Unlocking Rural CICO Agent Networks for Financial Inclusion


07 December 2023 8:00 am - 9:00 am EST
This event has concluded.

Digital financial services (DFS) have the potential to help low-income customers become more resilient to individual and climate shocks and capture investment opportunities that improve their well-being. However, realizing this potential requires the setup of crucial building blocks, such as far-reaching and inclusive Cash-In and Cash-Out (CICO) agent networks.

Expanding agent networks of the CICO system to remote rural areas, where most low-income customers reside, poses a significant challenge, as there is no one solution that fits all contexts.

During this webinar, we take stock of CGAP's research of agent networks at the last mile. We will explore the significance of CICO agent networks in achieving financial inclusion, the difficulties of extending CICO agent networks to rural areas, and present five key actions that DFS providers, policymakers, regulators, and funders can take to unlock the expansion of rural agent networks at scale. 

Download the presentation here


Co-founder & COO, Chari

Sophia Alj is the co-founder & COO of Chari, a B2B e-commerce app with embedded FinTech in French-speaking African countries. The app allows mom & pop shops to order any consumer goods they sell and get delivered for free while benefiting from financial services like payment, micro-credit, micro-insurance. Founded in January 2020, Chari has been growing at rocket speed over the last years. It recently received a payment institution license from the Central Bank of Morocco.

Whole-time Director & COO, Fino Paytech Limited

Amit Kumar Jain is a seasoned business leader with over 25 years of experience in various sectors, including banking, advertising, and manufacturing in India. Amit is the Whole-time Director & COO of Fino Paytech Limited, one of the pioneer Financial Inclusion Group in India with diverse regulated entities in Payments Bank & NBFC-MFI segments in India. The network provides Agency Banking through 1.5 million merchants who serves 94% of Zip Codes in India. The Group is one of the largest processors of Phy-gital transaction in India with many firsts to its credit.

Chief Product & Growth Officer, Papersoft

Hugo Pacheco is the Chief Product & Growth Officer at Papersoft, is a seasoned leader in technology-driven financial inclusion solutions, employing Human-Centric Design. With over 15 years of expertise in the financial sector, Hugo specializes in crafting and implementing innovative solutions for agency banking, identity tools, microfinance and agent network management across Africa. His passion lies in empowering underserved communities by ensuring financial services are accessible, convenient, and affordable, even in areas with limited connectivity and resources.


Senior Financial Sector Specialist

Emilio Hernandez explores digital financial solutions for last-mile clients. He leads work on inclusive digital distribution networks and the impact financial inclusion has on poor people’s lives. He provides technical guidance to better understand the financial behavior and needs of underserved client groups, like smallholder families, and to experiment with providers on innovative strategies and products that meet those needs.

Before joining CGAP, Emilio led technical cooperation programs focused on inclusive rural and agricultural finance at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations overseeing field interventions in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He also oversaw business operations for a large international agricultural technology company throughout Central America. He has a Doctorate degree in Agricultural Economics and Development Finance from The Ohio State University.