During the closing day of European Microfinance Week, Karima Wardak of the UN Capital Development Fund argued that copying digital financial services from country to country is not working. The same is true of country-specific “products that were designed in board room,” she said. Gilda Zarate Chabluk of Innate Motion, a consultancy with staff in 27 countries, launched the discussion of how concepts of human-centered design can sidestep these problems. All staff involved in a project should observe and talk to end-users early in the design process. She suggests a meeting at the home of the end-user that lasts about two hours, with most of that time focused on the user’s life rather than the product. The idea is to create the product with the users not for the
Telma Mobile, a Madagascar-based telecommunications company, recently rolled out the Mvola Avance and Epargne products, which offer loans and savings services, respectively, through the pre-existing Mvola mobile money service. With Mvola Avance, customers can borrow from MGA 1,000 to MGA 500,000 (USD 0.30 to USD 157) for
Mastercard, a US-based payment processing company, and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda, an affiliate of the nonprofit FSD Africa, recently entered a memorandum of understanding to create
KCB Bank Rwanda, a subsidiary of the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group, recently announced the creation of Mobiloan, a platform that allows customers to access
The Tanzanian affiliate of the US-based Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International) recently began offering a service called HaloYako that allows people to open savings accounts via mobile phones. There is no fee to use the service or maintain the associated account. In fact, customers can earn
Singapore-based alternative credit scoring firm MicroMoney and Netherlands-domiciled peer-lending NGO Karma recently announced a partnership to work toward their shared “mission to help billions of people to be financially included” in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. MicroMoney will access repayment data from
Geva Group, a financial technology firm headquartered in Panama City, Panama, recently
Home Finance Company (HFC) Bank, which is headquartered in Suva, Fiji, recently announced
At the SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference in Addis Ababa, a wide variety of vendors presented their wares. Among these were several core banking system providers. Antonio Separovic of Oradian previously had set the stage for the conversation at the fintech (financial technology) session organized by Dutch development bank FMO. He argued that microfinance institutions (MFIs) shouldn’t start by thinking about whether to buy a new system, but about where the MFI wants to go and how to get there. “Fintech may be able to reduce the friction to do these things,” he said.
Cameron Goldie-Scot of Musoni agreed: “It’s about what are the challenges in your organization? Is it too expensive to handle cash in rural areas? Do you have trouble getting
An entity managed by Switzerland’s responsAbility Investments recently purchased a stake of undisclosed size and price in Fawry, a mobile payments platform in Egypt. Fawry has 20 million customers, whom it enables to pay bills and make retail purchases via mobile phones, credit cards, automatic teller machines, accounts at 23 banks, and point-of-sale machines at 65,000
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a telecommunications company owned by the government of India, and Indian “mobile wallet platform provider” Mobikwik recently announced a
Event Name: Alternative Finance Forum
Event Location: Copernicus Conference Centre; Warsaw, Poland
Summary of Event: This forum aims to “introduce new forms of financial services” while covering topics including equity-based crowdfunding, social impact bonds, online lenders to small businesses and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The event has support from the European Union and its European Investment Bank Institute.
Humaniq, a London-based technology company, recently announced the launch of its “blockchain-powered financial inclusion app,” which allows users to send and receive money. Humaniq has
Acleda Bank, a commercial bank in Cambodia, recently launched a digital wallet app called Acleda Unity ToanChet
CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit policy and research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, is seeking submissions of original photographs for its annual competition, which aims to highlight the positive effects of microfinance.
Paytm, an Indian electronic payment and e-commerce company with 220 million users, recently raised INR 90 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in equity by selling nearly 20 percent of its shares to SoftBank Group, a Japanese conglomerate operating in the technology and energy sectors.
Vodacom, a unit of UK-based Vodafone Group Plc that provides mobile communications services to 61 million subscribers in Africa, is paying Vodafone ZAR 34.6 billion (USD 2.6 billion) for a 34.94-percent stake in Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile network operator.
South African technology firm AxMe International Services recently expanded its SureBüddy insurance application to Uganda, allowing users in that country to view advertisements in return for no-cost insurance for their mobile phone screens.