Breaking Free of the Branch!

Breaking Free of the Branch!Very excited to present you my latest publication! Before joining the European Investment Bank in Oktober 2015, I was working as independent consultant and specifically on „The Partnership for Financial Inclusion.“ This initiative was a joint effort by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the MasterCard Foundation (MCF). Besides an overall programme evaluation together with Oxford Policy Management (OPM) , I had been primarily hired to develop a business case of Alternative Delivery Channels (ADC) or banking agents in microfinance. Via a multi-year longitudinal study of eight microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, we were helping these institutions to implement ADC channels to achieve profitable growth, plus we were asked to identify general lessons about ADC implementations. In this very first publication we wanted to present  the initial objectives when the MFIs set out to launch agent networks and their lessons learned from this initial first step. The participating institutions are: Continue reading

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What is a typical smallholder in Tanzania?

Financial Sector Deepening Trust–Tanzania (FSDT) and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) conducted a nationally representative survey of smallholder households In Tanzania between August and September 2015. I am spending currently a lot for time on how to best finance smallholders and think that the results of the published report have not received sufficient attention from the microfinance industry. Especially when thinking about financial inclusion,  70% of Sub-Saharan Africa households depend on agriculture, most of them are unbanked, and most are smallholder farmers!

But what or who is a smallholder farmer? Continue reading

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Re-establishing mobile money momentum in Indonesia!


The recent visit of Dutch Queen Maxima has brought financial inclusion back onto the agenda of Indonesia`s government.

According to the World Bank`s Global Findex report 2014, only 36% of the Indonesian adult population (older then 15 years) has access to a bank account in a formal financial institution. It has a population of 250 million, over 13,000 islands and about 300 different ethnic groups. Continue reading

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The 2016 Brookings FDIP is out!

brookingsI really enjoyed reading the report – which is not often the case with these “full of data” kind of reports.

Please find below the update on the 2015 and 2016 Brookings FDIP, plus some interesting highlights. Continue reading

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Zidisha! the future of microfinance?!?

I have already written about online lenders (Online lenders – threat or promise?) or about the use of alternative data for credit assessments (As excited about alternative data?). Even though I find the concepts very exciting and the underlying promise hugely convincing, there is always something which worries me. It might be old fashioned but microfinance is based on the knowledge about the client receiving the loan. Since there is little collateral being provided it is important that the loan officers evaluates the client, determines repayment capacity, get cross references from neighbours, etc. I am still not convinced that this can be done remotely. There is definitely a role for alternative data to play to complement a client credit profile, but I am hesitant to believe that it is wise lending to poor people just based on how many people they have in their phonebook on their mobile phone. Continue reading

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SIBs – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

SIBs in the UKI spent my last 3 blogs on Social/Development Impact Bonds (“Social Impact Bonds! Moving from outputs to outcomes…“, “After SIBs… now we talk DIBs!” or “An experiment – two SIBs to help Germany solve its migration crisis!? (1 of 2)“). I wanted to spend this one on an update on SIBs in the UK which is the country where actors have acquired most experience with this new tool. And BridgesVentures is the fund manager which has raised the world’s first fund dedicated entirely to investing in SIB-funded outcome contracts. In addition, since 2012 BridgesVentures has directly invested in 13 of these contracts, almost half of them commissioned by the UK government. Continue reading

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An experiment – two SIBs to help Germany solve its migration crisis!? (1 of 2)

migrants-lesbos_3429322bIn my previous blog (Social Impact Bonds – Moving from outputs to outcomes…) I have introduced the concept of Social Impact bonds (SIBs) and described in another one, how these SIBs can morph into Development Impact Bonds (DIBs).
Their mechanics are fairly straight forward and even similar, however, the proof of the pudding is in the eating….

On my flights this weekend, I was thinking about a SIB to tackle migration flows to Europe. I guess that my current job and the continuing discussions on the Western Balkan Route, refugees of the Syrian civil war, and Germany`s migration act with Turkey, etc.  just let me think about potential solutions for the situation.

Continue reading

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After SIBs… now we talk DIBs!

Last week, I shared with you my “discovery” of Social Impact Bonds and provided you with a superficial overview of how they work, the structure they have, and what benefits they present.

However, by researching these bonds a little, I found something even more exciting, and even more relevant for my day to day work: Development Impact Bonds (or “DIBs”).

Development Impact Bonds are a variation on Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), which have been implemented to facilitate impact investment (investment intended to create a positive social or environmental impact as well as a financial return). Continue reading

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Social Impact Bonds! Moving from outputs to outcomes…

Last week I was fortunate enough to participate in Saïd Oxford Business School’s Impact Investing Programme. A part from interesting case studies and very inspiring discussions with fellow students, I was particularly struck by a new approach for government spending: Social Impact Bonds…  By focusing on performance-based payments, i.e., flipping around traditional government funding structures and rather than paying upfront for a proscribed set of services, these Social Impact Bonds (or “SIBs”) allow governments to focus funds on approaches that work—without paying a dime if agreed-upon outcomes are not achieved. Continue reading

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Making Africa work?! let’s look at the positive sides

Foto 2I have spent a big part of my career on Africa. Either working in the DRC for three years financing microentrepreneurs and small businesses, or working as a consultant on mobile  banking agent networks in Tanzania, DRC, Madagascar, and Senegal. I was many times disappointed by how many African countries “shoot themselves in the foot around five times a day” (many people who know me will have heard this expression many times when discussing Africa with me). Continue reading

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