Blogs

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Blogs
November 2015

Fulfilling the promise

The inaugural annual lecture on financial inclusion was held at the historic Nairobi National Museum on Tuesday 17th November. It was a storming success. The lecture delivered by Dr Tavneet Suri examined the mobile money revolution in Kenya, and asked, can the promise of financial inclusion for all Kenyans be fulfilled? Mobile money has already […]

Blogs
November 2015

The end of magic and the beginning of wisdom (or why a Nobel Laureate hates randomized control trials and likes financial diaries)

As a university economics student, I was obsessed with two topics: development and econometrics. The former, because the field enabled me to explore questions about the patterns of wealth and poverty that I saw in Chile and Mexico growing up and struggled to find answers to. The latter, because the fancy statistical models that were […]

Blogs
October 2015

The nexus between financial inclusion and geospatial data

FSD Kenya recently concluded a geospatial mapping of all financial access points in Kenya, including bank branches, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Deposit Taking Microfinance Institutions (DTMs), bank agents, mobile money agents and more.. The results show remarkable growth over two years, the details of which will be released on Thursday 29th October. Geospatial mapping, whose […]

Blogs
September 2015

Take a look at our new website!

Today is an exciting day for FSD Kenya – we launch our new website. It is designed to be a comprehensive online resource for anyone looking for information on financial sector development and financial inclusion in Kenya. Working with the fantastic Nairobi-based digital agency, Circle, we have developed an online platform that will showcase not just […]

Blogs
September 2015

The importance of social networks in Kenya

After ten years of research in Kenya, we at FSD are beginning to have a relatively detailed understanding of how financial behaviour, needs, interpersonal relationships, and financial products interact. From the start, we focused our research on the poorer, less-well served groups in society. These are the most vulnerable, who not only stand to benefit […]

Blogs
September 2015

Why fintech developers should pay attention to the opening of M-PESA’s API

Following years of speculation, complete with a full scale M-PESA system upgrade dubbed G2 (for M-PESA 2nd generation platform), and relocation of the servers from Germany to Kenya, Safaricom finally opened the M-PESA API (application program interface) to the public early this month. Essentially, what this means is that a developer can seamlessly plug a given application […]

Blogs
September 2015

Why cash fares still rule in the taxi innovation space

Until recently, Uber only accepted credit card or debit cards as payment for rides. But in a country like Kenya that is largely cash-based, it was only a matter of time before Uber questioned that strategy. In July 2015, Uber Kenya piloted the option to pay via cash or mobile money with a few users. […]

Blogs
August 2015

Can Kisumu city replicate Africa’s silicon savannah?

While Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is considered the epicenter of Africa’s digital entrepreneurship industry, the little known, lakeside town of Kisumu is the latest force in attracting some of the country’s most innovative minds. The city’s most recent accomplishment was landing the Lake Hub, which officially launched in March this year at Harvey’s […]

Focus areas
Digital finance Start-ups


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Blogs
August 2015

Why M-Shwari works

With the rapid uptake of M-Shwari, Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) is the envy of the digital financial services industry. As CGAP’s newest Forum publication, co-authored with FSD Kenya, points out, many factors set CBA up for success: the service was offered directly on Safaricom customers’ SIM toolkit menus, was seamlessly integrated into M-PESA, and […]

Blogs
August 2015

What do the Financial Diaries tell us about financial products and the poor?

Last quarter saw the launch of one of the most in-depth pieces of research FSD has ever undertaken. We tracked the financial lives of 300 low income Kenyan households for over a year. The resultant ‘financial diaries’ gives us some exceptionally rich insights into what it means on a day-to-day basis to be poor. There […]