Digital financial services go rural
Mobile Money for the Poor and MicroLead, two flagship global thematic initiatives at UN Capital Development Fund, are hosting a joint learning event in Uganda in February 2015. Partners will be exposed to expertise in agent network management, savings group linkages, smallholder farmer initiatives and mobile network operator perspectives, as well as have the opportunity to share and learn from each other. The funders—the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation and the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) Myanmar—are committed to sharing knowledge and learning for and with partners of the programmes.
The main objectives of the workshop are to expose participants to cutting edge initiatives in branchless banking, which will allow financial service providers to reach deeper into rural areas, to create/solidify the foundations of a community of practice amongst the programmes’ stakeholders, and to share and learn.
The themes/topics selected for this workshop reflect the ultimate goal of delivering services and products, particularly deposit services, adapted to low-income people in rural areas.
By the close of the workshop, partners and practitioners will have reflected on the local challenges faced when developing agent networks in rural areas and how to overcome those challenges based on the experience of their peers or exchanges with their peers. They will be equipped to set up clear and efficient partnerships and to amend and/or create new policies enabling the development of the digital financial ecosystem in their respective countries.
Follow the event on www.dfsgorural.com
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is a global programme supported by UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, managed from UNCDF Brussels. The programme provides support to branchless and mobile financial services in a select group of least developed countries (LDCs) to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low-income people in LDCs.
MicroLead is a UNCDF global programme initiated in 2008 to meet the challenges of providing deposit services to low-income rural people who are currently un- or under-banked in order to enhance their capacities to weather shocks, smooth income streams, and save the future. With the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation and the LIFT Fund in Myanmar, MicroLead is working with a variety of FSPs and TSPs to reach rural markets with demand-driven, responsibly priced products offered via alternative delivery channels in combination with financial education so that customers not only have access but actually use quality services.
UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and their small businesses by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF programmes help to empower women, and are designed to catalyse larger capital flows from the private sector, national governments and development partners, for maximum impact toward the Millennium Development Goals.
Les institutions de microfinance et la finance digitale au Bénin
L’inclusion financière est un défi de développement en Afrique. A cet effet, plusieurs initiatives sont menées par différents acteurs dont l’agence d’investissement des Nations Unies (UNCDF). Ces initiatives visent à faciliter l’inclusion des plus pauvres dans les systèmes financiers. Au cœur de ces initiatives, se positionne la finance digitale dont l’expansion est l’ambition du Programme Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) dans des pays comme le Bénin. Dans le cadre de ses activités, MM4P a organisé les 20 et 21 Janvier 2016 à Cotonou un atelier portant sur le thème « Les Institutions de Microfinance et la Finance Digitale». L’atelier visait à présenter aux institutions de microfinance (IMF), les enjeux et les opportunités ainsi que les bonnes pratiques de mise en œuvre de ses initiatives relatives à la finance digitale.
Si les IMF s’interrogeaient encore récemment sur l’opportunité de la mise en œuvre d’un projet de finance digitale, le contexte a complètement changé au Bénin. En effet, l’atelier a montré qu’unanimement les IMF béninoises perçoivent la finance digitale comme une solution incontournable qui leur permettrait de réaliser des objectifs essentiels tels que : l’augmentation de portefeuille clients, notamment dans les zones rurales et reculées, la réduction de coûts opérationnels, l’accroissement de dépôts stables pour minimiser le coût de refinancement, etc.
La mise en œuvre d’une stratégie de finance digitale requiert l’utilisation de solutions technologiques et de réseaux d’agents, créneaux sur lesquels les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile (OTM) ont une forte emprise. La mise en place d’un partenariat gagnant-gagnant OTM/IMF est aujourd’hui considérée comme une opportunité de développement de la finance digitale au Bénin. Toutefois, ce partenariat présente quelques défis.
Du côté des OTM, il s’agit de faire tomber les « a priori » d’une concurrence perçue par les IMF, en rassurant celles-ci sur la complémentarité des rôles et les bénéfices mutuels d’un partenariat. En outre, il faudrait que les OTM comprennent davantage les problématiques des IMF et développent dans une approche de co-création, avec elles, des services et concepts ajustés à leurs besoins. Enfin, compte tenu des défis liés à la mise en place d’outils technologiques au sein des systèmes financiers décentralisés (ou des IMF), les OTM doivent les accompagner tout au long du processus en faisant un diagnostic pertinent de leur environnement technologique et proposer des solutions simples, adaptées et sécurisées.
