The financial inclusion agenda is at a critical inflection point with many world leaders embracing the momentum and new technologies creating opportunities that have been elusive for years.
As I discussed in my blog for the SEEP Network recently, there is no doubt that technological innovation is rapidly driving new opportunities for financial inclusion. A convergence of multiple market forces are having a widespread impact on microfinance organizations worldwide. In financial services, both traditional banks and new alternative service providers such as mobile network operators and online lenders are seeking new markets and innovating to attract new customers, including the historically unbanked and underbanked. At the same time, increasing access to mobile devices, cloud-based services and the increasing consumer choice that goes with ubiquitous internet access means clients are demanding more from their suppliers.
What really excites me is that these factors actually create huge opportunity for microfinance organizations (as explored further in the SEEP Network’s report Keeping an Edge). By embracing new technology, innovative microfinance organizations of any size can professionalize service offerings in a radically new way, harnessing the power, scalability and security previously reserved only for top-tier financial service providers, but at a drastically reduced cost.
Having worked with Mambu’s founders closely for several years now, I am delighted to join Mambu’s new Advisory Board, working with the founders Eugene, Frederik, Sofia and the rest of the team, as they continue to build a platform that directly meets the needs of the microfinance community worldwide. In addition, I will be working with Opportunity International to develop their new Africa Growth and Innovation Initiative with a focus on agriculture, financial literacy and education finance.
I hope that the insights gained from wearing ‘two hats’ enable me to help achieve our combined mission to bring access to basic banking services to the world’s underbanked communities, with a particular personal focus on the challenges experienced in Africa.