digital agriculture and dfs market assessments

SIA staffed digital agriculture assessments in Ethiopia and Nigeria as part of USAID’s Digital Development for Feed the Future program. The goal of the assessment was to identify opportunities to use digital tools, including DFS, to contribute to the success of Feed the Future. The assessment included desk research, an in-country market assessment and facilitation of a half-day workshop on digital agriculture with Mission and US Global Food Security Strategy stakeholders.

agent quality management

SIA assisted TigoCash in Ghana with increasing the quality of 6,000 of their mobile money agents. This involved re-engineering Tigo’s mobile money agent selection and on-boarding processes by developing guidelines to recruit suitable agents via a scorecard-based agent selection tool that can identify and rank potential agents. SIA also developed Tigo’s agent network monitoring plan by overseeing 40 Trade Development Representatives who interview, train and monitor agents daily with the help of smartphones equipped with a data collection software application that monitors float levels, liquidity sources, transaction frequency and amount, and agent gender, among other indicators. SIA designed a liquidity management system, which includes an evaluation based on regulatory environment, market demographics, liquidity sources, organizational dynamics, competitive environment and technology platforms. Finally, SIA also developed training curricula for agents, which include operational processes and delivery mechanisms, such as one-on-one trainings during normally scheduled visits and cluster events that bring agents together for training and information sharing.

agent network strengthening in liberia and sierra leone



SIA managed a project to strengthen mobile money service provider agent networks' ability to deliver G2P payments. Coordinating with key stakeholders and programs supporting DFS market faciliation, as well as technical implementing partner (MicroSave) to deliver training and technical support to agent network channel actors.


integrating dfs into agricultural value chains in uganda

SIA currently supports USAID-NetHope’s work to identify and tackle key barriers to digitizing agribusiness payments, in coordination with UNCDF MM4P. It will synthesize these learnings into a guidance tool for USAID Feed the Future programs to use moving forward. As part of this work, SIA is doing a deep dive with two different value chain partners that coordinate with USAID Feed the Future programs to assess and improve their business operations through digital solutions. This work will help value chain partners not only think through digitizing payment streams, but also how to make daily reporting tasks and other parts of their processes that cause delays. The work also examines how to build up mobile money ecosystems around the target small holder farmers, building on existing constructs within their financial lives such as VSLAs, School Fees, and Paygo Solar Home Systems available in their areas. Download the final report and brief below. 

visa ngo financial inclusion and dfs grant management in kenya

Through a charitable contribution from Visa, SIA is assuming daily project supervision and oversight responsibilities for a portfolio of NGO grantees working on projects related to financial inclusion and digital technology. One project is focused on stimulating greater consumers awareness regarding digital payments methods and optimizing their use of available card-based payments products. The project aims to build this awareness through a multi-pronged strategy aimed at bank partners, interested merchants, and the emerging middle class residing in locations along the periphery of major cities such as Nairobi. The methods, tool, and activities are based on a behavior change model. The second project is focused on developing an alternative credit scoring algorithm for village savings and loans (VSLA) groups in peri-urban and rural Kenya. The algorithm combines digitized records and psycho-graphic survey responses administered and collected via mobile device. VSLAs receive training and capacity building on record digitization and the NGO grantee is also engaging a local bank partner that is rolling out a new bundled product specifically targeting VSLAs (offering both savings and credit).


Connecting Humanitarian E-Transfer Recipients and Financial Services in Zimbabwe

In August 2016, SIA conducted case study research for Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (ELAN) on Save the Children’s humanitarian initiatives in Zimbabwe that delivered cash transfers through mobile money wallets. SIA team members analyzed household survey data and led focus group discussions and key informant interviews to determine if, when and how the e-transfers resulted in sustained uptake and use of DFS by the program recipients. The final report is being prepared for public release and will be shared here once available.

Mobile Money Use in Liberia Ebola Response

In 2016, Save the Children engaged SIA to research the organization’s use of mobile money in its cash transfer program in two counties in Liberia. The objectives of the research were to: (1) examine key enablers and barriers to the use of mobile money in a challenging context; (2) understand the experience of each stakeholder’s point of view; and (3) develop recommendations for additional usage of mobile money as a delivery mechanism for cash within Liberia and elsewhere.

case study on mobile cash transfers for ebola recovery in liberia and sierra leone

Conducted research and case study on USAID’s Food For Peace (FFP) implementing partners' attempts to disburse humanitarian assistance cash transfers through mobile money to thousands of beneficiaries to support their recovery from the impact of the Ebola health emergency and build resilience for future shocks. The case study revealed specific challenges to adopt digital payment modalities, and proposed recommendations to support the transition of payments away from cash. The assignment involved quantitative and qualitative with ten humanitarian agencies and an internal report outlining practical recommendations.

