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4 Ways Platforms are Driving Financial and Economic Inclusion in Kenya

Jessica Osborn

There are hundreds of platforms operating across Africa. Some, like Jumia and OLX, connect providers and buyers of goods, others like Lynk and Hello Tractor connect providers and buyers of local services. There are platforms for online workers, such as KuHustle and Upwork, and there are platforms in the business of attention, like Facebook and

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Digital finance and MSMEs—The initial story of how and when digital finance works for MSMEs

Niamh Barry

MSMEs face a range of challenges, one of which is access to financial services that meet their specific needs.

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Digital Payments and Transfers (P2P): The evolving story of how and when digital payment products work

Niamh Barry

Last year we shared the impact story so far on person-to-person payments and transfers (P2P). The latest update of the EGM has folded in three additional P2P studies.

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Digital credit — The evolving story of how and when digital credit products work

Niamh Barry

New credit studies contribute to previous insights relating to the use of SMS for improved borrowing behavior and add new insights on longer-term outcomes where very few previously existed.

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Digital savings — The evolving story of how and when digital savings products work

Niamh Barry

Gaps in our knowledge remain in product design and delivery, markets, and clients segments; by filling these gaps and improving how digital savings products are tested, the digital savings community will be able to develop better products and deliver them more effectively.

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Inching closer to understanding the digital finance impact question

Niamh Barry

As impact evidence grows, so should our understanding of the impact of various digital finance products on low income users. We've launched the third addition of our EGM, revealing new insights with almost double the studies since 2017.

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MSMEs Are the Backbone of Developing Economies: New Research Shows How Digital Platforms Can Boost Their Impact

Annabel Schiff

The world’s working-age population is growing – and nowhere more rapidly than in sub-Saharan Africa. To keep pace with this growing population, 600 million new jobs must be created globally over the next 15 years. That’s a tall order, but micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are making this goal achievable. MSMEs are the backbone of most economies worldwide, and they play a key role in developing countries, according to the United Nations.

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Reimagining informality leads to opportunities for lending and insurance

Jessica Osborn

One of the most significant potential benefits digital platforms offer for financial inclusion is in redefining what it means to be an informal merchant or worker. Most Africans participate in the informal economy, sometimes beyond the purview of the state and tax authorities and often without secure contracts, benefits, or social protections.

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How financial exclusion and lack of trust hamper e-commerce platform models

Marissa Dean

Faced with a customer base that lacks bank accounts or who do not trust online payments, many e-commerce platforms have developed tools and processes that allow customers to pay in cash for most transactions. In this note, I argue that while this strategy is fueling growth in transaction volumes and active customers, issues with fraud, failed deliveries and late/uncollected receivables stemming from the use of cash are opening platforms up to substantial losses. Additionally, e-commerce platforms have not been as proactive as they could be in launching strategies to onboard and pay financially excluded merchants and workers. This misstep is probably limiting the number of merchants that would be selling on e-commerce platforms if mobile money or easier conversions...

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Digital platforms offer new opportunities for innovative African banks to grow

Marissa Dean

E-commerce and online labor platforms could be good business partners for African financial services providers. This is especially true for banks whose scale makes them prime partners for digital platforms. Similarly, banks and other financial institutions stand to benefit from the large numbers of consumers and producers on platforms’ growing networks.

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Three pain points of African platforms adding financial services to their business models

Marissa Dean

There are several important challenges that digital platform businesses are facing when trying to integrate financial services into their business models, but we saw three themes emerge from our recent research highlighting areas where Africa platforms are struggling.

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Three important ways platforms are changing the landscape for financial inclusion

Marissa Dean

In 2018 FiDA Partnership conducted interviews with several key platforms in Africa looking at how platform business models are evolving in terms of financial services. This blog discusses three important ways that platforms are changing the landscape for financial inclusion

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Three business model changes to make African platforms work better for financially excluded workers and merchants

Marissa Dean

As we explored platform business models, we found examples of practices that we hypothesize could impede the participation of the financially excluded. We discuss considerations for improving several business practices that could be problematic for financial inclusion, and we highlight three problems and offer suggestions for organizations to consider or areas for researchers to explore more deeply

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Why African platforms are adding financial services to their business models

Marissa Dean

Why would a tractor company need to be in the insurance business? Why would a ride-hailing company start offering credit? It’s actually an old story. From store credit cards in the US and carnês de loja in Brazil, to Ally Financial—the bank started by General Motors—the line between financial services and consumer goods and services has always been blurry. We’re seeing this again: in the recent wave of platformization, platforms are getting into the finance game to support their core business.