Du point de vue des IMF, il importe de comprendre que la mise en œuvre de la finance digitale peut emprunter au moins cinq modalités qui sont autorisées dans le cadre règlementaire actuel. Seule une de ses modalités présente des contraintes règlementaires majeures par l’acquisition de licences pour l’émission de monnaie électronique. Dans tous les cas de figure, l’implémentation de la finance digitale nécessite des partenariats avec les OTM et chaque IMF doit analyser ses forces et faiblesses actuelles et définir la stratégie la plus pertinente pour réaliser ses ambitions. La mise en œuvre de projets de finance digitale requiert pour la plupart un renforcement des systèmes d’information et de gestion (SIG), l’amélioration des capacités organisationnelles et l’acquisition de nouvelles compétences par exemple le métier de gestion de réseau d’agents. Dans le cadre du programme MicroLead au Bénin, quelques IMF partenaires du programme sont engagées dans la réalisation du projet de finance digitale et expérimentent déjà des changements institutionnels positifs.
La généralisation de la finance digitale sera d’un grand bénéfice pour les clients en augmentant la valeur perçue des services financiers proposés, tout en améliorant les performances des IMF et la rentabilité des OTM. L’objectif triple de performance financière, de performance sociale et d’impact environnemental justifie le fort engagement de l’UNCDF et du système des Nations Unies dans ce secteur. Les partenariats et les synergies restent les mots clés et l’ensemble des acteurs de l’écosystème au niveau micro, méso et macro en sont convaincus et résolus à travailler pour améliorer le dialogue et créer les conditions favorables à cette révolution au niveau du pays.
L’ambition du programme MM4P au Bénin est de permettre la vulgarisation de l’utilisation des services financiers digitaux, tout particulièrement dans les zones rurales et, notamment, parmi les populations à faibles revenus. L’objectif du programme est d’atteindre 12% d’utilisateurs actifs à l’horizon 2019. Cette vulgarisation ne pourra se faire que si les nouveaux services sont non seulement disponibles et accessibles, mais aussi fiables, abordables, et adaptés aux besoins des clients. Les IMF, dont le dynamisme et la proximité avec les clients des zones rurales et des populations défavorisées ne sont plus à démontrer, ont une place de choix dans le développement de la finance digitale au Bénin. Les programmes MM4P et MicroLead comptent bien les y accompagner.
Pour plus d’information sur les IMF et la finance digitale au Bénin, vous pouvez consulter ce rapport d’étude de marché Bénin- Etude de marché - Demande, offre et écosystème
L’ambition du programme MM4P au Bénin est de permettre la vulgarisation de l’utilisation des services financiers digitaux, tout particulièrement dans les zones rurales et, notamment, parmi les populations à faibles revenus.
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) Expected to Reach 3 Million Users by 2019
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and MetLife Foundation have partnered to develop a more inclusive, efficient and interconnected digital finance sector to help low income households in Nepal. MetLife Foundation’s grant of $250,000 USD will go toward enhancing Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), a global financial inclusion programme for economically disadvantaged people.
The MM4P programme, in operation since 2012, is a UNCDF’s flagship initiative that provides digital financial services, including domestic money transfers, savings accounts and other services that can help increase economic security. Currently active in eight Least Developed Countries,  MM4P is supported by UNCDF, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, and MetLife Foundation.
MM4P has identified key providers that have the potential to improve access to finance through mobile services. The $250,000 grant from MetLife Foundation will go toward providing technical and financial assistance to financial services providers and agent networks. The overall objective of the programme in Nepal is to have 10-15% of the adult population (2-3 million) as active customers of digital financial services in all forms by the end of 2019. MM4P will use the grant instrument primarily as a means to reach its target market - low income, women and rural customers - to demonstrate the value for this customer base.
UNCDF Executive Secretary Judith Karl praised MetLife Foundation for supporting UNCDF in its work to increase access to financial services. “We are honored and proud to work with MetLife Foundation to build a better ecosystem in Nepal with products and delivery mechanisms which are affordable, accessible and that reach the poor,” she said. “Digital financial services can help poor households save money and access much needed financial services that help them mitigate shocks and seize opportunities to get out and stay out of poverty.”
