Category: Money

  • Mobile Financial Services for the Poor – What We Must Know

    Fredrick Ndiwalana is Relationship Manager, Applab Money Accelerator, and Ali Ndiwalana is Research Lead, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    There is consensus that the poor (those living on less than $2.50 per day) need the same kind of financial services as their more affluent counterparts, albeit in smaller affordable units. What is not clear – especially in markets where formal financial exclusion is high and innovation is low – is whether financial institutions can design pro-poor financial products. After all, this is an area where...

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  • Are you considering investing in Mobile Money?

    Nanfuka Harriet is Research Assistant, AppLab Money Incubator, and Joseph Bbirikadde is Programme Officer, AppLab Money Accelerator at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    At Grameen Foundation we always strive to learn more about the “why” in our work fields and all those linked to the work we do. To that effect, we recently had a trip to the Eastern part of Uganda to get knowledge and insight from Mobile money agents about their key reasons for investing in Mobile Money and the key determinants on how much float they hold compared to investment in other sources of...

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  • The Many Faces of the Poor: Mass Market Segmentation

    Lisa Kienzle is Operations & Strategy Manager, AppLab Money Incubator , at Grameen Foundation Uganda. 

    Last year we shared the outcomes of a base-of-the-pyramid segmentation in Mexico and its implications for product development.  We now turn to Uganda, where Grameen Foundation’s AppLab Money Incubator team has studied and segmented the behaviors of rural low-income consumers to better understand the opportunities for financial services product development.

    Often I hear organizations say that they intend to serve the poor.  But when 80% of a market is...

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  • Are You Thinking Wider than Technology when Thinking about Mobile Money?

    Lee-Anne Pitcaithly is Program Director, Mobile Financial Services Accelerator, Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Over the last few months, I have spent a lot of hours meeting with different financial services organisations discussing their planned mobile money integrations. In every instance, the financial institution was primarily addressing the integration only as a technology project. Thinking this way can set you up to fail as a business – and, more importantly, to fail your customers. Here are some other areas that you need to address when thinking about...

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  • Building Up a Credit History Outside of Financial Institutions

    Ali Ndiwalana is Research Lead, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Access to capital is cited as a major challenge facing small businesses in rural areas in developing countries. Financial-service providers overlook this segment partly because they lack appropriate information to help gauge risk or investment opportunities available in rural areas. But this information does exist, albeit outside of financial service providers. In this post, we discuss how triangulation of data from different sources may facilitate better risk analysis, and...

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  • Can Trust and Reciprocity Within Social Networks Play a Role in Rural Financial Systems?

    Julius Matovu is Research and Program Coordinator, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Let me introduce two interesting petty traders based in Owino market – the busiest market in downtown Kampala. They are Akim, a secondhand-shoes trader, and Patrick, a secondhand-clothes dealer.

    Last weekend I visited this market for a variety of reasons – including buying some “new” secondhand clothes to revamp my wardrobe. As I wandered through the market I came across these two different petty traders; because each of these individuals had something...

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  • Mobile Money Last-Mile Agents

    Ali Ndiwalana is Research Lead,AppLab Money Incubator, Grameen Foundation Uganda 

    Agents are critical for the success of a mobile money (MM) ecosystem; they provide an avenue for cash-in (converting cash into “e-value”) and cash-out transactions. Grameen Foundation’s AppLab Money team has been to many rural villages in our quest to better understand the needs of users, and have often encountered mobile money users, but no agents in the vicinity. When users told us they made regular transactions, we asked how they managed to do this. In many cases, it was via...

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  • What do Values, Dreams and Sacrifices Mean for Mobile Money Providers and their Product Innovations?

    Julius Matovu is Research and Program Coordinator, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Let me share a story about a family I visited early this month in Budwale Sub County, Mbale district, on the slopes of Mt.  Elgon in Eastern Uganda. The family is headed by Asad Waniale, who lives with his wife, Nandudu, and their son, Faizal. The family depends on small-scale farming for its living, along with a Friesian cow, which is a source of pride for them because it supplements their nutrition and income through the milk it provides.

    At the time of...

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  • Defining the design problem for financial inclusion

    Dr. Olga Morawczynski is Project Manager, AppLab Money Incubator, Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Most pieces on design state a vitally important fact – if you want a good design outcome, you must clearly define the problem behind the search for a solution. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. A well-defined and broadly framed problem allows for the emergence of ideas that push the boundaries of what is possible and opens up the creative spaces from which breakthrough products can emerge. In short, the more widely you cast your net, the more ideas that you...

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  • Going “Down Market” with Financial Products

    Ali Ndiwalana is Research Lead, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    As we strive to ensure that everyone has access to financial services – known as “financial inclusion” – by creating products that reach the poor, we can learn a trick or two from the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) folks that operate in developing countries. FMCGs are cheap, non-durable, staple goods that sell in large quantities, creating enormous cumulative profit. Examples in Uganda include cooking oil, soap, etc. Though the rhetoric from central banks indicates...

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  • Saving On The Mobile: Developing Innovative Financial Services to Suit Poor Users

    Sean Paavo Krepp is Uganda Country Director and CKW Program Manager, and Dr. Olga Morawczynski is Project Manager, AppLab Money Incubator, Grameen Foundation Uganda. Dr. Olga recently published on Saving on the Mobile in the World Economic Forum’s Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011.

    Savings on mobile money

    A recent survey of over 2,000 Kenyan households found that 89% of respondents used M-PESA, a Kenyan mobile money (MM) application, “to save” (Suri and Jack, 2010). Dr. Morawczynski confirmed this finding after spending over 18...

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  • Our Work in Mobile Financial Services

    Elizabeth Berthe is the Director of Mobile Financial Services at Grameen Foundation

    Grameen Foundation’s Mobile Financial Services team is working in several regions around the world to help make mobile financial services simple, affordable and accessible to the poor.  We are working to innovate on three fronts:

    • Overcome technology barriers to facilitate integration of mobile solutions for microfinance institutions
    • Research to inform and influence the development of financially inclusive products as well dissemination of best practices
    • Implementation...
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  • Did a rat eat your cash? You should have used mobile money

    Dr. Olga Morawczynski is Project Manager, AppLab Money Incubator, and Julius Matovu is Research and Program Coordinator, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    While it is becoming commonly accepted that the poor need better and safer places to save, the story of Muhereza Kabaramagi and her savings struck a particular chord with us.  We met Muhereza while working on Grameen Foundation’s financial literacy pilot project in Uganda..  Muhereza has been a second-hand clothes trader for the past 15 years.  As a small business owner she needs to...

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  • Lessons About Pregnancy and Motherhood Via Songs on a Mobile Phone?

    Jessica Osborne is Program Officer, MoTeCH, at Grameen Foundation Ghana.

    As a part of our MoTeCH initiative, we are holding content workshops to learn more about what types of information local women want and need in relation to their health. In Accra, Ghana, Eve’s Pregnancy School has offered lessons about pregnancy and motherhood to women  for over 10 years, and has seen over 2,000 mothers through safe pregnancy and delivery. The founder, Florence, gives bi-monthly classes to pregnant women and mothers; she attended our first content workshop recently and...

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