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Jan 23, 2019
This report provides an examination of blockchain implementation in financial services and global supply chains; a regional analysis of blockchain developments in emerging markets; and a new focus on blockchain’s ability to facilitate low-carbon energy solutions as well as a discussion of the legal and governance issues associated with the technology’s adoption.
English | 88 pages - Second and Expanded Edition, January | IFC 2019
Jan 16, 2019
Blockchain is an emerging technology that enables direct transactions within a ledger without need for a central authority or trusted intermediary. In emerging markets, it has the potential to re-engineer economic models and enable the creation of markets and products previously unavailable or unprofitable. But organizations considering its use must also consider the risks and how they can be managed. These include jurisdictional challenges, crypto assets, privacy and data protection, double spending, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
English | 8 pages - January- Note 63 | IFC 2019
Nov 26, 2018
Emerging markets must attract significant international financing to meet their goals for mitigating carbon pollution and increasing access to clean, affordable, reliable, and resilient energy. The authors of this note examine how blockchain technology can—if paired with smart, interconnected devices—promote needed investments by both improving investment processes and promoting the adoption of modern energy systems and business models. Given the nascent status of both blockchain technology and blockchain applications specific to the energy sector, this note offers guidance to better assess where and how to apply blockchain technology to achieve a modern, clean, energy future including in emerging markets.
English | 8 pages - November - Note 61 | IFC 2018
Sep 21, 2018
Developing a proper governance and regulatory framework for blockchain-based applications will be essential to providing market participants the stability they need to fully engage with the technology, and allowing innovation to flourish. Given the global, multi-sectoral reach of blockchain, regulators and industry will have to work in a collaborative manner to ensure they can both experiment and learn, and so shape the future of the technology in a way that benefits all parties and society as a whole.
English | 8 pages - September - Note 57 | IFC 2018
May 15, 2018
Technological progress is often associated with the creation of novel and useful products through innovation and ingenuity. Yet in several emerging markets, including low-income economies, it is often more common to adopt, adapt, and scale technologies created elsewhere. EM Compass Report
English | 100 Pages - April | IFC, 2018
Oct 26, 2017
More than a billion tons of food are lost annually across global food supply chains. Spillage, spoilage, insects, and rodents are the causes. Addressing it is a daunting challenge due to the complexity of the many factors involved. But it is a worthwhile challenge because of the potential benefits, including improved food security, nutrition, economic productivity, and response to climate change. Poor or nonexistent public infrastructure is often an underlying cause of food not being transported or processed effectively. And climate change damages existing infrastructure and increases losses. Despite the numerous environmental, economic, and socio-cultural barriers involved, there are many examples of private sector enterprises that have tackled post-harvest loss successfully. They focus on education, collaboration, and markets.
English | 8 Pages - October - Note 47 | IFC, 2017
Oct 26, 2017
Emerging market countries can benefit from advanced farming technologies that mitigate the effects of climate change and protect environmental resources. Water scarcity is an issue that can be overcome by adopting climate-smart technologies such as micro-irrigation. There are several precision agriculture investment opportunities available to the private sector, including agricultural extension via digital advisory services, drip irrigation, solar pumps, and crop and soil monitoring.
English | 5 Pages - October - Note 46 | IFC, 2017
Oct 3, 2017
Global value chains cross multiple borders and connect advanced and emerging economies, and are vehicles that can deliver on many of the promises of globalization. Yet operating them is complex and costly. Global trade since the great recession has slowed, in part because of a lack of transparency and interoperability within these networks. Blockchain, a technology with unique abilities to record, track, monitor, and exchange assets without need of an intermediary, may be the solution to many of the logistical and cost issues that plague the growth and operation of global value chains, especially in the case of food, agribusiness, and pharmaceuticals.
English | 7 Pages - September - Note 45 | IFC, 2017
Aug 21, 2017
Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is now disrupting the financial services industry as part of a larger wave of external innovations by digital financial technologies. Emerging markets—due to their higher banking risks, lower bank penetration, and greater presence of digital financing—are an ideal backdrop for the adoption of blockchain-based financial solutions, and benefits could include a technological leap forward and a boost to financial inclusion and growth. This note focuses on selected regions in emerging markets where distributed ledger technology is already affecting the provision of financial services, including Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
English | 5 Pages - August - Note 44 | IFC, 2017
Aug 21, 2017
Financial institutions around the world find themselves continually barraged by external innovations they are often unable to absorb and internalize. The emergence of innovative digital financial technologies has challenged traditional players in the sector by demonstrating new ways to deliver value across the entire financial value chain. Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is just such a disruptive—and possibly game-changing—innovation. Emerging markets may provide an ideal backdrop for the adoption of blockchain-based financial solutions, which can provide the basis for a technological leap forward and a boost to financial inclusion and growth.
