Insights
August 2019
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FROM THE EDITOR

Dear RFILC members,

We would like to start the August edition of our newsletter with an interesting report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) titled: “Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa”. Innovation has made it possible for women around the world to conduct much more sophisticated transactions in an instant using only a mobile phone. African countries have been some of the pioneers in digital finance, and yet, across the continent, 400 million people, most of them women, still don’t have access to digital financial services. As a result, they are less likely to be able to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. This report is a blueprint for closing that gap and creating a world that is both more prosperous and more equal for everyone. It draws extensively on the lessons that the B&MGF has learned over the years on bolstering access and use of financial services for the poor, ever since it started engaging in this domain around fifteen years ago. The report identifies five key ways through which G7 countries can support African governments in their effort to foster the inclusion of more than 400 million people in the digital economy for the first time. 

The second highlight of this month is a report from FinAccess titled: “Inclusive Finance? Headline Findings From FinAccess 2019”. This report illustrates the result of a national household survey (now at its fifth iteration) on access and usage of financial services in Kenya. The survey seeks to contribute to Kenya’s overall market development by providing more detailed and insightful information to those who are responsible for shaping the future of the sector—policymakers and regulators, industry players, analysts and researchers and consumer groups. The report takes a deeper look at the findings in the survey, generating a series of key questions for consideration in the development of an inclusive financial sector that is economically relevant for the needs of all Kenyans. Its aim is to encourage both policymakers and industry providers to dive deeper into the available data, to extract valuable lessons that can contribute to market development. The goal of FinAccess is not simply to measure finance inclusion, but to provide insights into how finance needs to change.

Finally, the 4th edition of the “Back to Boulder: Enhancing Strategic Relevance in Microfinance Program” will take place in Washington, DC, on December 2-6, hosted by the International Finance Corporation. Development practitioners that work in the field of financial inclusion currently face some kind of a conundrum when engaging with microfinance: on one hand, in many microfinance markets at national level there are large amounts of still unbanked individuals that could be targeted as potential clients, on the other, certain pockets of said markets have in fact become oversaturated and highly challenging to enter. This program brings together leaders from within and outside of the microfinance community, as well as international experts in leadership and change management, to provide participants with practical tools, cases and experiences in the areas of risk governance, digital financial services and enhanced competitiveness. Over the course of 32 academic hours, participants will have the chance to learn from a faculty of 15 renowned experts. The program is designed to be highly interactive in order to maximize opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and leverage participants’ own exceptional experiences. For registration, please click here.  

With best regards,
The RFILC editorial team

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The Rural Finance and Investment Learning Centre is a part of the CABFIN Partnership Project which aims to promote and facilitate capacity building in rural finance. The concerns of rural finance are to ensure that people living in rural areas have access to financial services such as deposit and money transfer facilities, insurance and loan products. Effective use of these services can help to improve livelihoods and reduce rural poverty. The following CABFIN Partners have provided financial support to the RFILC:

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