Global Landscape of Digital Finance Plus
As part of our work in Digital Finance Plus, we are sharing a preliminary database of companies and solutions innovating in the energy, water, education, health and agriculture sectors. We compiled this database based on desk research, first-hand interviews with companies in East Africa and South Asia, and conversations with investors. Angaza, Grundfos, and Kytabu, the companies we spoke with via Google Hangout, are all listed in this database. We will continue to modify this database as we hear about more individual companies operating in this space.
So far, we have identified 55 companies across the above mentioned sectors. Seventy percent are in Africa - over half are located in Kenya and Tanzania. The majority of the businesses are in energy and water. In energy, we have focused on companies who are innovating with financing for home solar systems providers and pico solar lamps. However, there are a number of micro-grid companies that we have not yet considered, especially in India where micro-grid solutions appear to be taking hold.
Solutions with the most transformative potential are those that provide both innovative technology for that sector (e.g., remote monitoring mechanisms) and financing solutions that go beyond enabling basic payments (e.g., more customized credit models based on usage patterns or even simple leasing options).
For example, in the energy sector, you could place on one end of the spectrum a utility company like Kenya Power which has improved bill payment collection and pricing by making it possible for people to pay their bills via mobile money. Companies like M-Kopa, Angaza and Mobisol that provide solutions with remote monitoring and lease-to-own financing options could be far more transformative when it comes to closing the last mile energy gap.
We’ve made the database publicly available in Google Docs. If you have suggestions for additional companies we should include, let us know in the comments section.
Kabir Kumar and Camilo Tellez-Merchan are both with the Technology and Business Model Innovation team at CGAP. They are leading the effort on Digital Finance Plus.