Water station, Bangladesh. Photo by Sohel Parvez Haque, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest Photo by Sohel Parvez Haque, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest

How Digital Finance Boosts Access to Basic Services

Access to clean water remains a luxury in many parts of the world. About 700 million people lack a clean water source, and it is estimated that 842,000 deaths per year could be prevented by improved access to water — a third of them children. One of the most difficult challenges in expanding access to clean water is helping water utilities become financially resilient in low-income areas, where revenue is generally low and operating costs are high. CGAP is exploring financial solutions that can help put water utilities on the path to sustainability by lowering costs. For example, prepaid water services similar to pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar loans can leverage digital payments and remote lockout technology to improve utilities’ ability to collect revenue, while advancing financial inclusion among poor customers.

Photo credit: Alessandra Argenti, World Bank
Publication

A growing number of water providers are experimenting with digital payments to reduce operational expenses and streamline service delivery. This paper extracts lessons learned from 25 water providers across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Slide Deck

Digital Finance for the Real Economy: Water

This presentation is part of a series that synthesizes what we have learned and our insights into the power and challenges of digital finance.
Photo credit: John Hogg Water Projects, Lesotho, Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ Photo credit: John Hogg
Publication

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.
Additional Resources
Water

Financial Inclusion and Water Blog Series

About 700 million people lack a clean water source. One of the most difficult challenges in expanding access to clean water is helping water utilities become financially resilient in low-income areas, where revenue is generally low and operating costs are high. In this blog series, CGAP explores financial solutions, such as pay-as-you-drink water services, that can help put water utilities on the path to sustainability.