“We are amazed at the rapid pace of technology advancement in Nepal,” said Ala Uddin Ahmad, CEO of Nepal, MetLife. “This support from MetLife Foundation, to advance mobile technology enabled financial inclusion for the underserved communities in the region, is critical and important. We are proud to be working with UNDCF to advance the cause of financial inclusion in this part of the world,” he said.
UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and small businesses by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. UNCDF provides seed capital – grants and loans – and technical support to help microfinance institutions reach more poor households and small businesses, and local governments finance the capital investments – water systems, feeder roads, schools, irrigation schemes – that will improve poor peoples’ lives. UNCDF programmes help to empower women, and are designed to catalyze larger capital flows from the private sector, national governments and development partners, for maximum impact toward the Millennium Development Goals.
About the MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2014, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $650 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is a global programme funded by UN Capital Development Fund, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Australian Government, Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The programme provides support to branchless and mobile financial services in a select group of LDCs to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low income people in LDCs. For more information, visit www.uncdf.org/mm4p
 Benin, Lao PDR, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia.
Zambia Consumer Insights and Opportunities in Digital Financial Services
Lusaka and Kitwe were the focus of an in-depth consumer exploration initiative that sought to better understand pathways toward and opportunities for greater financial inclusion.
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), commissioned InterMedia to conduct primary qualitative research to complement the nationally representative findings of FinScope Zambia 2015.
At the centre of the MM4P ecosystem approach to increasing financial inclusion is the customer: the consumer of digital financial services (DFS), the unregistered user of DFS, the prospective user of DFS and particularly the female user of DFS.
InterMedia conducted focus-group discussions, in-depth interviews and ‘mystery shop’ exercises with a strategic learning agenda designed to clarify the following:
- What we need to know or do to help consumers be financially stable, responsible and productive
- How our market offerings appeal to the relevant needs and desires of consumers
- How the knowledge gained can help inform smart strategy for DFS in the marketplace
One of the most notable findings of the research was the genuine desire of Zambians to use financial services, based on the belief they would be better off with a digital formal account than an informal one. A remarkable 86 percent report being ready to learn a new technology to make that a reality in their lives. The vast unleveraged potential for DFS in the Zambian market cannot be overestimated. These findings will be disseminated and actioned through a series of stakeholder meetings, events and roundtable discussions under the theme ‘Know and Love Your Customer,’ starting 16 February 2016 at Hotel InterContinental in Lusaka.
To learn more on these findings read our Research Highlight Know and love your customer: Leveraging Zambian consumer insights
The United Nations Capital Development Fund’s Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) programme is active in Benin, Senegal and Zambia, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. MM4P provides support to branchless and mobile financial services in a select group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low income people in LDCs.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). UNCDF uses its capital mandate to help LDCs pursue inclusive growth.
Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ) is a DFID-funded programme established in September 2013 with the mandate to increase financial inclusion. FSDZ partners with financial service providers and other stakeholders with the shared commitment to increase the number of households and enterprises accessing financial services.
Agents of digital financial services in Senegal
With a high volume of activities and low operational expenditure, Senegalese agents of digital financial services are considered profitable. This is according to the survey ‘Agent Network Accelerator’ on
With a high volume of activities and low operational expenditure, Senegalese agents of digital financial services are considered profitable. This is according to the survey ‘Agent Network Accelerator’ on the agent networks of digital financial services in Senegal, released by Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), a UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) programme, in collaboration with The Helix Institute of Digital Finance.
This survey, conducted nationally with 1200 agents of digital financial services, provides key insights into the characteristics of the competitive market of money transfers shared amongst four major vendors: Wari, Joni Joni, Orange and Tigo. Getting to the corner shop to send or receive money or pay water, telephone and electricity bills has become a habit for many Senegalese. Increasingly, people use digital finance service outlets to avoid long queues and time constraints at the counter.
These financial operations and transactions are managed exclusively by financial service distributors and are the distributors’ main source of income. According to the survey, of the 1200 some agents interviewed in 2015, 66 percent are non-exclusively working with the four major providers and are distributing the services of a median of three. The adoption of this model contributes significantly to the performance of Senegalese agents.
