IFC and Mastercard Foundation release report on financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank based in Washington, US, has partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to release a report regarding financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The report has analysed joint projects targeting at digital financial services, covering 7mn users on the continent over a course of six years.
The ‘Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion’ report notes the findings of the firms’ support for such work in the Partnership for Financial project, launched in 2012.
The companies worked with 4 microfinance institutions, banks, mobile network operators, and payments service providers across Africa in order to connect 7.2mn people to digital finance.
The report highlights the 250% growth in new digital finance users in the past six years, which have led to US$300mn being dedicated to transactions per month.
Financial inclusion on the continent has grown from 23% in 2011 to 43% in 2017, with 10% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have mobile money accounts, according to the World Bank Findex.
“Financial inclusion is one of Africa’s great success stories of this decade. Mobile money solutions and agent banking now offer affordable, instant, and reliable transactions, savings, credit, and even insurance opportunities in rural villages and urban neighborhoods where no bank had ever established a branch,” stated Philippe Le Houerou, CEO of IFC and Reeta Roy, and President of the Mastercard Foundation.
“The Partnership for Financial Inclusion has been an important actor in helping to drive financial inclusion in Africa,” stated Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, Senior Program Manager at the Mastercard Foundation.
“We’re proud of the work that our partner, IFC, has led over the past six years.”
“It has enabled millions of people to benefit from access to financial services.”
“More than that, the knowledge that we’ve gained will lead to millions more people improving their lives and their communities by being able to join the formal financial services sector.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.