Browse by Theme: Private Sector

Are financial institutions in emerging economies adapting their business models fast enough to tap into the market of the currently unbanked? And if not, why not?

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In Cambodia, employing women to promote and sell beer in entertainment venues has long been a common way to market beer brands (both regional and international). CARE International in Cambodia sought to address the stigma and safety issues facing women employed to sell beer by working with industry-wide stakeholders to change norms and practices, and achieve long-term impact at several levels.

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Opportunities exist in Tanzania to scale up access to financial services for unbanked groups. The National Forum on Linking Informal Savings Groups to Formal Finance, held last month, revealed the depth in which organisations are supporting this market segment to develop.

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Last month I visited Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, to interview farmers and livestock traders faced with the drought effects of one of the most devastating El Niños in 50 years. What are their coping strategies in the face of extreme weather patterns? How are those strategies linked to national and international market systems? And how, through these systems, can we bring about a better deal for those in the supply chain typically made more vulnerable by drought – namely, women?

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A recent IMF ‘staff paper’ (i.e. this is not the official view of the organisation, but they’re not disagreeing with it either...) provides additional support to CARE’s fight for financial inclusion by showing that four of the dimensions of financial development – access, depth, efficiency and stability – can significantly reduce income inequality and poverty.

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Banks have clear needs for support in bringing more people living in poverty into the formal financial sector, but the banks could push forward by working more cooperatively with one another in key areas.

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As outlined in my previous blog, with so many people in all three countries preferring informal saving methods to banking, how large are these markets? How much total capital do they possess? And what can we learn from this?

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