At the outlet level, Senegalese agents conduct a volume of transactions comparable to advanced markets of East Africa, with a median of 35 transactions per day, for all combined vendors.
The survey also shows that, despite the intensification and the constant growth of this sector, major obstacles hinder the expansion of digital financial services, which are still very concentrated in Dakar and surrounding areas at the expense of rural areas. The irregularity of the services and the lack of resources to source liquidity can undermine confidence, adoption and use of digital financial services by the population.
"We must improve the quality of digital distribution services through staff capacity-building to make them more compliant. We must also improve system reliability to prevent cases of fraud and service interruptions," said Sabine Mensah, MM4P Technical Specialist Digital Finance.
Ensuring quality in the distribution of services and digital products is a prerequisite for improving people's access to financial services and ensuring financial inclusion. The agent network plays an important role in this sector by guaranteeing access to these services by the population and especially those living in rural areas.
The goal of the MM4P programme is to help the providers of these services improve their agent networks and develop innovative models to cover rural areas and contribute to financial inclusion.
MM4P works with all actors in the Senegalese ecosystem, with the major objective of ensuring that 20 percent of the adult population of Senegal is actively using a financial service via remote and digital technologies by 2019.
For more information on the Agent Network Accelerator project, follow this link.
UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers ‘last mile’ finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. This last mile is where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave people excluded.
The UNCDF Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) programme is active in Benin, Senegal and Zambia, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. MM4P provides support to branchless and mobile financial services in a select group of LDCs to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low income people in LDCs.
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is a programme launched by UNCDF in partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation. MM4P provides support to branchless and mobile financial services in a select group of LDCs to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low income people in LDCs.
We must improve the quality of digital distribution services through staff capacity-building to make them more compliant.
Spécialiste Finance digitale, MM4P
Building branchless and mobile financial services ecosystems in the last mile
Mobile phones have transformed lives in rich and poor countries alike. Of the world’s 7 billion people, there are now 6 billion phone subscriptions globally compared with 2 billion or so bank accounts. Across 40 UN-designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs) surveyed by UNCDF, mobile phone penetration was at 30% while access to a bank account was 14% on average. More striking are the growth rates – with mobile phone penetration growth reaching double digits, growing at a rate of 23% a year, while financial access growth is flat. We know from the example of M-Pesa in Kenya that mobile money has the potential to reach millions of users in the time it has taken traditional microfinance to reach thousands. But LDCs present particular challenges for branchless and mobile financial services to reach scale, such as: lower overall population, economic activity and disposable incomes; less developed business and regulatory environments, and; poor physical, technological and financial infrastructure. In fact, the majority of mobile financial services in LDCs have failed to live up to expectations in the first few years where the volume of person-to-person money transfers is not growing in line with the experience of larger, emerging markets.
#UNCDFExpertsChat asked Tillman Bruett how to build robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low-income people in the LDCs.
Tillman Bruett has over 20 years of experience in commercial banking, microfinance, and financial inclusion. He is currently the Programme Manager of Mobile Money for the Poor at UNCDF, an initiative to make mobile and branchless financial services available to low income and rural households in the LDCs. He joined the UNCDF in 2008 to start to the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme.
Till was a banker in the early 1990s, working as a credit analyst and client manager with Chemical Bank’s international division in New York. In 1996 he joined FINCA International where helped start, monitor and assess FINCA’s microfinance institutions and managed a global credit and guarantee facility. He co-founded Alternative Credit Technologies in 2000, a consulting company specializing on building inclusive financial systems. He also facilitated SEEP’s financial services working group for four years, taught regularly at Georgetown University and was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS.
#UNCDFExpertsChat: What is the development challenge you are trying to solve? How does UNCDF’s MM4P programme solve that challenge?
Till Bruett: Rather than talk about “MM4P” I think it is better to say “digital finance.” It’s not just MM4P working on these issues; in the past year we’ve seen so much more emphasis on digital across the UNCDF portfolio.
In Least Developed Countries (LDCs), less than 20 percent of the adult population has formal bank accounts and fewer use them. If you consider less formal options, like credit unions and savings groups, the percentage gets to nearly twice that. That figure hasn’t moved much in the past twenty years. That’s the development challenge.
