Digital Finance Plus

"Lack of access to financial services is a significant barrier to many important services that contribute to development and social inclusion."

Digital Finance Plus aims to understand how digital finance can support innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in development, including:

The growth of digital finance is enabling new business models, financing schemes, and payment mechanisms that, when applied to the delivery of basic services, can help expand access to such services and improve the lives of low-income people. 

In the case of energy, for example, pay-as-you-go solar home systems are quickly changing this picture for many low-income households. Customers can finance a solar unit and make small payments on a recurring basis over the course of 12 or more months. Payments can be made by mobile money, and when a payment is made, the unit is automatically unlocked for an established period of time. The use of mobile money reduces the salesforce needed to collect payments and manually unlock systems. And what’s more, companies are now using this digital payment data to establish creditworthiness for other important financial services, such as education savings and loan products.

Tackling the world’s toughest development challenges and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals will require innovative solutions, underpinned by payments and financial services made possible and more effective through the use of digital finance. 

Topic Contact: Xavier Faz

Publications

26 April 2017
This Brief on digital finance in the water sector looks at how people currently access water service, and finds that it varies from urban to peri-urban to rural areas.
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English (4 pages)
11 October 2016
Innovations in digital finance can play a role in the Sustainable Development Goals' aim to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
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English (10 pages)

From Our Blog

An off-grid electric customer uses a solar lamp
01 June 2017
Are PAYgo solar companies a new breed of microfinance institution (MFI)? Many are engaged in a number of MFI-like activities and could benefit from lessons learned in the more mature MFI sector.
A student in primary school in Kampala
23 May 2017
7 comments
Mobile money can make paying school fees easier and cheaper, so why aren't more schools adopting it? Part of the solution could involve a simple app for inexpensive smartphones and tablets.