MIX News Brief: 10 May 2019

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10 May 2019


Every other week we post recent articles curated by our team of data analysts and financial sector experts.  The articles span sectors and topics including fintech, smallholder finance, mobile money and more.  The MIX News Brief is intended to keep socially responsible investors and businesses updated on the latest thinking on financial services for the poor because, at MIX, our mission is to provide the data, analytics and insight that enable decision makers to build inclusive financial services ecosystems.  Let us know what you think by tweeting at @mix_market!   


How to Create a More Diverse – and Inclusive – Fintech Landscape (CFI)

We might be impartial but this article is great (OK, fine, it was written by Chrissy Martin Meier, our fintech lead). Regardless, the message is important. Much of the investment in fintech is concentrated in just a few companies and there is a lack of understanding of how to measure 'inclusiveness'. The former is a consequence of established investor networks (and the perhaps unintentional exclusivity of them) and the latter is likely the result of the newness of the inclusive fintech space. But fear not! We're confident that with better data and information (are you noticing a theme with us?) it's possible to highlight the concentrations and gaps in investment flows and use standardized data to create benchmarks and measure inclusion. Read the article to find out how the team at MIX is working to do just that.


Payments as a platform: The future of mobile money (GSMA)

In light of an upcoming webinar hosted by FiDA, we thought it timely to feature a report published by GSMA back in February titled Embracing payments as a platform for the future of mobile money. Ultimately, the authors argue that for the mobile money industry, the next step for the business model is to evolve to deepen engagement with customers - both individuals and businesses. The use cases are numerous but all would serve to diversify revenue streams away from relying solely on customer fees while creating a "frictionless end-to-end experience". Connecting with third-party services from multiple industries would expand the benefits of digital payments by providing greater convenience. Sign up for the webinar to hear directly from GSMA's Nika Naghavi.


Why multiple currencies create financial health challenges in Serbia (Accion)

It's been clear for decades that low-income households live exceedingly sophisticated financial lives. Still, it is easy to forget that fact. So, we are glad when we see articles like this one - from MIX alum Jacqueline Foelster - digging into the nuance of daily financial decisions. The dual-currency dynamic paints a picture of a delicate balancing act, with vendors, farmers, and shop owners deciding whether to save dinars or Euros, which currency to accept from buyers, and if they have a choice in which currency to pay suppliers. Yet, the takeaway from Ms. Foelster's time in Serbia is relatively clear; "Euros are for saving - dinars are for spending."


Navigating New Frontiers for Women’s Financial Inclusion: Data and Harmonization in a Digital World (Center for Global Development)

At USAID's Digital Financial Inclusion for Development forum in April (read the recap here), one recurring question that arose in nearly every discussion (and rightfully so) about digital financial services was: What does this mean for women? Technology has the potential to reduce the gender gap but it also could exacerbate inequity in access to financial services. In a recent commentary from CGD and Data2X, the authors call for data harmonization - including aligning on core definitions and indicators - and incentivizing DFS providers to collect gender-disaggregated data. As the authors explain, "Gender data ... is a necessary first step to create robust policy and market interventions to support women’s financial inclusion."