Digital Financial Services

Digital Financial Services

Digital Financial Services Price Transparency and Awareness in Malawi

Digital Financial Services

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 09:38 -- anna.ferracuti

This whitepaper outlines major findings of a diagnostic exercise conducted by the MM4P team in August 2017. This exercise involved desk research and an in-country mission to gather data, conduct interviews with agents, tellers and customers, and survey the insights of local stakeholders.

Mototaxis, ambassadors of mobile payments in Benin

Digital Financial Services

Mototaxis, ambassadors of mobile payments in Benin

UNCDF-MM4P and MTN Benin testing a new type of payment for mototaxis
December 15 , 2017

Zemidjans

Cotonou, BENIN - 

Caption : Zem are the most commonly used means of transport

Cotonou, BENIN- Over 250,000 moto taxi drivers “Zemidjans” or “Zem” are circulating in Benin. Collectively, they represent a sizeable contribution in Benin’s economy: one million people depend on the income generated by the Zems activities and two million Beninese are regular patrons of their services. However, as most of the Zems do not have bank accounts, their transactions are conducted largely informally, in cash. This represents an opportunity for the digital financial services sector to offer this group of users’ financial services that could benefit their lives.

The MM4P program in Benin is currently assisting the mobile network operator, MTN Benin on a merchant payment initiative aimed at enabling customers to pay their mototaxi fares using mobile money.

Co - create solutions with mototaxis

Launched in July 2017, the first phase of the project focused on the design on the mobile payment solution.  With the support of design firm, Innate Motion and consultancy firm, PHB Development, MM4P and MTN adopted a “Human Centric Design” (HCD) approach to understand the typical Zems journey including their wants, needs and aspirations when it came to financial services. This approach helped uncover insights a classical market study might have overlooked.

Subsequently, we explored mobile payments from different angles: from the point of view of the mototaxis drivers, their suppliers, MTN teams and their affiliated communication agencies.  In small groups, we developed different scenarios keeping mototaxis drivers at the center of the discussion.  The idea was to enables customers to pay their fares with mobile money, and simultaneously enable the Zemidjans to use part of the money collected to make payments using the same mobile money platform.  In contrast to standard design processes, the scenarios focused on the life of Zemidjans and not on the financial product itself.

 We asked the Zemidjan whether the scenarios presented matched their real-life experiences? What improvements could be made? What changes were needed? Their answers helped us rewrite scenarios so that they became Zem’s stories, stories they want to live or experience and in which mobile payment may play a role. Utilizing this co-creation approach, we were able prioritize the mix of value propositions not only for the Zem, but also for their customers to use mobile money payments.  With the HCD approach, we not only tested innovative solutions but we validated them with the primary stakeholder, the Zem. The active participation of various MTN teams (Communication, Marketing, Technical, etc.) throughout the process facilitated the choice of payment solutions that were acceptable to all.

The Zem, to promote the adoption of mobile payment

 By deciding with MTN to explore the world of Zemidjans via an approach centered on users, MM4P put the customer at the heart of the digital financial services ecosystem.  Experience has shown that the adoption of these services depends, to a large extent, on whether they resonate with the customers and truly meet their needs. As such, the needs and constraints of customer should always be factored into the products and services design process.

 We chose the Zem because they are powerful vectors of information or even of behavioral transformation.  They can position themselves as ambassadors to impact the use of digital financial services in Benin and to influence the populations.

 The adventure with the Zemidjans continues.  But we are already seeing signs that the HCD approach an excellent tool to convey and leverage the benefits that digital finance can have. It is our belief that HCD can help leverage on all innovative products for which increased adoption and usage are proving to be difficult.

 We are in the process of selecting a representative sample of these moto taxi drivers for the implementation of a pilot in the next phase.  In a future blog, we will share some of the initial results obtained, as well as the challenges and/or new ideas discovered.

