IFC, MasterCard Foundation to Enable Financial Inclusion in Developing Countries

Sep 2016
Global , September, 08 2016 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, together with The MasterCard Foundation yesterday launched the Digital Financial Services and Risk Management Handbook to support the expansion of mobile money and agent banking to increase financial inclusion.

The last decade has seen a wave of innovative financial services aimed at reaching low-income individuals, micro-entrepreneurs and rural populations in developing countries.

This has resulted in a remarkable rapid expansion of financial inclusion in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and is making an important contribution to the goal of reaching Universal Financial Access by 2020.

The many opportunities provided by ground-breaking technology and innovative business models, however, also bring new risks.

Many attempts at launching mobile money and agent banking struggle or fail. To support the continuing expansion of financial inclusion through well-designed and well-functioning digital financial services, IFC and The MasterCard Foundation have produced a practical handbook for financial industry practitioners.

Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation, said, “The financial services industry in developing countries has done significant work in the past few years on new ways to best serve remote or excluded people with the financial services they want and need. We’ve now distilled those lessons learned and developed some day-to-day, practical do’s and don’ts about mobile money and agent banking, advice that we think practitioners will find timely and useful.”

The Digital Financial Services and Risk Management Handbook is a knowledge product of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s written for use by microfinance institutions, banks, mobile network operators and payments service providers that are implementing digital financial services.

Riadh Naouar, head of IFC Financial Industry Group Advisory Services in Africa, said, “We have worked closely with a range of mobile money providers to ensure this handbook is hands-on and helpful. Digital Financial Services is a nascent and fast evolving industry with many risks, but by working together we can change the financial landscape in Africa to include everyone.”


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