I'll buy eight tomatoes - I'm paying with mobile money

I'll buy eight tomatoes - I'm paying with mobile money

Considerable effort and funding has gone to digitizing payments across Africa and Asia in markets where mobile money services are rapidly growing.  One sector receiving considerable attention is agriculture. The GSMA has a unit dedicated to agriculture (mAgri), which includes a focus on payments. The World Bank's CGAP allocates resources to grants and technical assistance on the topic. And the Better Than Cash Alliance works with governments to implement digital payments at the national level. Convincing agri-enterprises that sell inputs to, or buy crops from, rural communities to embrace digital payments is seen as a potential path to de-throning cash--the undisputed king of commerce in emerging markets.

Launch of Digital Financial Services Handbook for Agriculture

Launch of Digital Financial Services Handbook for Agriculture

SIA is pleased to announce the launch of the Digital Financial Services Handbook for Agriculture, which it co-authored. The Handbook is a product of IFC and Mastercard Foundation’s Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a joint initiative to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services (DFS) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Handbook is intended to provide information and guidance to financial service providers, including microfinance institutions, banks, mobile network operators, fintechs and payment service providers, on how to apply DFS in agriculture.

Whereas previous Partnership handbooks have covered alternative delivery channels for financial inclusion, risk management and data analytics for DFS and the future of financial inclusion, this release represents its first focus on agriculture. Technologies that are rapidly expanding in accessibility throughout sub-Saharan Africa bring new solutions to the age-old challenge of financing agriculture and of delivering information and services to last-mile farmers. Given agriculture’s critical importance to food production, global business and climate change, it is no surprise that there is increasingly visible interest in how technology can be applied to improving sustainability, productivity and farmer livelihoods.

As the Handbook launches, we will explore over the next several weeks some of the major topics being discussed at the cutting edge of digital technology, financial services and agriculture. Stay tuned!

Practicing what we Preach: Initiating Bulk Payment Disbursements

Practicing what we Preach: Initiating Bulk Payment Disbursements

The Tigo Ghana head office sits on a shady, surprisingly quiet road in central Accra, nestled next to government buildings and museums. An office on the top floor of the three-story building is home to the mobile network operator’s Mobile Financial Services (MFS) division, known as TigoCash.

Digital Cash Transfers in Liberia

Digital Cash Transfers in Liberia

As cash transfers become an increasingly respected and relied-upon method of delivering relief to communities affected by conflict and environmental disasters, NGOs working in the humanitarian space will more frequently be required to manage networks of merchants and agents in their roles as disbursers of international funding.

The Economics of Affordable and Available Housing

The Economics of Affordable and Available Housing

An estimated 62 percent of U.S. renter households (about 27 million families) earn less than 80 percent of the area median income. Roughly 73 percent of these households (over 19 million families) spend over 30 percent of their income on rental housing.

The towering housing cost burden is a significant barrier for these families in transitioning out of poverty.

Future of Mobile Money for Cocoa Farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana

Future of Mobile Money for Cocoa Farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana

SIA has published a report on the design and execution of a market research study in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire that determined the demand for digital financial services in the cocoa value chain with an emphasis on farmer financial inclusion and the potential of mobile money to enhance farmers’ livelihoods.