By Bery Dieye Kandji, KM Consultant, and Jamelino Akogbeto, DFS Expert 

For more information, please contact
Bery Kandji
KM Consultant, Benin
Additional Information
Bery Kandji
KM Consultant, Benin

The Roaming Agents of Lao PDR

Digital Financial Services

The Roaming Agents of Lao PDR

By David Kleiman, DFS Expert
December 14 , 2017

Above: BCOME pilot in the center meeting at Thakad Village, Beng District

In the body text: Financial Literacy and awareness of XMI and BCOME service to Grade 12 students of Beng District High School

Vientiane, LAO PDR - 

On October 16th 2017, Yong Duangphachanh did not make the 2-hour journey to a banking agent point in the district town to deposit money for her children’s educational fees. Instead, she attended a Xainiyom Micro Finance (XMI) center meeting in her village in northern Lao PDR and was the first in her area to experience the latest evolution in branchless banking.

XMI has partnered with BCEL’s Community Money Express (BCOME) and since February 2017, has been providing BCOME transactions to its customers via their 7 branch offices; including Beng where Yong Duangphachanh has her XMI account.   But what delighted her was that now she did not have to travel to the agent -  now the agent could travel to her.

This pilot initiative is supported by the UNCDF Making Access to Finance More Inclusive for Poor People (MAFIPP) programme jointly operated with the Bank of Lao PDR, with support from the Australian Government and technical assistance from UNCDF MM4P. The programme aims to integrate microfinance institutions (MFIs) in to the digital finance ecosystem in appropriate ways.   As a follow up to MAFIPPs  “Training on Digital Finance and Interventions Models for MFIs”  in and building upon the UNCDF MFI strategy toolkits  to  enter the digital financial service (DFS) arena,  XMI  was  ready to take the next  step.   

To provide convenience and continuous service to its remote customers XMI conducts weekly center meetings in all villages accessible by motorbike.  Meetings only occur in the mornings, and take about one hour typically for clients to make loan repayments, to deposit or withdraw on their savings accounts.  Now, as part of the center meetings, the XMI field staff travels to the community with a laptop, printer and, most importantly, a 3G Pocket Wi-fi router to allow the loan officers to connect to the BCOME platform. There are already plans to replace the equipment with a more portable tablet and a pocket-sized Bluetooth printer.  Although now customers can avail opportunities like BCOME transactions including depositing and remitting funds.  Currently, XMI conducts center meetings in 3 provinces (Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Bokeo) and 14 districts covering 415 villages. 

And with all that traveling, XMI staff are well known in the communities that they serve, and they look for innovative ways to bring valuable services and raise awareness about them.  As part of their mission, they conduct promotional activities at schools.  Such as the outreach to high school seniors conducted by XMI at Meuang Beng High School where students were introduced to the benefits of savings and educational loans. Although XMI accounts cannot be opened by minors, it is presumed that parents will be able to avail of these services on their behalf. Additionally, XMI explained how BCOME transfers can help students who study away from home and need to receive financial support from their relatives.

 

 

 

 

XMI continues to make further inroads for financial inclusion and values its relationship with BCOME as it is a positive way to associate with BCEL (the largest bank in Lao PDR with 41% market share in retail savings and 4% in lending). The association makes people more confident in conducting banking and financial services with XMI.

This pilot activity of offering remote transactions has been well received by customers but it is not without its challenges. BCEL is cautious about allowing agents to conduct transactions away from the designated and approved premises.  BCEL understands the importance of trust in agent banking transactions. And they ensure it by having an authorized sign board and customer pricing clearly displayed. XMI and their well-trained staff could offer significant assurance to BCEL. XMI has been authorized by BCEL to conduct only on-line BCOME transactions, so that the BCOME remittance occurs in real time.  The customer either gives cash or the amount is debited from her/his savings passbook – the transaction will be recorded in the XMI monitoring information system only when the credit officer returns to the Service Unit. The XMI savings passbook (containing the client’s picture) can be used for formal client identification in lieu of the common ID card of family book – a procedure mandated by BCEL to fulfill the anti-money laundering obligations applicable to commercial banks.

XMI is hampered by the lack of suitable mobile data connectivity at many communities, which would require offering off-line transactions.  For example, when a customer wants to deposit or remit funds, that transaction would be executed once the officer returns to the branch office where there is a stable internet connection.   BCEL is considering authorizing off-line transactions based on the success of this initial pilot with a roaming BCOME agent.

