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A Tale of Two Markets

For people in sub-Saharan Africa getting by on $2-$5/day, on the cusp of poverty but not yet secured in Africa’s middle class, are economic challenges more easily weathered in formal or informal markets?
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Youth Programs as a Path to Financial Inclusion in South Africa

An interview with Mmapula Portia Kekana, Director for Employment Assistance at South Africa’s National Department of Social Development, which strives to link social welfare recipients to poverty alleviation programs and economic opportunities.
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How Absa Bank Empowered its Customers through Games

A case study from Absa Bank in South Africa demonstrates how games can help empower their customers and encourage them to use mobile financial services.
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Lessons on Leadership: Turning Banking Upside Down

Financial service providers shouldn't try to be all things to all customers, says Brian Richardson, founding director and CEO of South Africa-based WIZZIT. Watch the video interview for insights on how financial service providers can become more customer-centric.
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Prioritizing Complaints Handling with Third Party Ombudsmen

More and more countries are realizing the importance of establishing proper mechanisms for handling complaints within financial institutions and establishing proper external or third party recourse systems through ombudsman schemes.
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FinMark Trust and Financial Market Development in South Africa

At a time when neither the government nor the private sector in South Africa were clear about the obstacles to reaching the base of the pyramid with financial services, FinMark Trust demonstrated how an effective market facilitator can develop an evidence base to inform policy and approaches.
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Tailoring Formal Financial Products for the Poor

In our last post, we shared findings from the South African, Bangladeshi and Indian Financial Diaries that built the case for formal and informal financial services serving different purposes in the portfolios of the poor. We found that the two should be viewed as complements rather than alternatives to each other.
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Beyond the Mzansi Account in South Africa – Targeting Usage

Between 2004 and 2008 the percentage of banked South African adults increased from 46% to 63%. This feat was driven primarily by the six million Mzansi accounts that were opened over that period – two-thirds of which by people that had never before had a bank account. However, approximately 30% of these were inactive. This post explores the importance of understanding the financial needs of low income clients, and how business models need to adapt to meet those needs on an economically viable basis.
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How to Save Lives and Lower Fuel Consumption: Clean Cookstoves

Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires – the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly 3 billion people in the developing world – causes 2 million premature deaths annually, with women and children the most affected.
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Are Retailers Better Positioned to Offer Financial Services?

In our first post in this series on the role of consumer goods retailers in financial inclusion, we discussed how retailers are similar to MNOs in their ability to reach unbanked customers. However, the opportunity for financial inclusion via organized retail, while significant, is not present in every country and not necessarily for every type of retailer.
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Branchless Banking Country Notes

Over the past several months, we have taken a close look at the branchless banking industry in our focus countries.
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Bank-led or Mobile-led Financial Inclusion?

Payments are an optimal gateway product for financially underserved households. Unlike credit, insurance, and savings, payments do not require trust by either party.
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The Last Frontier for Branchless Banking: State of Play in WAEMU

Access to finance in WAEMU is very low, even by comparison to other regions of Africa. The rate of bancarization announced by the BCEAO in December 2010 was 9.5% and 12.7% of the population had an account with an MFI.
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Branchless Banking in South Africa

South Africa has often been used as a case study by those with an interest in financial inclusion. The country has an advanced banking infrastructure with nearly 10,000 ATMs and over 100,000 POS devices deployed.
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A Bold Move Toward Simplifying AML/CFT: Lessons from Mexico

Regulators around the world today are beginning to realize that the chances of expanding access through branchless banking can be very limited without reducing the account-opening requirements through agents and mobile phones. The challenge is to strike the right balance between reducing account-opening requirements while maintaining basic controls for AML/CFT.
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Focus on Product, Pricing and Agents to Drive Adoption

CGAP’s Branchless Banking Database synthesizes a mass of data into a short 12-image “story” about what branchless banking is and the key hurdles we face in 2011. We’ve converted that into a three-part series, which we conclude today.
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Branchless Banking Has a Volume Problem

CGAP’s Branchless Banking Database synthesizes a mass of data into a short 12-image “story” about what branchless banking is and the key hurdles we face in 2011. We’ve converted that into a three-part series, which we continue today.
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Debt Stress – A Harmless Cold or a Deadly Virus?

High debt stress holds serious risk for both consumers and for the lending industry.
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Legally, How Young Is Too Young to Open a Savings Account?

In most countries, youth under the age of 18 are typically prevented from independently opening a savings account because few banks are willing to offer any financial services without requiring a signed contract.
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Social Protection and Financial Inclusion

The 2010 Global Expert Colloquium on Savings and CCTs was co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Citi, UNDP, New America Foundation and Proyecto Capital.