Demand Aggregation for Mobile Money Bulk Payments in rwanda

SIA facilitated a workshop with a group of NGOs in Rwanda to help them better adopt digital payments within their programs and operations.  Developed and implemented a demand aggregation program in Rwanda that assessed the payment needs of ten different organizations, and consolidated them onto one RFP.  This RFP represented both the technical and procurement requirements of all ten organizations.  Once proposals were received, the consultant assisted members by providing analysis and summaries of each proposal and helped score them against specific grading criteria. Ultimately, NGOs made decisions on which provider they would work with, and entered into seperate contracts.  As a result, 70% of the participants are using mobile money on a regular basis.


Market Engagement and Digital Payments Training for Development Organizations (Cambodia, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe)

Created a case-based training for development organizations to transition from cash to digital payments in their programs and operations to gain organizational benefits and promote access to digital financial services for their program participants. Facilitated 3-day workshops in five markets (Ghana, Cambodia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe).  Conducted DFS market assessments to identify and vet service providers’ digital bulk payment products, created business linkages between service providers and NGOs, and educated services providers about NGOs as a potential key customer segment for digital payments.

joint program document financial inclusion country strategy in senegal

On behalf of the UNCDF, SIA led a 3-person team tasked with developing a Joint Program Document to articulate a 5-year country strategy for financial inclusion in Senegal, with an eye toward rural/Ag finance and food security, and that targets smallholder farmers, mSMEs, women, and youth. Specific activities performed included: conducting a literature review of relevant sectors; designing data collection framework and tools for in-country meetings across multiple sectors/industries, co-leading in-country meetings with key stakeholders (i.e., investors, financial institutions, mobile telecom operators, money transfer operators, ministries, NGOs, and donors), leading the development of a preliminary Concept Note, co-facilitating an in-country workshop to sensitize the strategic plan with key institutional partners, co-developing a Final Joint Program Document

research on mobile money service provider experiences working with ngos in africa

In 2015-2016, SIA conducted qualitative research and analysis for ELAN on digital payment services providers' experiences and perceptions on working with NGOs as bulk payment customers to deliver digital payments to their program participants/beneficiaries in the context of providing humanitarian assistance and/or for development programming.

Financial Inclusion Project Design, Post Ebola Recovery Assessment of Financially Inclusive Social Payments for Ebola Recovery for NetHope/UNCDF (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea)

Conducted field research, provided technical guidance and developed project documents to incorporate financial inclusion into post Ebola recovery programming and project design, with a particular focus on livelihoods and social protection programming. In-country work included key informant interviews with a wide variety of stakeholders from development organizations, donors, service providers, regulators, and government agencies.

Cocoa Farmers and Mobile Money in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana: Market Research

In August 2015, SIA conducted original mobile money market research for the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), providing data and analysis of the awareness, use and interest in mobile money of cocoa farmers in the Sud Comoe region of Côte d'Ivoire and in the Western Region of Ghana. The research indicates that the foundational layers exist in both Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana for mobile money use to improve farmers' livelihoods and provide financing mechanisms to improve productivity.


broadband demand aggregation study in liberia

In December 2015, SIA provided technical support to the USAID U.S. Global Development Lab in Washington DC and the USAID Mission in Liberia to develop a demand aggregation model for a proposed enhancement to Monrovia’s broadband network infrastructure. The model forecasted aggregated broadband demand for a variety of market segments (e.g., schools, hospitals, health clinics, government offices) that could utilize a Monrovia-based metro fiber ring as its primary middle mile connectivity provider. Analysis considered both public facilities eligible for USAID or other donor funding as well as commercial demand that would be enabled by the metro fiber ring.

small grant facilities in ghana, malawi, tanzania and zimbabwe

SIA administered and managed eight small grants to USAID implementing partners and other organizations working in six different countries to support their transition from cash to digital payments and to document those lessons learned. Case study snapshots are available in the NetHope Solutions Center.