“A service such as this makes banking more accessible and can also increase business for us,” said Khanthaly Saenvilayvong, Managing Director of XMI. He accompanied the team on this first experiment and is pleased and proud that XMI is the first to bring a real time DFS solution to a remote community in northern Lao PDR. “These DFS services will continue to develop and provide opportunities to offer more and more services -  once people become aware of the service they will try it and then become regular users due to the security and convenience.” 

XMI key figures (as of Q3 2017 unless stated otherwise, source: mixmarket.org)

Nb clients 34,280 (60% women)
Nb borrowers 9,223 (72% women). Largest Lao MFI by number of borrowers
Loan Outstanding 45.1 billion Kip ~$5.4mn. Agriculture loans 65-70% of portfolio
Portfolio at Risk 30days (PAR30) 2.29%
Total assets 57.0 billion Kip ~$6.9mn
Return on Assets (RoA) 11.9% (2016 annual)
Nb Service Units

7 all acting as BCOME Service Points

Nb & value BCOME transactions 117 with total value 259,457,000LAK ~USD 31,600
(October 2017, at roaming agent and XMI Service Units combined)
For more information, please contact
Aliska Bajracharya
KM Consultant, Lao PDR
Additional Information
Aliska Bajracharya
KM Consultant, Lao PDR

Six development challenges for Fintech in Senegal

Digital Financial Services

Six development challenges for Fintech in Senegal

By Bery Dieye Kandji, KM Consultant in Senegal
December 13 , 2017
Dakar, SENEGAL - 

« Fintech », contraction of «technology» and «finance», refers to a structure that offers innovative financial products and services without itself being a financial institution (bank, microfinance institution...). In Senegal, Fintechs are entering into the market, offering various products and services that could contribute to the growth of digital finance in the market. However, they are having to experiment in an environment that is not necessarily set up to favor them.  

If you're a Fintech start- up be prepared for the following challenges:

  • As a Fintech, you must develop innovative offerings, in accordance with the existing legal, financial and tax regulations in Senegal. But who are the authorities with whom you need to validate this compliance?  Identifying them will be your first big challenge. There is more than a dozen in the country: Bank of West African States (BCEAO), Directorate of Money and Credit (DMC), Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts (ARTP), Directorate of Micro Finance (DMF), just to name a few.
  • You will also have to deal with regulations that are not always aligned with your commercial realities. For example, if crowdfunding is your core business, you may suffer from banks’ monopoly on providing credit and the regulatory context around public offering.
  • The regulatory framework on electronic signature, set up by the Agency of Information of the State (ADIE), can be complex for Fintechs to understand. To dematerialize contracts, you will need a lot of time and patience. This may be tough for a structure whose originality is its ability to develop instant and digital offers.
  • A Fintech needs to build partnerships to expand its offerings. In Senegal one of the difficulties in this area is the weak bargaining power with big billers and incumbent financial institutions and operators. This may impose constraints for Fintechs whose business models are mainly based on the aggregation of services. This leaves little room for them to maneuver which could in turn affect the viability of their business model.
  • Despite robust growth potential, finding financing remains a challenge for Fintechs. The banks are still reluctant to finance emerging business models. And even if there are guarantee funds, their processes are often too long and unsuited to the development cycles of Fintechs.  
  • Another problem, you must be aware of, is the lack of an ecosystem fostering the development of Fintechs. There is almost no framework in Senegal to share your projects with research centers, large companies, public actors, and investors, and develop partnerships.

This last point probably includes all the obstacles to the development of the Senegalese Fintechs. So where does this leave Fintechs? Is there a future for these new market players?

Yes, because innovation, the main added value of the Fintechs is one of the core drivers of digital finance. When it comes to digital financial services, people are hungry for innovative services tailored to their needs and aspirations

Fintechs in Senegal need assistance to overcome their challenges, whether these are related to regulation, funding or establishment of partnerships.

