Browse by Theme: Private Sector

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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With the global backdrop of the youth bulge where over a billion adolescents will transition into adulthood, Banking on Change, as the largest global financial inclusion programme working with youth savings groups, has generated evidence to support the premise that youth savings groups can help reduce youth financial exclusion, and provide a stepping stone to formal financial inclusion and equipping young people with the skills they need to support themselves economically.

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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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As mentioned in my previous blog about savings groups in Tanzania, there are massive amounts of capital circulating informally in East Africa. CARE has pointed out time and time again that serving this market is a social and economic win-win for providers and clients, but the persisting geographic, educational and affordability challenges continue to deter providers from making a long-term investment in the lowest-income market. Could an analysis of the size of the market opportunity help to change their minds?

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