Digital Payments Migration for Smallholder Rice Farmers in Ghana

In November 2014, in association with ACDI VOCA and using funds awarded from a 2013 NetHope Visa Innovation Grant supported a rice value chain payment pilot,the project examined cash payments by farmers, input suppliers, and large buyers along the rice value chain and identified insertion points for digital payments. Pilot parameters were designed in coordination with TIGO Cash including agent network requirements and potential merchant acceptance points in rice growing regions.

DSF adoption among commodity traders & smallholder farmers in malawi

In July 2014, on behalf of the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) chaired by the UNCDF, SIA conducted an in-country market assessment to determine the feasibility of integrating e-payments services into select Ag value chains to facilitate payments to smallholder grain farmers in Malawi’s Central Region. This assessment involved engaging and evaluating three types of potential user segments: individual trading company owners, permanent staff, and smallholder farmers. SIA also developed a broader market research plan, to include focus group discussions with 200 farmers to better identify their perceptions, preferences, and patterns of behavior vis-à-vis receiving payments, along with a tailored field collection guide and tools. Finally, SIA drafted a market readiness assessment and pilot implementation plan.

uganda and tanzania mobile money market assessments

In 2013, SIA conducted market assessments of the Tanzanian and Ugandan mobile money markets for USAID and NetHope, focusing on the state of corporate-facing products such as bulk payments . The assessment established an up to date understanding of key mobile money indicators of product adoption, service provider capacity, and regulatory policy and provided guidance on what could be done to build capacity around mobile money among the NGO community in both countries, in addition to developing key functional requirements around bulk payment products. To share findings and connect service providers to NGOs, our team members conducted a half-day workshops on mobile money and how it can be used as a corporate payments solution. The workshop included around 100 people from the Ugandan NGO sector and all three mobile money providers (MTN, Airtel, and Warid (now Airtel)) to describe their bulk payment products; in Tanzania, it included 80 people from the Tanzanian NGO sector and all three mobile money providers (Tigo, Airtel, and Vodacom) to describe their bulk payment products. 

DFS Agent Network Management & Capacity Building in Malawi

Since 2012, SIA has provided lead technical assistance on a three-year project designed to implement selected interventions from the Malawi Mobile Money National Action Plan, emphasizing pilots, agent network expansion, and merchant acceptance. Key program elements include 1) understanding relevant patterns, perceptions, and preferences of potential user segments in peri-urban and rural geographies; 2) supporting MNOs with market segmentation analysis and value proposition refinement to enhance agent and merchant acquisition activities; 4) geospatial mapping exercises to plot service providers’ existing operational footprints relative to partners and potential service ecosystem participants; and 5) delivering a web app-based data visualization tool that overlays supplemental field data collected specifically for the purpose of evaluating a given point’s agent or merchant acceptance potential.

DFS regulatory analysis and feasibility study in morocco

In 2012, SIA prepared a regulatory analysis and feasibility study on behalf of the German Ministry of Cooperation and Development, KfW, and the Moroccan State Investment Company, CDG, and its subsidiary JAIDA. Study assessed market potential for mobile innovations in the delivery of financial services in Morocco and designed business models and investment opportunities for the sector. SIA assessed potential partnerships based on strategic interests and institutional capacities and advised central bank and ministry of finance on liberalization of payment systems.

MNo Mobile money launch strategy in west africa

In 2011, SIA team members advised a multinational Middle Eastern mobile network operator on the development of a mobile money strategy for six West African markets. Strategy included market analysis, business case development, product design, and operating requirements.

DFS Intervention and program design in malawi

In 2010 and 2011, SIA team members assisted USAID in developing sector level interventions to strengthen and accelerate a nascent mobile money ecosystem in Malawi. Project involves assessing the mobile money sector and current operator capabilities, market demand analysis, coordination with Reserve Bank of Malawi, World Bank, and other stakeholders, and development of an action plan detailing intervention activities.

mobile product investment strategy in egypt and morocco

In 2010, SIA team members assisted in developing a comprehensive business case for the introduction of new payment products and services in Egypt and Morocco. Engagement included leading a cross sector multinational team across multiple geographies; engaging with executive leadership; advising on high-level contractual negotiations; developing operating and business models; assessing and recommending optimum asset structures.