The MM4P program whose mandate is to act as a neutral broker in market and bring together all the relevant stakeholders in digital financial services, is actively working on assisting Fintechs in the regard. A first meeting was organized on the 7th of September2017, in the offices of MM4P, to broker an exchange with Fintechs on their current projects, challenges and perspectives. The next step will be to formalize a framework to assist them in the market. 

Pour lire en français, cliquez ici.

For more information, please contact
Bery Dieye Kandji
KM Consultant, Senegal
Additional Information
Bery Dieye Kandji
KM Consultant, Senegal

Sierra Leone FinTech Challenge Finalists Announced

Digital Financial Services

Sierra Leone FinTech Challenge Finalists Announced

November 16 , 2017
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE - 

After a period of selection and voting, the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) in collaboration with Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa), UNCDF’s Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), with support from USAID and the Sida-funded Last Mile Trust Fund, will today announce the finalists of the Sierra Leone FinTech Challenge 2017.

Commenting on the challenge, Ahmed Dermish, the Ecosystem Specialist, Digital Finance at UNCDF’s MM4P said: “UNCDF commends BSL’s leadership in promoting innovations in digital finance and their commitment to support new service providers. We are excited to be a partner in this process and look forward to helping the BSL continue to shape the landscape of digital innovations in Sierra Leone.”

The announcement of the finalists comes at a time when the Government of Sierra Leone has identified access to financial services as a key pillar in the President’s Post Ebola Recovery Priority Plan.  Sierra Leone has a large number of licensed financial intermediaries. However, less than 15% of the adult population have access to financial services and 87% of the population are unbanked. Digital financial services have been identified as a key intervention area in the recently launched National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2017 – 2020. The FinTech challenge is a strategic response needed to scale up outreach and design digital client-centric products.

The aim, successfully achieved was to encourage and catalyze the development of FinTech solutions that are useful and relevant to the people and businesses of Sierra Leone. Over 20 applications were received from various entrepreneurs in the country as well as from Kenya and Ghana. Three finalists have been selected and will each receive US$13,000 seed capital and access to the Regulatory Sandbox. This capital will help test designs, buy in expert support and clarify the business case. Up to two of the strongest fintech products and solutions will have the chance to win up to US$100,000 to pilot and scale-up in round two of the challenge.

The proposals were judged by representatives from FSD Africa, UNCDF MM4P, Bank of Sierra Leone and consumers’ group. Commenting on the finalists, one of the judges, Tamara Cook, the Head of Digital Innovations at FSD Kenya said: “The ideas submitted in the competition reflected fintech innovations from across the globe. The winners rose to the top because each addresses real problems that fintech solutions can help solve.”

It is expected that the challenge will foster collaboration between regulators, non-traditional market players, licensed financial institutions and other partners to pilot innovative products, services and solutions in Sierra Leone. With the improved financial access and usage, Sierra Leoneans and their businesses will have new tools to flourish. The FinTech Challenge 2017 has the potential to kick-start this process. 


The Finalists

1.DataPool - Credit Reference Services to non-bank Providers of credit.

“Check-Up” is a technology-based solution that helps non-bank providers of credit and credit-worthy consumers and borrowers in the informal and semi-formal sectors, to transact in a transparent and relatively low-risk manner. This solution is expected to increase credit-based commercial activities outside the banking sector. The product will allow providers of credit to give information on their debtors and their performance on their debts. It will also allow potential creditors to get reports on potential borrowers on their level of indebtedness and performance rating to inform their credit decisions.

2.Ace Ltd - App to track MSMEs’ (Micro, Small & Medium Businesses’) finances.

Ca$hr app is a simple and elegant tool for MSMEs to record business transactions. It has been specifically designed to fill the accounting needs of MSMEs in Sierra Leone, as current available options are inadequate (either too complicated, expensive, unreliable, or lack ability to analyze data in a meaningful way). The app functions as a point of sales and bookkeeping tool for business, whilst also aggregating these businesses’ data to track trends and give insight on the market.

3.Salone Microfinance & InvestED -  Smartphone-based entrepreneurship education program linked to microcredit via mobile money.

