MIX News Brief: 8 February 2019

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8 February 2019


Every other week we post recent articles curated by our team of data analysts and financial sector experts.  The articles span sectors and topics including fintech, smallholder finance, mobile money and more.  The MIX News Brief is intended to keep socially responsible investors and businesses updated on the latest thinking on financial services for the poor because, at MIX, our mission is to provide the data, analytics and insight that enable decision makers to build inclusive financial services ecosystems.  Let us know what you think by tweeting at @mix_market!   


Join us at The Economist's Investing for Impact

As a supporting association for this third annual event, we hope you'll join our team in New York next week.  If some still view investing for impact as a vanity project, others are determined to make it a central part of the investment world. They see the possibility and practicality of ingraining intention and expertise on doing well by doing good into various lines of businesses.  The event will analyse: Where the worlds of corporate bosses and seasoned impact investors align and where they collide; The possibility of making every investment an impact investment; The realities for leaders of funds, companies and NGOs alongside the rise of impact investing; Impact investing spin vs substance; The varying meanings of purpose for companies and investors.  If you haven't registered you can use this promo code (MIX15) for a 15 percent discount


Great Expectations: Fintech and the Poor (CGAP)

Greta Bull shares her reflections on financial inclusion in this essay, which has sparked more than a few discussions among industry stakeholders.  We found it a refreshing and honest assessment of the potential of technology to improve the lives of the poor.  Interestingly, CGAP's CEO points out that the term 'financial inclusion' is used often enough in discussing fintech's upside but very rarely do we talk about the poor.  Her essay presents a welcome opportunity for many of us to take a breath and keep the following in mind: "Disruption can and should be a force for good in the financial sector, but we need to take care that responsible financial inclusion for the poor does not become collateral damage along the way".


Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion in Africa (Mastercard Foundation and IFC)

On the heels of Ms. Bull's essay is this new report published by Mastercard Foundation and IFC.  While comprehensive, the report keeps the focus on the impact for the end-user, with a few telling section titles like "Focusing on the people you serve" and "Customers take the lead on product development".  Not to mention, within the area of customer aquisition, the authors implore readers that "We must protect the consumer".  Clocking in at nearly 200 pages, this report is more of a resource to consult than a quick read for the weekend.  But it takes learnings from years of programming and distills the findings into something useful and valuable for the financial inclusion industry.  The user perspective that is woven throughout the report through photographs and interviews shows that many are already heeding Ms. Bull's points of caution.