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Transformational Upskilling: How teaching skills to digital platform users can increase value for all

FiDA Partnership

Platforms—a dozen massive ones, and perhaps 500 smaller ones—play an increasingly critical role in the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world. In almost every economic sector, platforms have introduced new “multi-sided” markets, matching buyers and sellers in attention, goods, services, and labor at massive scales. Websites and electronic supply chains are replacing bazaars and storefronts. Gig work is augmenting salaried work. Algorithms and finely-tuned digital user experiences are supercharging traditional buyer/seller relationships.

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DFS use among digital Kenyans

Bryan Pon

The report is based on a representative sample of 1,000 Kenyans with data-enabled mobile phones—“Digital Kenyans”—gathered between September and November 2017 by Caribou Data.

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What forward-looking considerations could impact conversational interfaces in the future?

Kishor Nagula

In this post we highlight factors that might influence how conversational interfaces (CIs) are viewed, used, and interacted with across emerging markets in the future.

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Conversational Interfaces: Revenue Models

Kishor Nagula

It is often easier and less costly for CI providers to white label their conversational interface to a revenue partner rather than go direct to customer.

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MoMo: The Orange Money Digital Assistant

Guest Post

This is post number 4 of the Conversational Interfaces Blog Series and has been prepared by Teller Technologies, Inc., with whom some of our research was conducted, based on their pilot with Orange Money Madagascar.

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Partnership Considerations for Conversational Interfaces

Kishor Nagula

Conversational interfaces (CIs) are currently being deployed to help extend access to financial education and services across emerging markets with strong results. In one pilot in Tanzania, CGAP found that farmers who used Arifu’s interactive learning platform saved at rates five times that of farmers who did not use the platform. Although these findings are preliminary, they suggest these tools have a significant potential to change behavior.

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The role of language in the construction of a Conversational Interface

Kishor Nagula

As mentioned in the primer, using CIs to interact with customers through freeform African languages can be challenging given the limited amount of localized digital content to source.

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Criteria to consider when choosing between SMS and messaging applications when building a conversational interface

Kishor Nagula

Though functionally similar, it’s important to understand how SMS and messaging applications differ prior to engagement.

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Introduction to the Conversational Interfaces Blog Series

Kishor Nagula

As the cost of accessing the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence drops, more and more organizations are depending on technology to reduce the cost and improve the quality of core business functions. By leveraging this technology in interactive conversations via conversational interfaces (CIs), customers across different demographics can now receive current, guided assistance, whether they want to know more about the latest agricultural practices or new financial services.

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What can Nigeria learn from China’s digital economy? Insights on big data, mobile payments, and what China’s model means for financial inclusion in Nigeria

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog is authored by Ashley Lewis, Investment Officer, West Africa and South Africa, Accion Venture Lab with support from Tunde Kehinde, co-founder of Accion Venture Lab portfolio company Lidya.

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Wrapping up the Evidence Gap Map impact insights series—The value of community and conversation

Niamh Barry

The FiDA partnership launched version 2.0 of the Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM) in October 2018. With 55 studies examining 60 products, there are many insights to navigate. To show the types of analysis the EGM makes possible, we published a number of impact insights on a range of topics.

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Four things to be aware of in the search for digital finance impact

Niamh Barry

In previous insight pieces on savings, credit, and, Person-to-Person (P2P) transfers, we synthesized what we learned from studies in the Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM) using a product lens. However, the product lens is just one perspective, and the digital finance impact landscape is more varied and layered than this. Here we share four factors that digital finance researchers should consider when testing the impact of a digital finance product.

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Fiction or future for platformization? The implications we explored with banks, fintechs, and MNOs

Alina Kaiser

Platforms are a hot topic and for good reason. The digital “platformization” of markets is one of the defining forces of change in the shift to digital economies. Facebook and Google have leveraged network effects in social media and search to grow massive multi-sided markets in attention and advertising. Innovators such as Upwork, Uber and Kuhustle are revolutionizing the world of work. Amazon, Alibaba and Jumia are fundamentally changing how merchants sell to customers. These platforms are not only transforming online experiences but have real-world implications for users and the markets in which they work.