InvestED provides a platform for free phone-based training for low-income entrepreneurs. Learners who successfully complete curriculum in financial literacy and business skills – along with quizzes, surveys and chat interaction – qualify to apply for loans. Credit officers use a web dashboard to see loan applications and a creditworthiness rating provided through predictive analytics, and the tool allows them to execute disbursement, communicate with the borrower and manage the loan via mobile money. These drive the shared goals for customer empowerment, meaningful engagement and adoption of mobile money and digital financial services.


About UNCDF MM4P

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 digital financial services (DFS) in a selected group of least developed countries (LDCs) to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust DFS ecosystem that reaches low income people in LDCs. For more information about UNCDF MM4P visit:

Website: mm4p.uncdf.org 

Twitter: @UNCDFMM4P

LinkedIn: UNCDF MM4P

About Sida

Sida is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world. Through our work and in cooperation with others, we contribute to implementing Sweden’s Policy for Global Development (PGU). For more information about sida visit:

Website: http://www.sida.se

Twitter: @Sida

LinkedIn: Sida

About FSD Africa

FSD Africa is a non-profit company which aims to increase prosperity, create jobs and reduce poverty by bringing about a transformation in financial markets in SSA and in the economies, they serve. It provides know-how and capital to champions of change whose ideas, influence and actions will make finance more useful to African businesses and households. It is funded by UK aid from the UK Government. For more information about FSD Africa’s activities and current updates follow our social media platforms:

Twitter: @FSDAfrica

Linkedin:  Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa)

Website: www.fsdafrica.org

Email: joe@fsdafrica.org

For more information, please contact
Wycliffe Ngwabe
DFS Expert, Sierra Leone
Anna Ferracuti
Knowledge Management Consultant
Additional Information
Wycliffe Ngwabe
DFS Expert, Sierra Leone
Video

What Know-Your-Customer Regulations Apply in Uganda

Digital Financial Services

What Know-Your-Customer Regulations Apply in Uganda

By Richard Ndahiro, DFS Expert in Uganda
September 14 , 2017

Study on Know-Your-Customer Requirements for DFS in Uganda

Kampala, UGANDA - 

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. 

Financial inclusion, and exclusion on the flipside, is primarily a matter of access. Particularly for digital financial services (DFS), access is dependent on the ability of users such as consumers, traders, merchants, agents and aggregators, to be fully registered and compliant with the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements by regulators. 

Talk to anyone working in DFS in Uganda and they will bring up the topic of KYC. These discussions mainly reveal:

  • A need for more clarity around the KYC requirements for the various DFS types of users 
  • Discrepancies in interpretation of requirements in the KYC regime
  • Challenges around registration and onboarding of, for example, agents, merchants and refugees due to strict KYC requirements. This results in excluding people from using DFS as well as lengthy onboarding processes, with a lot of paperwork for those registering.  

To fully understand all these issues UNCDF–MM4P researched all specific KYC requirements for DFS players in Uganda. The exercise sought to: 

  • Clarify the KYC requirements for opening and operating DFS accounts, including accounts for individuals, informal merchants and traders, formal businesses, and non-citizens such as refugees;
  • Understand how financial service providers are interpreting and implementing KYC requirements;
  • Assess the impact of the interpretation and implementation of KYC requirements on DFS adoption; and
  • Offer recommendations for addressing KYC challenges to foster DFS growth and uptake.

The results of this research are full of findings and insights for regulators, banks, mobile network operators and other financial service providers that operate DFS in Uganda. Please have a look at the summary or the entire study report.

In accordance with these findings, UNCDF-MM4P is engaging with the various stakeholders in a bid to address some of the issues highlighted from the report. 

For more information, please contact
Naomi de Groot
KM Consultant, Uganda
Additional Information
Naomi de Groot
KM Consultant, Uganda

Study on Know-Your-Customer Requirements for DFS in Uganda

Digital Financial Services

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 16:26 -- anna.ferracuti

The UNCDF MM4P program contracted BFA to conduct a Study on Know-Your-Customer (KYC) Requirements for Digital Financial Services in Uganda. The key objectives of the study were to: Clarify the KYC requirements for opening and operating different digital financial services (DFS) accounts; understand how financial service providers are interpreting and implementing KYC requirements for the aforementioned accounts today; assess the impact of the interpretation and implementation of KYC requirements on DFS adoption; and offer recommendations for addressing KYC challenges to foster DFS growth an

The state of the digital financial services (DFS) industry in Zambia

Digital Financial Services

The state of the digital financial services (DFS) industry in Zambia

By Nandini Harihareswara, UNCDF
September 06 , 2017
Lusaka, ZAMBIA - 

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.

