Transactions Want to Be Free

Pablo García Arabéhéty
21 Jul 2017

“Information wants to be free.” This was the powerful motto that made hacker culture mainstream in 1984. Then the internet happened. What if, as with information, transactions want to be free? Could we expect a new internet-like moment for retail financial services if everyday users were given the ability to move money instantly across providers for free? Let’s entertain this idea for a moment. What would it take to accomplish? […]

What Keeps People from Paying with Their Phones?

Michiel Wolvers and Daniel Waldron
21 Jul 2017

Ever since M-Pesa caught the world’s attention in 2007, East Africa has been ground central for companies offering services that can be paid for using mobile money to the bottom of the pyramid. Pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar providers have reached upwards of 800,000 households in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda — markets where customers are able to repay the loans for their solar devices through mobile money. But what happens when PAYGo […]

Financial Inclusion Prominently Featured at the G20 Summit in Hamburg

21 Jul 2017

G20 Leaders have acknowledged the importance of financial inclusion as multiplier for poverty eradication, job creation, gender equality and women’s empowerment and expressed support of the work of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI). In their Communiqué, G20 Leaders explicitly welcomed the updated G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan and the ongoing work on improved access to financing to help SMEs to integrate into sustainable and inclusive global supply chains. […]

Digital Finance Partners Meeting – Banking at a Crossroads

IFC Financial Institutions Group
21 Jul 2017

IFC’s Digital Finance Partners Meeting 2017 brought together over 150 senior-level executives from leading financial institutions, technology companies and FinTech firms from around the globe.  The meeting was hosted by IFC’s Financial Institutions Group and provided a platform for Singaporean, global and regional leaders to share experiences, meet influential and innovative “distruptors” who are redefining financial services today, and discuss challenges, opportunities and solutions in the digital financial industry. We […]

BEFIT International Financial Inclusion Summit took place in Thimphu, Bhutan on May 24-26

Sabahat Iqbal
26 Jun 2017

Last month, the government of Bhutan hosted the Bhutan Economic Forum for Innovative Transformation (BEFIT), which brought together a range of experts to discuss innovative solutions that can lead to the betterment of Bhutan’s 800,000 people. The challenge of improving access to finance for the underbanked in Bhutan was the inaugural topic for the biennial summit.  Co-hosted by the Royal Monetary Authority and the IFC, the summit brought together key […]

Policy-makers Fostering Microinsurance Development in Asia

Munich Re Foundation
19 Jun 2017

Public-private dialogue paving the way for inclusive insurance markets The second Inclusive Insurance Asia Public Private Dialogue (PPD) and Learning Sessions closed on 16 March 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Around 70 attendees from 10 countries, including high level representatives from the insurance industry and regulatory authorities of the six MEFIN-member countries (Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam), discussed market development strategies to improve access to insurance. A rapidly growing […]

Start-ups Can Push Middle East Economies into the 21st Century

Andrew Raven
19 Jun 2017

When Syria native Ronaldo Mouchawar and four friends decided to launch a small auction website in 2005, the effort seemed futile. Only 10 percent of the people in the Middle East and North Africa were online. Internet shopping was almost nonexistent. But Mouchawar, who was based in Dubai, believed the Internet could transform the region, which is home to more than 300 million people. “There was a massive need for […]

Higher Income for Small Farmers in Africa

19 Jun 2017

Over 70 per cent of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. For that reason, measures to help small farmers to achieve higher incomes are particular important for economic development in Africa. The Farmer Business Schools (FBS) aim to teach farmers business skills. Since 2010, over 800,000 small farmers in Africa have undergone training in a broad range of business topics, including financial management, loans, saving, […]

Protecting Consumers in the Digital Currency Economy

Kyle Burgess
19 Jun 2017
Image Credit- FamZoo Staff. No alterations made. CC BY-SA 2.0

Digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain protocol, introduce a technical platform for a new global payment infrastructure that has the potential to level the playing field for the 2.5 billion people across the globe who are unbanked or underbanked. The immutable and distributed nature of digital currencies and a number of the platforms built on top of blockchain protocols can provide improved security, efficiency, affordability, privacy, and […]

Mobile-based Islamic Microloans: Benefits Beyond Shariah Compliance to Deepen Financial Inclusion Across Faiths

Abdigani Diriye, Jonathan Lenchner, Katherine Tryon
19 Jun 2017

Digital credit products like M-Shwari, KCB M-Pesa, Equitel’s Eazzy Loan, Tala and Branch have been extremely successful at providing access to credit for millions of people in East Africa. The convenience, reach, and efficiency of these lending products has resulted in the financial inclusion of a large percentage of people who have traditionally not had access to financial services. The products are accessed either through an app or USSD. Credit […]