Monday 05, March 2018 by Jessica Combes

FINCA trailblazes digital financial inclusion drive in Tanzania


Efforts to bolster digital financial inclusion in Tanzania and indeed other countries in Africa have received a boost following a productive conference organised by FINCA Micro-Finance Bank Tanzania in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

Bringing in experts, institutions and other players in the financial sector, the conference, held in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, culminated in a pledge by the participants to work more closely in collaboration with governments, telecoms and other financial sector players to come up with innovative and effective means of providing financial services to the base of the pyramid at scale and low cost.

To achieve its objectives, the conference underscored the instrumental role played by collaborative efforts by all sectors through leveraging rapid development in the MNO space, especially mobile money.

The event, drawing more than 100 participants, provided a platform to share key lessons and insights learned over the past five years through the FINCA - Mastercard Foundation partnership to scale financial services to the unbanked communities in Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi.

“Digital technology models are catalysts to financial inclusion and the development of the digital ecosystem is key to increasing access to finance. Digital platforms, such as mobile and agency banking are key in reducing the cost of reaching the millions of Tanzanians who are still unbanked. Partnerships with mobile network operators show great potential in scaling financial services more efficiently,” said FINCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Issa Ngwegwe, in his opening remarks.

Available statistics show that collaboration by various financial services and telecommunications sector has had positive and impactful result as evidenced by the increase in the usage of financial services throughout Tanzania from 58 per cent in 2013 to 65 per cent in 2017. However, despite these impressive statistics, more needs to be done to ensure a more productive inclusion.

Key takeaways from the conference included: a call to the government to create an enabling environment for financial access by having supportive laws and regulations; having a collaborative approach among the government, the private sector and civil society organisations; embracing technology that lowers costs and extends services into areas where bank branches may not exist; active efforts to assist the newly included people to take advantage of the services placed at their disposal; and a call for more collaboration among stakeholders from various sectors and in particular the telecommunication sector to address challenges of access to financial services and share best practices and encourage policies that enable more people to take advantage of the opportunities to improve their lives.



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