We know, after decades of work in development – that when you are trying to make deep, lasting change – you can’t support one part of the ecosystem – you have to support the larger ecosystem. When it comes to DFS market development, MM4P uses an ecosystem approach that simultaneously addresses issues at the levels of Customers, Providers, Distribution, High Volume, Policy & Regulation and Infrastructure to improve market conditions and facilitate shifts. We call this “the honeycomb approach” (as you can see below). 

When I first came to this market, the narrative I heard was that “Zambia is stuck in a sub-scale trap”. From that daunting start, I can proudly say that we are now more at a tipping point. In 2014, only 2% of the adult Zambian population were active registered users of DFS[i] and there were a total of 1,656 active agents in the country. As of 2016, our data shows that 18% of the adult Zambian population are active registered DFS users and there are a total of 12,307 active agents.

Zambia- Small but mighty

When it comes to DFS, what many do not realize is that Zambia was the earliest adopter of DFS in Africa. Way before Safaricom launched M-Pesa in Kenya in 2006, Celpay had launched Zap in Zambia in 2002. Fast forward to 14 years later and the Zambian DFS market is competitive and diverse. We have three mobile network operators – Airtel, MTN and Zamtel who are offering mobile money services. We have several banks/MFIs – Ecobank, FINCA, FNB, Investrust and Zanaco that offer agency banking and popular mobile applications. We also have several third party operators – like 543 Konse Konse, Kazang and Zoona. For a market of 16 million people and approximately 9 million adults, we’ve got loads of innovation and competition. Zambian may be small, but it is mighty when it comes to DFS. And what we are learning is that not only does Zambia have a lot to learn from its peers in Africa and elsewhere, but the world has a lot to learn from Zambia.

Pollyanna & Discovery

While we are driven by the optimism of our colleagues in this work, we don’t take a “Pollyanna” approach. We recognize the great challenges that the DFS Ecosystem faces – especially the low population density of 27 people per square kilometer. But for each challenge that the market faces, we have also made fascinating discoveries on how the market is testing ways to address these challenges.

  • While meaningful awareness remains one of the biggest challenges to the uptake of DFS… Providers and Ecosystem players are testing cheaper, more effective ways of customer education (e.g., IVR).
  • While low profitability and liquidity of agent networks continues to be a challenge… There will soon be new financial products to improve liquidity management for agents across Zambia.
  • While there is still a low level of demand to digitize bulk payments both in the one-to-many and many-to-one space… To our surprise, the Government Payments Diagnosis has spurred bulk payments to be prioritized in 2 top DFS providers in Zambia.
  • While there are regulatory gaps and uneven levels of knowledge regarding DFS by BoZ and other relevant regulators… Regulators are open to dialogue, and responsive to private sector needs, especially when voiced collectively.

Looking to the future: What are our big bets?

As we look to our past, what we are seeing across the globe and the successes and challenges in this market, we’ve identified four “big bets” that we think will be game changers.

Partnerships. The coolest products you are starting to see in the market are all because of partnerships – the Kazang partnership with Azuri Solar, MTN Kongola credit product, the Zoona Sunga Wallet, the upcoming FINCA agent liquidity product. The more the market can figure out how to leverage each other strengths and weaknesses, the better the products that will be coming out of the system that meet the needs of Zambians.

Taking a Silcon Valley, Human Centered Design approach to testing. We are seeing this transform Skeptics to Believers, and more importantly helping DFS providers like Airtel and Zoona meet KPIs in customer uptake and usage!

A Wallet for What? We want to help the DFS Ecosystem crack the nut on providing sustainable, affordable services to those underserved -- especially women and those in rural areas. Through digital financial services, we want to see all Zambians have improved access to their basic needs, including power, water, education and quality agricultural inputs- all at an affordable cost.

