Major new trends and innovations in digital financial services are opening up the possibility of significantly expanding financial inclusion in Africa, according to a new study released this week by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation.
The study, “In The Fast Lane: Innovations in Digital Finance“, highlights advances in distribution infrastructure, back-office processes, and product development.
Innovations in Digital Finance 2014
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Financial inclusion has made remarkable strides in several African countries in the last few years on the back of mobile technology and new business models for the distribution of financial services. In Tanzania, for example, the rate of access to formal financial services has increased from 16.4 percent to 57.8 percent in just four years, demonstrating the dramatic impact of recent innovations.
Many of the new innovations surveyed in the study further enhance and improve existing mobile money infrastructure. The study also points, however, to innovations that build on the existing system to supply services such as microinsurance, pay-as-you-go solar power or drinking water, and text books on demand.