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Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa > Advisory Services  > Access to Finance  > Partnership for Financial Inclusion 

2014 Annual Event

Our Partners

MasterCard FoundationAustrian Development Bank

Sharing our findings, and learning from others

Field Notes

Our series of Field Notes shares the research performed by the Partnership for Financial Inclusion in a summarized and easily accessible format. This 4-pager publication contains the latest insights and lessons learned in the program, drawing on our clients’ work on expanding microfinance and mobile financial services. It also includes the program's topical research, on some of the issues currently most relevant to our clients and the broader industry in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

Our research on Microfinance

Contributing to the public knowledge base for the microfinance industry in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond is very important to The Partnership for Financial Inclusion. Below you find case studies, research reports and evaluations that our team produces in the course of the program. Focus areas include scaling up of commercial microfinance, building greenfield microfinance institutions, implementing agent and mobile banking channels, and client uptake.

  • Greenfield MFIs in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Business Model for Advancing Access to Finance examines the progress to date of the greenfield microfinance business model in Sub-Saharan Africa. It finds that after five years in operation, greenfield MFIs on the continent attain larger size, greater reach, higher loan quality and better profitability than MFIs with no strong holding or network affiliation. The paper was co-authored by experts from IFC and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, CGAP, and is part of CGAP’s Forum publication series. 

Our research on Mobile Financial Services

Given that the mobile financial services industry is in its infancy and business models are still unproven, the Partnership for Financial Inclusion is dedicating significant resources to documenting lessons learnt in the program. Our findings are published in a number of topical research reports, case studies and evaluations, and focus areas include partnership models in mobile deployments, interoperability, and client uptake.


  • The Alternative Delivery Channels and Technology Handbook is a practical step-by-step guide to help managers and project teams of financial institutions successfully navigate an ADC implementation from strategic conceptualization to implementation. While the focus is on the technical aspects of ADC projects, there are a host of other market and business factors to consider, which are also discussed. The Handbook was produced in collaboration with Software Group. 

  • Achieving Interoperability in Mobile Financial Services: Tanzania case study. In September 2014 the mobile financial services industry in Tanzania signed an agreement that allows customers belonging to one mobile money scheme to transfer money to a customer with an account at a different mobile money scheme. Tanzania thus became the first country in the world with an industry-agreed interoperable market for mobile financial services. IFC facilitated the negotiations that led to the agreement and this case study documents each step of the process, from preparation and industry alignment to the rules drafting phase, to provide advice to other markets that seek interoperable solutions. 

  • The Overview of the Mobile Financial Services Market in Cote d’Ivoire 2013, available in English and French, is based on market data from the BCEAO and describes the growth of customers, transactions, and transaction values and types. The overall performance indicators show that mobile financial services have reached a reasonably high level of adoption in Cote d’Ivoire, with over 2.0 million active users of mobile financial services in in 2013 and nearly $2.5 billion in e-money transactions during the year.

  • In The Fast Lane: Innovations in Digital Finance. This new study from IFC and The MasterCard Foundation surveys the major trends and innovations in the field of financial inclusion, with a special focus on advances directly applicable to Sub-Saharan Africa. Many new innovations further enhance and improve existing mobile money infrastructure, but the study also points to innovations that build on the existing system to supply services such as microinsurance, pay-as-you-go solar power or drinking water, and text books on demand. English | French

  • The Partnerships in Mobile Financial Services: Factors for Success is the first research study on mobile financial services from the Partnership for Financial Inclusion. It looks at what factors determine successful commercial partnerships between mobile network operators, financial institutions and payment providers in the deployment of mobile financial services, drawing on case studies from Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya and Pakistan.

  • The Microfinance Institutions and Mobile Financial Services Channels presentation was given by authors Joseck Mudiri and Mark Flaming at the 6th African Microfinance Conference in Durban in August 2013. It examines what it takes for a microfinance institution to successfully employ mobile financial services channels and agent networks in reaching out to low-income customers and small businesses.

  • From Mobile Money to Mobile Banking is a presentation given by Barnabé François, chief executive officer of MicroCred Banque Madagascar, at the 6th African Microfinance Conference in Durban in August 2013, sharing lessons learned in the microfinance institution’s work with mobile financial services to date. 

Program Knowledge Sharing

The Partnership for Financial Inclusion regularly brings its clients together to explore common challenges and opportunities, and to share lessons learned. We believe other microfinance institutions and industry players may benefit from our learning too, and below you find the reports and documentation from our meetings.


  • The first peer-to-peer meeting of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion was held in Nairobi in May 2013, and brought together 25 representatives of 8 client institutions with IFC and external specialists to explore opportunities in agri-finance, risk management and product development for alternative channels. This report summarizes the discussions.


External resources
The Partnership for Financial Inclusion works in close collaboration with knowledge partners like CGAP and The World Bank. Below you find a list of external publications that our team of specialists in microfinance and mobile financial services find useful, as well as some of the public resources produced by IFC and The MasterCard Foundation in other programs.


  • The New Microfinance Handbook was published by the World Bank in February 2012 and has been hailed as the single best source on the evolving microfinance industry. It looks at the industry from a financial markets system perspective, putting the customer at the centre of analysis. Covering different aspects of the industry it is written to bring both experts and newcomers to microfinance on to a level playing field. 
  • The IFC Mobile Money Toolkit is a comprehensive collection of publicly available information as well as original content and newly created materials to support the development of mobile financial services. It covers regulation, market strategy, customer value propositions, agent networks, risk mitigation strategies, call centre management, and channel management.
  • The Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment 2012 assesses the microfinance business environment around the world by looking at regulatory framework and practices, supporting institutional framework and political stability.







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