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Digital payments and transfers—the P2P impact story

Niamh Barry

There were 690 million registered mobile money accounts as of December 2017. The digitization of a pre-existing behavior—sending and receiving money—is clearly valued in many markets. The digital finance community now has more than 10 years of person to person (P2P) experience on which to reflect: What have we learned about the impact of P2P on clients?

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Digital Credit—What do we know about the impact on clients?

Niamh Barry

This post has been co-authored by Niamh Barry from the FiDA Partnership, and Natasha Beale, Carson Christiano, and Alexandra Wall from the Digital Credit Observatory (DCO) at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA).

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Digital savings—what do we know about the impact on clients?

Niamh Barry

FiDA is publishing a mini series on various insights derived from an analysis of the latest Evidence Gap Map (EGM) update. This is the second blog, others will include impact insights on digital credit and payments and transfers, the design and delivery of various products, and where (people and location) we have been looking for impacts.

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Can your personality get you a credit score?

Maha Khan

Imagine you have just completed a job and are owed money. Your client offers you a delayed payment option where instead of receiving $14,000 today, you will receive $20,000 in six months. Which option do you take?

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Launching the Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map 2.0

Niamh Barry

FiDA launched the first Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM) in November 2017 with 40 studies, covering 41 different products. A year on, the EGM includes 55 studies, covering 60 products. Each year reveals more insights on the impact of various digital finance products.

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AI and Big Data have transformed digital finance in China. Can they do the same in sub-Saharan Africa?

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog has been co-authored by David del Ser, Practice Director at Bankable Frontier Associates and David Edelstein, Senior Director at FiDA Partnership

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Can China’s Ethos of Collaboration Work for Africa?

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog was authored by Annabel Schiff - Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership - with input from Lesley Denyes - Program Manager and Digital Finance Specialist at IFC

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How to study MSMEs in the digital era

Jonathan Donner

In the coming months the FiDA team will be conducting new research at the intersection of two broad themes: financial inclusion in the platform era and enterprises and financial inclusion.

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How can platforms improve financial inclusion in Africa?

Marissa Dean

The Internet does platforms well. By the late 1990s, eBay was growing like gangbusters, partly—but famously—by hosting the exuberant exchange of beanie babies among collectors. Later, Facebook and Google leveraged network effects in social media and search to grow massive multi-sided markets in attention and advertising. More recently, innovators like Alibaba (direct to consumer sales) and hundreds of others are changing not only online experiences but also real-world livelihoods and economies impacting billions of people around the world.

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Tipping the Scale: Can Social Media Drive DFS Adoption and Use?

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog was co-authored by Adaora Ogbue, Associate Programme Manager at Mastercard Foundation and Renita Nabisubi, Head of Digital Financial Services at Access to Finance Rwanda

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Unpacking the Impact Question in China’s Superplatforms

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog was written by Lamia Naji, Associate Manager, Learning and Strategy at Mastercard Foundation, & Xavier Faz, Lead, Digital Finance Frontiers at CGAP

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You Can’t Clap with One Hand: How Collaboration Drives China’s FinTech Success

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog was written by Lesley Denyes - Program Manager and Digital Finance Specialist at IFC and Annabel Schiff - Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership - with input from Jessica Osborn, Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership

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Barriers and Bridges to Building Africa’s Digital Silk Road

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog written by Sieka Gatabaki, Financial Services Manager at MercyCorps Agrifin Accelerate Program in Kenya with contributions from Annabel Schiff -Senior Manager, Partners at the FiDA Partnership.

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The Digital Silk Road: Lessons from Last Mile Distribution in China

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog is authored by Stephen Deng, co-founder at DFS Labs, an early-stage fintech accelerator for emerging markets

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What LulaLend Learnt from Fintech in China

FiDA Partnership China Blog Series

This blog was written by Neil Welman, Co-founder and CTO of LulaLend

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WeChat, You Chat, We All Chat: the importance of social media and entertainment for digital finance

Jessica Osborn

This blog was co-authored by Jessica Osborn and Annabel Schiff, both Senior Manager, Partners for the FiDA Partnership

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Eight things we learned in China driving Fintech fortune

Jessica Osborn

In May, the FiDA Partnership took 26 leaders from Africa’s digital finance industry to China to learn about their unprecedented FinTech boom. The week was immersive and intense, designed to allow participants to escape the boardroom and experience Chinese digital life firsthand on the streets of Beijing, in the mom-and-pop stores of Hangzhou, and the on factory floors of Guangdong. In this blog, we reflect on the key lessons.