English | 8 Pages - August - Note 43 | IFC, 2017
Aug 10, 2017
A digital transformation is taking place in the financial services industry, with a host of non-bank innovators offering both customer facing and back office financial technology products and services. This transformation includes emerging market economies, and in many places offers a viable digital alternative to traditional banks, which have left significant populations underbanked. This note explores the challenges and opportunities that financial technology innovations present for banks in these nations.
English | 9 Pages - August - Note 42 | IFC, 2017
Jul 26, 2017
Blockchain has enormous potential for emerging markets. These nations appear poised for a more rapid adoption of blockchain, though a framework is needed to assess how the technology can be deployed and which applications and use cases are likely to be seen first. While the potential of blockchain is great, the technology is still at an early stage of development and will need to overcome potential setbacks—technical, regulatory, and organizational—before it becomes mainstream. In such a context of uncertainty, companies in emerging markets can neither afford to wait until the outcome is evident nor expose their existing business models to overly risky wholescale blockchain initiatives. Instead, they will need to adopt an experimental approach that allows them to develop options and thereby learn in the process, inform their strategies, and improve their value propositions.
English | 7 Pages - July - Note 41 | IFC, 2017
Jul 26, 2017
Blockchain is an exciting new technology that may prove to be a radical innovation with the power to disrupt existing economic and business models. It has the potential to deliver productivity gains to multiple industries, from the financial sector to energy markets, supply chains, intellectual property management, the public sector, and beyond. And blockchain may also prove particularly valuable in emerging market economies. Yet the technology is in early stages of development and serious challenges and risks, both technical and regulatory, will need to be addressed before it achieves widespread adoption. Questions remain about blockchain’s scalability, interoperability, security, transition costs, data privacy, and governance. And business leaders and policy makers will need to think long and hard about when and under what conditions a blockchain initiative may be warranted.
English | 6 Pages - July - Note 40 | IFC, 2017
Jun 22, 2017
Small and medium enterprises in emerging markets often lack access to the credit and liquidity they require for their daily working capital needs. This is partly due to the fact that the credit risk of such businesses is typically difficult to assess and their working capital needs are unpredictable. In most countries these businesses operate primarily in the retail and wholesale trade segments, and banks have generally not done enough to finance their domestic or international trade operations. Supply chain finance structures offer an alternative solution to finance the trade flows of these enterprises, with benefits for all stakeholders, including large enterprises, their SME trade counterparts, and financial institutions.
English | 7 Pages - June - Note 39 | IFC, 2017
May 24, 2017
Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, has the potential to address many problems in emerging markets. In this note we consider whether blockchain can be used to mitigate de-risking by financial institutions, which affects receivers of remittances, businesses that need correspondent banking relationships, and charities working in conflict countries.
English | 5 Pages - May - Note 38 | IFC, 2017
Mar 28, 2017
This note explores the way traditional banks and financial technology companies, or FinTechs, interact in Africa and Asia, and their ability to offer innovative digital financial services that grant unbanked individuals access to financial transactions. The FinTech sector is experiencing explosive growth in both continents, but while Asian banks have managed to efficiently integrate with FinTech solutions, African banks have been slower to adapt to this change. Still, the outlook for mobile banking remains positive, and its prevalence will boost the financial industry in both regions.
English | 6 Pages - March - Note 34 | IFC, 2017
Sep 27, 2016
New technologies help firms in emerging markets make significant gains. But these firms often face barriers to successfully incorporating new technologies into their businesses. Emerging-market leaders, however, can take steps to help firms overcome these barriers, including strengthening regulatory frameworks, improving education, fostering trade, and increasing access to finance.
English | 4 Pages - September - Note 15 | © IFC, 2016
Sep 12, 2016
Governments in advanced economies have historically helped spur commercial innovation, particularly as a result of spillovers from defense related research and development. In many emerging markets, however, government lacks the resources or capabilities to do so. In Africa, as in other emerging markets, this has created an opening for private firms to drive innovation. By applying advances in technologies, businesses are enhancing productivity and growth across the continent.
English | 2 Pages - September - Note 8 | © IFC, 2016
Sep 12, 2016
Over the last decade African advances in technology, especially in the home-grown mobile banking sector, have shown how innovation can contribute to economic development across the continent. By understanding how the application of changes in technologies take hold globally—from initial discovery to new commercial products, processes, or services—private firms in Africa can better deploy investment into successful innovations to propel the continent’s productivity and growth.
English | 6 Pages - September - Note 7 | © IFC, 2016
May 11, 2016
Mature-economy productivity levels remain almost five times higher than those of emerging countries despite a global productivity slowdown over the past five years. That provides ample catch-up opportunities for developing countries to generate growth and reduce poverty. Yet they will need to make good use of available business models and productivity-enhancing technologies to make it happen.
English | 4 Pages - May - Note 6 | © IFC, 2016