As the largest among the fast-growing economies of Africa, Nigeria is a promising market for mobile financial services. More than 80 percent of adults have access to a mobile phone and a sizeable number (64 percent) own their phones. In addition, there are now more than 20 licensed operators providing services across the country. Yet, mobile money has not taken off as expected, though almost 57 percent of Nigerian adults (50 million people) have no access to formal financial services. According to a Financial Inclusion Insights study conducted in July 2014, only 0.1 percent of Nigerian adults actively use mobile money.
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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.
On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.
The term “digital financial services” automatically implies high levels of automation and limited human interaction and physical cash handling. This is how most of us expect it to be. We would much rather walk up to an ATM machine and withdraw cash, than queue up to see a teller. We would much rather use our credit card to make a purchase, than carry cash around.
Participants at the GSMA conference experimented with paper protoypes of mobile services they would offer to low-income users
When mobile money launched several years ago, most services, no matter the market or operator, looked strikingly similar – they focused on safe, fast, and secure payments. It was an undifferentiated product for an un-segmented market; being first to launch was an advantage. However, the market that’s easiest to attract (the urban and peri-urban upper and middle class) is nearly saturated. The new frontier is more rural, less educated, and less technologically literate. Today we need nuanced products to address a segmented market that represents a different set of user needs.
By Faisal Wahedi and Sharada Ramanathan with input from Neetu Bansal
Our last post talked about the key items that Non Banking Financial Institution (NBFC)-Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) should negotiate with banking partners to ensure a long-term, sustainable partnership that furthers the financial inclusion goals of both parties. We now turn our attention to the internal changes that these MFIs must make to become effective Business Correspondents (BCs). Transitioning into a BC offering multiple banking products is a significant change for most MFIs, which are typically used to providing credit alone. This post talks about staff-related challenges faced by such organisations through this transition; and offers possible solutions for effective change management.
I find it useful, from time to time, to put aside short-term, tactical matters and take a big step back to reflect on the work we do, why we do it, and the moment in history we live in. It can be difficult in today’s 24-hour, nonstop, always-on environment, but I was reminded of the bigger picture on a recent visit to Colombia.
A group of us, including four volunteer board members of Grameen Foundation, were in Antioquia, a largely mountainous area in the northwestern part of the country. Grameen Foundation has been working there with farmer cooperatives and other organizations to help smallholder coffee farmers earn more from their land by creating farm management plans and undergoing individualized training and certifications that give them access to larger markets.