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Eye in the sky, maize on the ground

Maha Khan

Richard is a smallholder maize farmer in Western Kenya. He used to borrow money from his family or friends to buy essential inputs to grow maize—seed, fertilizer, and equipment—because he couldn’t access a formal loan from a bank. Most banks consider him a high risk client because of his low-income and lack of credit history. Recently though, Richard obtained a $50 loan for his farming business. By processing and analyzing satellite imagery on his farmland and cropping cycle, in combination with other alternative data, a lending organization was able to assess his creditworthiness.

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Virtue and value in mobile operator big data

Marissa Dean

This guest blog was jointly authored by Marissa Dean (FiDA) and Jake Kendall. Jake Kendall is the Director of the Digital Financial Services Lab (DFS Lab), ​an early-stage accelerator delivering innovative fintech solutions to the developing world.

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What are the opportunities for and threats to the growth of digital financial services?

Janet Shulist

The digital ecosystem—a collection of organizations, individuals, and policies that enable and deliver digital financial services—is rapidly evolving due to increased smartphone penetration in emerging markets and innovation in mobile technologies. How will this shift help or hinder innovation and development of digital financial services? FiDA’s Snapshot 13, The opportunities for and threat to the

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Building a healthy digital ecosystem

Lara Gilman

Snapshot 12: “Building the infrastructure for a healthy digital financial ecosystem” addresses one of the key questions of FiDA’s Learning Theme 12. Each Learning Theme addresses a range of topics within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes the digital finance community’s knowledge of these learning themes as “Snapshots” that cover topics at the

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Getting off the methods pedestal—how can we assess the impact of Digital Finance on clients?

Niamh Barry

Snapshot 15:’ “Approaches to determining the impact of digital finance programs” addresses one of the key questions of FiDA’s 16 Learning Themes. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes the digital finance community’s knowledge of these Learning Themes as “Snapshots” that cover topics at the client, institution, ecosystem, and impact levels. Spoiler: Snapshot 15: “Approaches to determining the

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Is digital finance changing the lives of the “excluded” for the better?

Niamh Barry

Snapshot 4: “How do advances in digital finance interact with dynamics of exclusion?” addresses one of the key questions of FiDA’s Learning Themes. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes the digital finance community’s knowledge of these Learning Themes as “Snapshots” that cover topics at the client, institution, ecosystem, and impact levels to present “current insights” about the

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The state of the Mobile Money industry in 2017

GSMA

This guest blog was written by Francesco Pasti, Senior Manager of Mobile Money Services at GSMA. Numerous new trends emerged in mobile money throughout 2017 – from the accelerated growth of bank-to-mobile interoperability, to the emergence of South Asia as the fastest growing region, and a raft of innovations designed to reach the most underserved. The

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What makes a successful commercial partnership?

Maha Khan

Snapshot 10: “What makes a successful commercial partnership?” addresses one of the key questions of FiDA’s Learning Theme 10. Each Learning Theme addresses a range of topics within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes the digital finance community’s knowledge of these learning themes as “Snapshots” that cover topics at the client, institution, ecosystem,

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Can big data shape financial services in East Africa?

Marissa Dean

Every minute of every day millions of users in Africa create digital data. This new data is creating opportunities for alternative “big data” to catalyze an expansion of financial services to low-income and hard to reach populations. FiDA’s Snapshot 9, “Best Practices in Big Data Analytics” and FiDA’s Focus Note, “Can Big Data Shape Financial

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Synthesizing impact evidence for digital finance—our methodology

Niamh Barry

The Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM) Methodology Paper is a companion to the interactive EGM. The EGM summarises the evidence of the effects of digital finance products on various clients, their households, and their communities. Systematic reviews can take several forms. However the use of logical and transparent methods to identify and assess studies

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Untangling the impact evidence for digital finance products

Niamh Barry

The Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa (FiDA) are thrilled to introduce the Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM)  and the Digital Finance EGM Analysis: Paving the Impact Pathway report, which we believe fill a critical gap in knowledge about the impact of digital financial products on resource-constrained clients. Why we developed these resources

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Exploring the use of digital financial services in daily life

Annabel Schiff

Snapshot 3: “How do clients use digital finance in daily life and daily practice?” is one of 16 learning themes designed to address a range of topics within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes and disseminates the digital finance community’s knowledge of each of these learning themes as “Snapshots” that cover topics at

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Does digital finance really address low-income customers’ needs?

