Announcing 2017’s report on Learning Advances in Digital Finance

Jonathan Donner

Today we are pleased to make the inaugural version of the Learning Advances in Digital Finance report available on the website. This document focuses on a series of “learning advances” identified during the first year of the Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa.

The report introduces two key concepts to frame the challenge of financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa: “Meaningful financial inclusion” (involving not only access, but also the effective use of a suite of financial services products), and the pursuit of these goals against the backdrop of an ongoing “shift to digital” both in financial services and in the broader economy.

The shift to digital, we argue, presents not simply a chance to pursue existing business models at better or lower costs. Instead it is both an opportunity and an imperative to reconfigure the role of financial services in enabling participation in the broader economy.

To illustrate these points, the document consists of interconnected chapters that operate at the three levels of the Partnership’s Theory of Change: client-level insights on “effective use,” institutional level business models, and the growth of open APIs in the ecosystem.

This document is best suited for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers in the digital finance community (especially those with an interest in financial inclusion), but given its modularity, elements of it can be read by anyone with an interest in client learning, emerging digital finance business models, or the suitability and promise of APIs in the African digital finance landscape.