At the same time, the level of mobile phone ownership exceeds both and the vast majority of people in LDCs have access to a mobile phone from a family member or friend. We are also seeing great strides in access to broadband internet, 3G and even 4G. That is the opportunity.
What we are trying to solve is how to take advantage of the telecommunications and data revolution to get people access to financial services — and through that, access to the basic services they need. We have a few examples of how this can happen, as in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as in Somalia and Zimbabwe.
Through our work, UNCDF supports branchless and mobile financial services in a select group of LDCs that haven’t seen success in this space yet. Our aim is to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low-income people in LDCs.
#UNCDFExpertsChat: What is the last mile financing model of MM4P? How does it build public/private partnerships?
Till Bruett: Government and business are closely related in most LDCs. Take the example of Malawi, where I am today. The government and its employees are often big customers of private sector businesses, as are donor organizations and their employees. Both the private sector and the government recognize the symbiosis. At lunch today, my table had a woman from the revenue authority, a mobile money manager for a mobile network operator, a bank officer and a telecoms regulator -- and they all knew each other or had some friends in common.
Still, it helps to have a go-between to help them work together in an official capacity. Our approach to working in a country is first to build “buy-in” by bringing people together to learn, share and, quite frankly, have a safe place to complain. We also fund research that helps answer the questions they have about unbanked people. Then we work with both government and the private sector to support them to improve their current work. For example, we may help train a central bank on what how to measure financial inclusion or help a bank do better monitoring of bank agents. Only then do we try to innovate, working together to try a new product or develop a new policy or regulation.
There is a method to our approach. We have a theory of change that takes into account the entire digital financial services ecosystem. We look at different areas that can help or hinder use of services: policy & regulation, infrastructure, providers, distribution, bulk payment and, most importantly, customer experience. When we choose our activities, we do so on the basis of the barrier or opportunity in these areas.
#UNCDFExpertsChat: How does MM4P support the achievement of the SDGs?
Till Bruett: It starts with the customer. The “last mile” ends at the doorstep of a family, one that often depends largely on agriculture. That family already has a financial life. Right now they primarily use cash – cash under the mattress, cash from the moneylender, cash at the local shop or even cash at the school.
What I like about the SDGs is that if you put the two works “I want” before almost any SDG it can also be a personal goal. “I want no poverty. I want good health. I want quality education. I want gender equality.” At their core, the SDGS are very personal. So we can’t forget that in our effort to achieve the SDGs – we are really trying to help people achieve the own personal ambitions and live up to their potential.
Like other households, rural households have ambitions. They also have relationships that extend far beyond the village. They probably sell crops to earn money. They may send money to their child at school or receive money from a relative working in the city. Some may get a loan from a microfinance institution. Almost all of them pay schools fees, medical expenses, and buy airtime, food, books and medicines.
Often, poor people pay more for the things they need than do people who are wealthier. The poor can’t buy in bulk and often they have to travel a long way to get to a school, hospital or even a store. Look at energy. If you are on the grid, your electricity is cheaper (and healthier) than if you have to buy charcoal or kerosene. Tap water is cheaper than bottled water. What excites me is when digital financial services help poor families buy the things they need, closer to home at less cost. What excites me more is when companies see these families as customers. If we can change the narrative from “the 3 billion poor” to the “3 billion customers” that is a huge accomplishment.
Accessing financial services can really help people save for a home, pay for school, start a small business and create positive externalities within their communities, including creating new jobs. Our work in digital financial services for financial inclusion contributes to a number of SDGs as a result.
#UNCDFExpertsChat: The SDGs have a strong focus on leaving no one behind. How does MM4P reach poor communities and under-served regions in LDCs? How does it make sure that it reaches women and vulnerable groups?
Till Bruett: 70 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas. Women are also much more financially excluded than men, and the digital divide between women and men is even greater than the financial divide. Education, mobility and culture all play a role, among other factors.
Our programme places a premium on supporting partners and projects that reach rural areas and women. Our research is all sex disaggregated and we specifically take on projects that are linked to agriculture.
But we also acknowledge that migration combined with telecommunications is creating a very strong link between urban and rural families. Every Malawian at my table for lunch today sends money to at least two family members in rural areas. So while we emphasize the last mile, we have to also remember that middle class, urban, salaried women and men have a role to play, too.
