the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

Financial inclusion just a click away: E-wallets and payment platforms

By Sergio Navajas

By Sergio Navajas and Valentina Echeverry  

Also published on Sustainable Business blog

In Latin America, 60 percent of the population lacks access to financial services, equivalent to approximately 250 million people. However, mobile phone penetration is between 90 and 100 percent.  In some countries, such as Colombia, penetration is 105 percent. This indicates that most people have a mobile device and some, even two. What role do mobile wallets and payment platforms play in financial inclusion?

What good is capital without customers? Financial inclusion is necessary for healthy societies

By Tomas Miller

Trends is on vacation this week. This post ran previously on our blog. 

The financial inclusion strategies that several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are adopting and incorporating into their national development policies aim at increasing access to and use of financial services for segments of the population that have been excluded or underserved by financial systems. These policies assume that achieving a higher level of financial inclusion is a necessary condition for increasing the social inclusion of these excluded people. What good is having a solvent and liquid financial system if it serves only businesses and powerful families? What good is capital without customers? 

Looking behind the picture of mobile money

By Fermín Vivanco

The argument goes like this: “Most people in developing countries have mobile phones, so voilà, they could use those phones to access financial services”. It sounds reasonable.  For many, mere use of a mobile phone for financial services seems to be exciting enough. These days, some people even think that mobile financial services will eventually make banks obsolete.  If you visit many of the donor-sponsored websites that pay homage to mobile financial services, such as Better than Cash, the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Financial Access Initiative, Mobile Money for the Unbanked, and others, you are likely to find photos of entrepreneurs with a mobile phone and a smile.  The pictures are powerful, but what do they mean? What, exactly, is the positive effect of using of mobile phones for financial services?

Businesses fueled by remittances: What we’re learning about diaspora entrepreneurs

By Rebecca Rouse

One fateful trip to the salon was all it took to turn a Philadelphia-area strategy consultant into a diaspora entrepreneur. Haitian-born Yve-Car Momperousse had the idea to start her business, Kreyol Essence, after being unable to find Haitian Black Castor Oil—which she remembered from her childhood as a miracle cure for dry and damaged hair—on the market in the United States. Today, Kreyol Essence’s line of luxury beauty products from Haiti has created much-needed jobs and brings natural, Haitian-sourced ingredients to buyers all over the United States. Momperousse shared her company’s story at last week’s Business Future of the Americas conference in Port-au-Prince. 

Savings groups, an example of financial inclusion

By Andrea Reyes Hurtado

Savings groups have been a useful tool for integrating rural populations into the financial sector. As I’ve shared in the past, the MIF has supported several savings group projects in different countries of the region - most recently in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Colombia - that incorporate income-generating activities and financial inclusion components. However, their connection to the formal banking sector still needs further exploration.