in Progress: An Introduction to the Informal Economy’s Commercial Environment

This topic is being shared in the form of a collection of essays on the following themes, each becoming hyperlinked on completion. Do bookmark this page for regular updates. Introduction to Background and Context, some caveats apply Fundamental Elements of Informal Sector Commercial Activity Rural household financial management as a foundation Linkages and Networks span […]

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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 […]

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Bridging East Africa’ formal – informal financial services divide

Kenya’s formal inclusion looks pretty, the financial inclusion industry has been has been great at talking up its achievements over the past 10 years. Here, 75.3% of Kenyans are now formally included, a 50.3% increase from 19 years ago. Official statistics on mobile phone penetration is up to 80.5% of the population and there is general […]

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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 […]

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Analysis of the mobile phone’s impact on cash flows and transactions in the informal sector

As we saw, Mrs Chimphamba needs to juggle time and money as part of her household financial management in order to ensure that expenses can be met by income. We also saw that the mobile phone was made viable and feasible by the availability of the prepaid business model that gave her full control over […]

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