Weekly Review April 30-May 4

Every week, we read dozens of articles on our favorite industry trends and relate to our investment thesis. We pick the most popular trend from the week and share the top articles along with our thoughts.

In a follow up to our recent post on financial inclusion, this week we turned to our favorite industry blogs and mainstream media to see what they’re saying this week on the topic. We’ve included posts and articles from CGAP, Microfinance Focus, CNN, and the GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked Blog.

ARPU going low: the role of financial services in Latin America by Pablo Garcia Arabehety on CGAP
Declining or flattening average revenue per user (ARPU) is certain for telecoms around the world due to falling data and voice costs. Telecoms will find themselves under pressure to find ways to increase ARPU, particularly in Latin America, and offering financial services to the BoP is looking like the best option. If the telecoms don’t, someone else will. Regardless of who does it, we share CGAP’s sentiments: the competition “will hopefully result in a more tailored provision of services to those who most need it.”

Report on Financial Behavior of Rural Residents in Latin America on Microfinance Focus
Accion’s recently released research report provides excellent insight and recommendations on how to create and improve services for rural Latin Americans. Highlights include findings on savings habits: only one in two consumers in Latin America saves money. The report, “The Finanacial Behavior of Rural Residents,” is available for download here (pdf).

World Bank: 75% of poor don’t have bank accountsby Anne Renzenbrink on CNN
The World Bank recently published its first Financial Inclusion Report. Many people, including the folks at CNN, were surprised to learn that over 70% of the world’s poor don’t have a bank account. Compare this to developed countries, where 90% of adults do have a bank account. CNN even gives a mention to M-PESA, the industry’s most famous answer to financial inclusion.

Money, Real Quick: The Story of M-PESA by Paul Leishman on Mobile Money for the Unbaked Blog
It’s hard to discuss financial inclusion without mentioning M-PESA. If you’re interested in hearing about the first hand experience of the industry’s most renowned tool for financial inclusion, Tonny Omwansa and Nicholas Sullivan have written a must-read on the complete story of M-PESA. M-PESA has spurred a wave of innovation in Nairobi, which the authors address. The book is available for sale on Amazon.

New here?