Deeping financial inclusion in sub-Saharan African using evidence-based decision making
Sonia Pietosi, DMAC, Janet Hayes, Constantin Albot
Customers using financial service providers (FSPs) in sub-Saharan Africa are not receiving the most relevant and profitable services, because current FSP business models are using inadequate data management and analytics. There is also a lack of skills and appropriate training. We (alongside Accion’s Global Advisory Services and Master Data Management) are implementing the ‘Deepening Financial Inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa Using Evidence-Based Decision Making’ Data Management and Analytic Capability (DMAC) project in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia over a period of two years.
Capacity gaps are found in FSPs and in their local services markets, and this impact is thus felt throughout the financial sector in sub-Saharan Africa. The project’s overall objective is to build capacity within sub-Saharan Africa’s FSPs to use data to design products and services that respond to the financial needs of customers. Our technical work stream comprises all the activities we will undertake with partner institutions to enhance their data management and analytics capabilities in order facilitate decision making and bring about meaningful financial inclusion.
We structured the project into three work streams, focusing on project design and management, technical assistance, and research and learning. Our focuses in the technical assistance work stream are partner selection, training FSP and logistic service provider (LSP) staff, product development, and product monitoring. Throughout the process, we will look to foster collaboration between local institutions, in order to encourage the sustainable generation of solutions within their operating markets.
The research and learning workstream will run parallel to the technical assistance workstream, and learning from each workstream will feed into the other. This workstream includes four modules: understanding the market, customers’ needs assessment, learning, and communication.
Outcomes and wider impacts
The ultimate goals of the project are:
- designing or redesigning at least six financial products for underserved segments across the project focus countries, expected to benefit up to 1.2 million clients in marginalised groups;
- creating a methodology/toolkit on evidence-based decision making for developing relevant and profitable financial services products for underserved segments (for use in other countries);
- building capacity within FSPs to use data in their product development processes;
- disseminating a series of best practice documents on learnings from the project;
- publishing impact studies for each of the three focus countries; and
- holding learning events in each country, involving both FSPs and local market research/analytics providers, to discuss and share insights and tools.