Europe has increased efforts to tackle the migration crisis that is hitting its southern shores and northern sensitivities. What is missing in the public debate is any meaningful discussion of migration from Africa, within Africa and towards Africa. And from, within and towards Asia too. At a conference in Brussels, the UN agency UNCDF shines lights on how refugees and migrants are first helped before they approach the old continent.
La « Fintech », contraction de « technologie » et « finance » en anglais, désigne une structure qui offre des produits et services financiers innovants sans être elle-même une institution financière (Banque, Système Financier Décentralisé, …). Au Sénégal, les Fintech font progressivement leur apparition, offrant divers produits et services qui peuvent participer à la croissance du marché de la finance digitale. Mais elles arrivent sur un terrain qui ne leur est pas forcément favorable.
“My day starts at 5 am. I wake up, wash and then get on with my house chores. I have a 10 year old son who I get ready and then drop off to school. Around 10 am I open my store. We live in a small community with about 150 people, our village is far from developed but we have access to television, electricity (about 5 hours a day), fresh drinking water from our community reserve and internet. It’s not much but we are happy here.” Subhadra Dahal is a 33-year-old women from a small village in Nepal, 35 km away from Kathmandu. I met her as we were in Panauti shooting a short documentary.
In the past couple of years Uganda witnessed a steady increase in financial inclusion, mainly driven by an increased uptake in mobile money. Financial inclusion insights Uganda (2016) shows that close to 4 in every 10 Ugandan adults (39%) now have access to financial services. 35% have a mobile money account, 11% have a full-service bank account, while 6% have an account in a non-bank financial institution.
I have had the privilege of working with UNCDF for almost two years as the Regional Technical Specialist for one of its seminal programmes, MM4P. In Zambia, UNCDF MM4P has launched a programme that is focused on accelerating the uptake and usage of digital financial services (DFS). The objective is to have 35% of the adult Zambian population actively using digital finance by the end of 2019.
Meet Godfrey. Godfrey and his wife are dairy farmers in a small town in central Uganda. Together they own six cows and about thirty goats. His wife mainly looks after the goats, which are sold for meat and Godfrey looks after their cows.
If I had to sum up my first visit to the Meheba Refugee Settlement in Zambia in November 2016 in one word, it would be “confrontation”. From the 45 minute, bumpy bus ride it took to get from the main entrance to the UNHCR offices, to the tour of the different blocks in the settlement, to the impromptu town hall meeting where over 50 residents of the settlement emphatically voiced their opinions about the proposed project. Everything I witnessed made me realize how urgently the refugees want access to financial services.
When it comes to access to financial services, smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone face similar challenges as the 475 million smallholder farmers across the globe. They live far from brick-and-mortar branches and their risk profile often excludes them from formal financial services. Digital financial services (DFS) can play an important role in overcoming this problem.
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), via its Banking and Financial Institutions Regulation Department, has upgraded its reporting system with support from United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), UNNATI- Access to Finance (A2F) and the Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) programme. They have created an e-mapping platform based on a geographic information system (GIS) that shows all existing financial points in Nepal and enables efficient compliance control, data analysis and policy formulation.
Recent findings of UNCDF projects show that mobile money is an easy alternative to cash to facilitate bulk payments in the coffee value chain. However, coffee farmers who are being paid digitally for their produce, still see a lot of value in the usage of cash. To pay for their daily groceries such as rice, cooking oil and charcoal for instance.