DFS can drive Connectivity in rural areas. What we are finding from our colleagues in MM4P Uganda is that introducing digital financial services to underserved areas can spur increased usage of other mobile-enabled services, driving a completely different business case for Mobile Network Operators than ever considered. Putting up a cell phone tower in areas that previously were brushed off as “never never land” can change the game.

UNCDF MM4P’s vision for Zambia is to put the needs, wants and aspirations of Zambians at the center of DFS product design, agent liquidity and the policy and regulatory environment. What do you think our Zambians depicted below are thinking about? How can we help them achieve their aspirations?

This blog was originally written for ICTworks and published on September 6, 2017.

Nandini is a Regional Technical Specialist, responsible for the implementation of the United Nations Capital Development Fund Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) Digital Finance country strategy in Zambia. Partnering with Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), she is leading a team focused on increasing financial inclusion through digital finance. She is also leading MM4P’s efforts in Malawi.


[i] Based on Bank of Zambia data

 

For more information, please contact
Nandini Harihareswara
Regional Technical Specialist, Digital Finance
Uloma Ogba
KM Consultant, Zambia
Additional Information
Nandini Harihareswara
Regional Technical Specialist, Digital Finance

Senegal Annual Monitor 2016

Digital Financial Services

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 10:12 -- anna.ferracuti

The digital financial services market in Senegal is evolving on several fronts. Besides traditional financial service providers, the market has also seen the rise of numerous fintechs in sectors such as payment aggregation, goods vouchers, crowdfunding, mAgri and mHealth, to name a few.

Zambia: 20.000 refugees to profit from DFS solutions

Digital Financial Services

Zambia: 20.000 refugees to profit from DFS solutions

Kicking off research on potential DFS solutions to increase financial inclusion for migrants
August 28 , 2017

Meheba Refugee Settlement

Meheba Refugee Settlement, ZAMBIA - 

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. That visit made me rethink everything I thought I knew about migration, freedom of mobility, human rights and access to services that I took for granted.

In the 9 months that have passed since our initial visit, UNCDF and UNHCR have laid the groundwork for a project to develop, and test market-led DFS solutions to transition the Cash-Based Interventions (CBI) within the Meheba refugee settlement to digital (electronic) payments. The objective is to create a thriving and sustainable DFS ecosystem where refugees can have safe and easy access to affordable financial services that could potentially transform their lives such as ability to send and receive money, pay bills such as school fees and access savings and credit facilities.

As we made our way back to Meheba for a second time on August 14th, 2017, it was with a sense of hope and determination. This time, we were coming with good news. Working with UNHCR, the Ministry of Community Development, and the Office of the Commissioner of Refugees in collaboration with DFS consulting firm MicroSave, for the next 8 months, we will spend time doing field research with the residents of Meheba to determine what the proposed DFS solution could look like. We will be talking to and training all the key personnel involved in the CBI program. We will identify and on board one or more DFS providers to implement and test the proposed solution. Hopefully, 8 months from now, we will be able to report back with great news-that the recipients of CBIs and indeed every one of the over 20,000 refugees in the settlement (including current and former refugees and low-income Zambians who have been resettled in the camp) now have access to financial services that previously did not exist.

However, the second journey did not come without surprises. As time has passed, some refugees have left the camp and new arrivals have been received, staff from UNHCR and Ministry of Community Development and Social Services have transitioned to new roles or moved on changing some of our key counterparts in the settlement. This means that we will need to rebuild the knowledge and trust, not just of us but also of DFS.

As we presented the objectives and scope of the project to the field team who are on the ground, day in and day out, working to ensure that the CBI program remains operational and effective, it was encouraging to see their level of excitement and engagement.

Stay tuned and follow us on this journey as we keep you updated on the progress of the project. 

By Uloma Ogba, UNCDF MM4P Knowledge Management Consultant.

For more information, please contact
Uloma Ogba
Knowledge Management Consultant
Additional Information
Uloma Ogba
Knowledge Management Consultant

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