Savings at the Frontier Program: A talk with Sukhwinder Arora


25 March 2020 9:00 am - 10:00 am EDT
This event has concluded.

Savings at the Frontier (SatF) is a six and a half year program (2015-2022) that seeks to bridge the gap between the supply of formal financial services and informal savings mechanisms (ISMs), so that poor customers have a greater choice and use of financial services that best meet their needs. SatF is supporting nine Financial Services Providers (FSPs) in Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia to help them test and deepen commercial relationships with ISMs. The goal is to scale up financial services for at least 250,000 rural and semi-urban poor customers across these three countries via innovative FSP-led business models. SatF is also producing evidence and sharing learning that can contribute to the development of effective, scalable business models for financial services delivery in frontier markets. The program was launched in November 2015 and is a partnership between Mastercard Foundation and Oxford Policy Management (OPM). It is implemented by an OPM-led consortium and other OPM associates.  

In this Evidence and Impact webinar,  Sukhwinder Arora discussed his experience as team leader of the Savings at the Frontier program from 2015-2019. Specifically, he discussed his perspectives on the lessons from the SatF experience related to:

  • Promising strategies that the public sector can use to spark innovation among FSPs to scale savings services among poor people.
  • How savings can impact various dimensions of people’s well-being.

Two guest discussants also shared their perspectives on the SatF experience: Prabhat Labh, CEO of Grameen Foundation and Gerhard Coetzee, Customer Value Pillar Lead at CGAP.

Webinar Resources

Webinar presentation >>


Sukhwinder Arora

Sukhwinder Arora

Sukhwinder Arora is an associate of OPM and Director/Promoter of Arora Associates Limited UK. He has more than 30 years’ experience of scoping, designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating financial and private sector development projects in over 30 countries (mainly in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia). After completing Economic Honours from Delhi University, Sukhwinder joined a newly started Post Graduate Programme in Rural Management (1980-82) which sought to train professional managers for enterprises interested in social impact. After 21 years of socio-economic development work in India, Sukhwinder shifted to work on global financial inclusion/ financial sector development issues, and joined the DFID HQ based financial sector policy team in 2003. Sukhwinder worked as Private Sector Development Adviser for DFID during 1996-2007. Sukhwinder has served as team leader for a number of projects: Evaluation of the Mastercard-IFC Partnership for Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa; Mid Term Evaluation of FSD Africa (DFID); Development of Impact Oriented Measurement for FSDA and FSD Network (FSDA and CGAP); Evaluation of effectiveness of FMO funded (M)SME banks in South Asia; and implementation of Savings at the Frontier program (2015-20). He has contributed to two books: The Poor and their Money (with Stuart Rutherford) and Small Customer, Big Market: Commercial Banks in Microfinance (with Malcolm Harper); and served as chairman of UK Microfinance club during 2010-13.


Prabhat Labh

Prabhat Labh is the Chief Executive Officer of Grameen Foundation India. He is an international development expert with over two decades of experience in leading programs and initiatives across twenty countries in Asia, Africa and North America. Prabhat brings deep domain of knowledge in financial inclusion, enterprise development and livelihood sectors. Besides, he also serves on various boards, investment committees and advisory committees and is frequently called upon to speak at national and global events. Prabhat is passionate about innovative business models that leverage technology and customer-centricity to drive inclusion and financial wellbeing at scale.
Gerhard Coetzee

Gerhard Coetzee 

Gerhard Coetzee leads the customer value team at CGAP, including customer segments and insights, protection and value, and is also responsible for Gateway Academy, a digital learning platform. He is an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. Before CGAP, Mr. Coetzee was Head of Inclusive Banking at Absa Bank (South Africa) responsible for its branchless banking proposition, founder and Director of the Centre for Inclusive Banking in Africa, Professor in Agricultural Economics at the University of Pretoria, technical lead and CEO of a consulting firm (owned by DAI) and had several senior roles at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. His specialization areas are development finance, financial inclusion, agricultural finance, and rural development. He is published widely and has worked in several countries, the majority in Africa.