#UNCDFExpertsChat: Can you give an example of how MM4P has made a difference to the lives of poor people and communities?
Till Bruett: In Malawi, where we started our work in Africa, there were less than 1000 active users of digital accounts in 2012. Now there are between 750,000 and one million. Anecdotally, most of the Malawians we met in the last few days in Lilongwe and Blantyre say they think that digital money transfers are becoming “mainstream.” As one woman noted, “I haven’t sent money by bus or taxi in the past year to my Aunties. I only use Zoona, mPamba or Airtel Money. And now I don’t have to go to all the funerals in the village. I can send cash which is what the family needs the most.”
In Uganda, where MM4P is active in agro value chains, we support Kyagalanyi Coffee Limited to digitize payments to over 12,000 farmers on the slopes of Mount Elgon. We are supporting: MTN Uganda, offering some risk coverage for losses (which did not occur) in this rural area; Yo Uganda, Ltd. to help transfer payments between Kygalanyi and MTN; and Fenix International provided phone loans and solar charging solutions for coffee farmers. More info is available at http://uncdf.org/en/wan-yala-naabi-ku-lerra-network
#UNCDFExpertsChat: What are the lessons learned from MM4P's implementation so far?
Till Bruett: We’ve learned so much and continue to do so. We are working in a very new sector and there are no “best practices” yet. So at the risk of being wrong, I will share the following:
First, trust, trust, trust. It’s hard to earn trust and easy to lose it. This applies to both the relationships between people and companies (like banks and mobile money providers) as well as between organizations.
Second, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. What may seem like “the best partner” now may not be in one year. We work with many partners and don’t pick winners and losers. Change in leadership, corporate takeovers, and many other factors beyond our control impact our project all the time.
Third, don’t treat regulators or regulation like a problem; rather think of them as an opportunity. I personally love working with central banks and ministries of finance as much as the private sector. They play a major role in making digital finance work and we need to support them as much as possible.
Finally, being present, showing up and listening matters. Embodying a collaborative spirit, working together in complementary ways and having an open mind really help.
Ok, one more. I say this as a manager. Hiring smart, passionate people is the key to success.
#UNCDFExpertsChat: What's the plan for scale up? What can we look forward to in the future of MM4P?
Till Bruett: We are spending a lot of energy on understanding the customer better. Look for some great research on customers – particularly women – in our markets. We are also doing some pilot on customer centric design, adopting some practices from the private sector to help our partners build services that really reflect the customer input.
In terms of scale, we are hoping that digitizing agricultural value chains in Uganda and Nepal will provide us great learning on how to reach rural areas.
And finally, we are working closely as part of “one UNCDF” in Myanmar to support digital financial inclusion. It’s a great market with great potential.
#UNCDFExpertsChat: What's exciting about working in this space?
Till Bruett: Everything.
In Least Developed Countries (LDCs), less than 20 percent of the adult population has formal bank accounts and fewer use them.
Mobile Money for the Poor
Mobile Money for the Poor
Informal financial services still play a crucial role in Zambia. Consumers use them to hedge against uncertainty and smooth consumption because they often are more accessible than formal financial service providers, including those offering digital financial services.
This video is about financial inclusion through DFS, specifically through digitizing government-to-person (G2P) payments. In November 2015, UNCDF MM4P programme organized a learning visit to South Africa for 18 Government officials from 5 countries: Benin, Malawi, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia.
It is estimated that between two and three billion people still lack access to a broad range of financial products and services on a sustainable basis. The situation is particularly dire in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where often more than 90% of the population is denied access to financial services from the formal financial system. Massive G2P payment programs such as pensions or other social benefits are often a gateway to modern payment instruments as well as other financial services for the un-banked and under-banked.
Dans un pays où 20% de la population utilise des services financiers et où le taux de pénétration des téléphones mobiles atteint 92% en 2014 (contre 50% en 2011), le développement de l’offre de services financiers digitaux représente un véritable potentiel pour favoriser l’accès aux services financiers et stimuler le développement économique des populations non-bancarisées.
The Helix Institute of Digital Finance, founded in November 2013 as a partnership between MicroSave, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) provides world-class training and cutting-edge data for digital financial service providers.
The Agent Network Assessment (ANA) for Zambia is funded by the UNCDF Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) programme, in partnership with the Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), and The MasterCard Foundation.