Financial Inclusion Roundup: Frugal Innovation, Agricultural Finance, & BiM

  • Frugal innovation—developing technological advances with minimal resources—could be “the key to growth that will not simultaneously wreck the planet.” The increased availability of affordable tech such as the Raspberry Pi Zero means more solutions for folks in low-income countries.
  • The World Bank proposes strategies to include farmers in the formal economy. Almost half of the world’s farmers are unbanked, and those with formal accounts don’t typically use them for agricultural commerce. A wider selection of financial services, better data, and payment infrastructure improvements can all help bolster agriculture-specific financial inclusion.

    Chief Saaka Mahama uses his phone to connect with a broader marketplace.
    Chief Saaka Mahama, Ghanaian farmer, uses his phone to connect with a broader marketplace.
  • “Women who would not venture out of the households in the past now have the opportunity to participate. Women can decide for themselves now.” Binda Giri, President of the Shree Saraswati Women’s Savings and Credit Cooperative, explains the impact of women’s financial inclusion in Nepal. Watch Asian Development Bank’s video to learn how economic access helps women in Giri’s community become more independent.
  • BiM, Peru’s first interoperable payments network, may help reach the 80% of Peruvians outside of the formal economy. But NextBillion cautions that BiM will only achieve wide adoption if their products are customer-centric, with features like simple navigation and non-technical jargon.
  • Just 9% of women in low-income MENA countries have financial access. Discriminatory laws controlling employment, identification, and travel prevent women from tapping into financial services. CGAP believes that increasing awareness of global data and strengthening local women’s leadership can help close this gap.
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