At the 2016 MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, we asked the experts to finish the following sentence: “By 2020, financial inclusion will…”
Starting back in the 1980s with the launch of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the concept of inclusive growth has been instrumental in fighting poverty and providing opportunities for marginalised communities to uplift themselves. An important element of inclusive growth over the years has been productive employment, with people in rural areas being given the means to access more services – including financial services.
When it comes to the provision of fintech services, however, which combine advances in digital and mobile technology with financial applications, inclusivity is not a prominent feature. Indeed, the impressive rise of fintech companies and entrepreneurs has, to date, been focused on developed markets, with the provision of products and services aimed at customers who already enjoy a degree of sophisticated banking and financial technologies. Read MoreWhat Makes ‘Inclusive Fintech’ Truly Inclusive?
In almost all African countries there is a large unmet demand for access to credit and other financial services on the part of smallholder farmers, who, in most countries, represent the majority of the population. In fact, according to Dalberg Consulting, only two percent of the demand for credit among smallholder farmers is currently being met.
The rapid rise of smartphones, however, coupled with new entrants such as fintechs (financial technology firms) that are capitalizing on this new delivery channel to reach the poor, is providing new opportunities for groundbreaking innovation. Read MoreAccelerating Rural Access to Fintech
Photo: Jennifer Huxta, Clients in Uganda.
Innovation is happening among financial service providers in developing countries. Its most public face is a greater focus on satisfying clients, which is enabling poor and marginalized people to acquire the tools they need to move out of poverty.
Read MoreClient Centricity: A Necessary Tool on the Pathway Out of Poverty
Why does The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion focus on improving the client centricity practices of financial service providers? Because we see this as key to enabling two billion people in the world, currently excluded from the formal financial services industry, to have safe, convenient and affordable access to banks and other service providers.
At The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, the first plenary session discussed how leadership and the organizational culture at financial service providers are critical to ensure true client-centric practices. CNBC Africa’s news anchor, Gugulethu Cele, moderated the discussion with Doug Baillie, Chief Human Resources Officer of Unilever, Lelemba Phiri, Group Head of Talent and Managing Director for Zambia and Malawi at Zoona Group, and Ramesh Ramanathan, Chairman and Founder of Janalakshmi Financial Services.
Financial inclusion for all by 2020 can only be achieved if financial service organizations do more to focus on the needs and expectations of the two billion people in the world currently excluded from the formal financial system. At the recent MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, held in Cape Town from November 19-20, speakers reinforced the idea that client centricity is key to inclusive access to finance.
Ken Njoroge, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Cellulant describes how mobile phones can be used to reach clients and increase financial inclusion.
CEO of Top Image Africa, Jennifer Barassa discusses the importance of improving the client experience.
“If you deliver a customer experience that is unique it will pay off.”
MetLife’s Chief Customer Officer, Claire Burns, opened day two of the Symposium by detailing her organization’s journey to client centricity. Claire became a customer of MetLife to experience the customer journey for herself. What she found was system that wasn’t working. So, she said, she set out to “humanize insurance”. MetLife built a customer-centric business model by listening to customers, repairing what they told the organization was broken and delivering simplified experiences to create market differentiation.