From 2014 to 2018, IFC and the Mastercard Foundation conducted a longitudinal study with nine partner financial institutions (FIs) in seven Sub-Saharan African countries to understand best practices to scale Digital Financial Services (DFS) and expand financial inclusion. The study extracts lessons on DFS strategy and implementation, business models and how institutional culture and change management influence organizations undertaking a DFS journey. By analyzing the experiences of these FIs over time, the study yields valuable lessons and benchmarks for the industry and helps to differentiate salient DFS issues faced by FIs versus MNOs.
The study has produced several interim reports focusing on key issues that can be found on the Partnership for Financial Inclusion website. This report synthesizes these experiences and key lessons into a singular end report. The research offers important lessons on how to set assumptions and growth targets and the need for a holistic view of how digital channels touch critical points across the organization, and that management should not regard these digital delivery channels as independent profit or cost centers. Further lessons support FIs to know their customer needs and deliver services that are relevant to the market. The study also revealed that most successful DFS implementations used strong data-driven approaches to monitor and assess DFS operations use those insights to refine products and services, and customer experience. This report may serve as a guide to support FIs building greenfield operations and existing institutions embarking on their digital transformation.