Three New Branchless Banking Projects in WAEMU

10 December 2014

CGAP Branchless Banking Challenge Fund Launches Three New Projects in WAEMU

Washington, 10 December 2014 - The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) announced today that it awarded close to $900,000 to support three projects aimed at reaching unbanked people in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) with a wide range of affordable, efficient and valuable financial services.

The CGAP Branchless Banking Challenge Fund, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, awarded funds to three organizations: Advans Cote d’Ivoire (CI), MFS Africa, and MoneyExpress.

The projects, which are already underway, were selected from 34 total proposals submitted to The Challenge Fund, which seeks to foster a well-informed branchless banking industry in WAEMU. Despite notable progress, the region still faces obstacles such as underdeveloped distribution networks, lack of customer activation, and inadequate product offerings.

  • In Cote d’Ivoire, Advans Cote d’Ivoire will develop a branchless banking solution adapted to cocoa cooperatives and farmers. The goal is to make payments to cooperatives and producers more secure to reduce the risks of physical flows of cash. This will also create opportunities to link farmers to financial services offered by Advans-CI.
  • In Cote d’Ivoire and Benin, MFS Africa will launch a micro-lending product called a mjara loan that will give clients access to a guaranteed loan based on a credit score derived from client history with mobile money transactions, other financial products, income, address, and other demographic information. The mjara loan will build off mobile wallet solutions in Cote d’Ivoire and Benin and will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions.
  • In Senegal, Money Express will launch NAFA a mobile banking platform enabling customers to pay bills, purchase goods and services, send money, and store funds. The solution will allow Money Express to leverage a large client base from its existing money transfer business, and to offer clients the opportunity to open a bank account with an MFI given its affiliation with CHAKA Group.

“The projects supported by this challenge fund are an excellent opportunity to support and power innovation in a rapidly changing branchless banking ecosystem,” notes Estelle Lahaye, Manager of the WAEMU branchless banking project at CGAP. “We are also excited about the learning potential these projects offer for deeper market development in the WAEMU region.”

Media Contact:
Erin Scronce
[email protected]

About CGAP
CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) is a global partnership of 34 leading organizations that seek to advance financial inclusion. CGAP develops innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with financial service providers, policy makers, and funders to enable approaches at scale. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP combines a pragmatic approach to responsible market development with an evidence-based advocacy platform to increase access to the financial services the poor need to improve their lives. More at

About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with over USD 9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 49 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation's programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO. For more information on the Foundation, please visit