Maha Khan

Last month, we made our first foray into sharing, collaborating and cross promoting with the wider ecosystem as Next Billion published a piece we wrote on on whether digital finance is really addressing the needs of low-income customers. The numbers don’t lie: Digital finance has gained remarkable traction globally, with over 170 million active mobile

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The incessant struggle: incentivizing customers to keep value digital

Annabel Schiff

Snapshot 6: “How can users begin to keep value digital, longer?” is one of 16 learning themes designed to address a range of topics within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes and disseminates the digital finance community’s knowledge of each of these learning themes as “Snapshots” that cover topics at the client, institution,

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Is big data a big deal?

Maha Khan

Snapshot 9: “Best Practices in Big Data Analytics” is one of 16 learning themes designed to address a range of topics within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes, and disseminates the digital finance community’s knowledge of each of these learning themes as “Snapshots” that cover client, institution, ecosystem, and impact level topics. The

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Intermediated use of digital finance: cause for concern or celebration?

Annabel Schiff

Snapshot 7: “What are the roles of intermediated and shared use?” is one of 16 learning themes designed to address a range of questions within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes and disseminates the digital finance community’s knowledge of each of these learning themes into “Snapshots” that cover a number of client, institution,

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Show me the money: is there a business case for digital finance providers?

Maha Khan

Learning Theme 8: What is the commercial landscape of digital finance? is one of 16 learning themes designed to address a range of questions within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes and disseminates the digital finance community’s knowledge of each of these learning themes into “Snapshots” that cover a number of client, institution,

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Investing in digital finance’s growth

Lara Gilman

Learning Theme 11: What ecosystem improvements will unlock investment in digital finance? is one of 16 learning themes designed to address a range of questions within the digital finance space. The FiDA Partnership synthesizes and disseminates the digital finance community’s knowledge of each of these learning themes into “Snapshots” that cover a number of client,

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The power of technology and the persistence of paper: An analysis of advances in digital finance UX

David Hutchful

Snapshot 5: “How can advances in UX and other emerging digital attributes help meet user needs and enhance user engagement and satisfaction?" is one of 16 Snapshots designed to address a range of questions within the digital finance space. Covering a number of client, institution, ecosystem, and impact level topics, the Snapshots give a current view

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Opportunities and challenges for financial inclusion in the shift to digital

David Edelstein

Last week, prior to the Symposium for Financial Inclusion in Accra, we formally launched the Mastercard Foundation’s Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa at a one day Learning Event at the Labadi Beach Hotel.  It was an exciting day for our team!  Here are some of the great resources that are now available: Learning

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Baffled by behaviors: understanding nuanced barriers to adoption

Annabel Schiff

Snapshot 2: “Which attitudes, behaviors, experiences, and beliefs—including non-digital and non-financial ones—influence DFS adoption and ongoing satisfaction?” is one of 16 Snapshots designed to address a range of questions within the digital finance space. These questions cover a number of client, institution, ecosystem, and impact level topics. The Snapshots give a current view of “What

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The struggles of success: addressing the poor’s financial needs through digital finance

Annabel Schiff

Snapshot 1: “Which Financial needs can be (and should be) addressed by DFS?” is one of 16 Snapshots designed to address a range of questions within the digital finance space. These questions cover a number of client, institution, ecosystem, and impact level topics. The Snapshots give a current view of “What we Know” about the topic

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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. Read now Learning Advances in Digital Finance 2017 The

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Paving the impact pathway: What do we know about the impact of digital financial services on low income clients?

Niamh Barry

To accompany the release of the first digital finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM), we undertook an in-depth review of the impact evidence for each digital finance product. “Digital Finance EGM Analysis: Paving the Impact Pathway” presents a synthesis of the findings from the impact studies in the EGM. Under each digital finance product, there is an outline of relevant impact studies, an analysis and summary of evidence by client outcomes. This level of analysis will enable the digital finance community to be strategic in our approach to product design and for commissioning and conducting needed research.

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Proudly introducing the Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa

David Edelstein

We are thrilled to formally launch The Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa!  The FiDA Partnership (the Partnership), established by the Financial Inclusion Program at The Mastercard Foundation (The Foundation), catalyzes knowledge and insights to promote meaningful financial inclusion in an increasingly digital world. Led and hosted by Caribou Digital, the Partnership

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