Financial inclusion

Hundreds of millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa lack access to basic financial products and services, including savings, credit and insurance. Lack of access to financial services is particularly acute among the poor, among women and among those living in rural areas where the reach of traditional financial channels has historically been limited. 

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Expertise Areas

Monitoring and evaluation

With our combined expertise in financial inclusion and M&E, Genesis specialises in evaluations of development programmes targeting the financially excluded, as well as the review and support of M&E systems for donors, implementing partners (e.g. NGOs, financial institutions), institutional bodies and financial market facilitators. We provide our clients with the tools, information and insight they need to improve their interventions and produce better results, so that the financially excluded are better targeted through innovative products and delivery channels, and ultimately included in the financial market

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Financial literacy

Genesis provides M&E and strategy support to a number of financial institutions and industry bodies. These institutions and bodies offer the South African population programmes on consumer financial literacy. We act as a learning partner to our clients by providing feedback from ongoing monitoring and insight from programme evaluations. This feedback is used to inform the clients’ financial-education strategies so that the messaging is targeted and impactful. 

Market systems development

We seek to address financial inclusion through a financial sector development approach.  A market systems approach requires us to diagnose the root cause and not just symptoms of market failures. Our approach and team expertise equip us to consider all the critical elements of a financial market  –  from regulation and policy to infrastructure and the availability of market information  – to reach sustainability and scale. This expertise is reflected in market-led intervention design applying our specialist skills in strategy, product design, development of innovative business models, technology-enabled delivery channels, and enabling regulation, among others.

Strategy

We specialise in providing strategy review and development services to banks, donors, development programmes and industry associations. Our team draws on a variety of tools to assess opportunities, constraints against the prevailing macroeconomic environment, market dynamics and the profile and behaviour of poor customers that are financially excluded. 

Product and channel innovation

An important part of our work advising donors, development programmes, industry associations and private financial institutions is to support the design, development and review of innovative products and delivery channels capable of reaching financially excluded clients across sub-Saharan Africa. This expertise is also often used to inform our evaluations of financial inclusion development programmes, and these evaluations in turn produce recommendations which may lead to further product innovation

Projects

Microfinance sector in Rwanda still needs support

Project name:
End of project evaluation for the Microfinance Challenge Fund Rwanda

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation
Market systems development
Financial inclusion

Sector:
Financial Services

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

Client:
Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR)

Date:
2017

Country:
Rwanda


Genesis Analytics evaluated the Microfinance Challenge Fund Rwanda and found that the Rwandan microfinance industry still needs support.

Genesis was contracted by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) to conduct the evaluation of the Microfinance Challenge Fund Rwanda, which was designed and capitalized by KfW to address the microfinance industry in Rwanda’s inability to self-correct on the issues of weak technical capacity and access to refinancing.

KfW signed a grant agreement with the Government of Rwanda for €3-million to be channelled through AFR for the support of microfinance institutions (MFIs), and in April 2014 the Microfinance Challenge Fund was established. The fund provided microfinance institutions (MFIs) with refinancing and technical training and assistance for a period of three years.

The purpose of the evaluation Genesis conducted was to provide a holistic review of the fund, including its projects, take stock of how the fund performed, and assess the degree to which its objectives had been achieved. 

The evaluation approach amalgamated a sector review and a framework of good Challenge Fund practices, to create an analysis framework. Data and information collected through a document review, and engagements with the sector, programme staff and clients then fed into this analysis framework to answer the evaluation questions posed and inform the option analysis.

Using the findings of this evaluation Genesis reflected on the lessons learnt through the fund’s implementation and conducted a feasibility analysis for a second phase. Finally, based on the evaluation and an assessment of the recommendations, we provided key considerations for AFR to consider when deciding whether to support and expand the fund.

The results of the project were presented in March 2017 to key stakeholders in the microfinance sector. Stakeholders present included representatives from the Bank of Rwanda, commercial banks, microfinance institutions, donor agencies, industry organisations and NGOs. A robust and frank conversation was facilitated between these stakeholders, where the issues facing the sector were aired and interrogated.

Value assessment of Access to Finance Rwanda

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Review shows way to increase financial access

Project name:
The midterm evaluation of the Scaling Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa programme

Service:
Financial inclusion
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Financial Services

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

Client:
A private foundation

Date:
2016 - 2017

Country:
Malawi
Tanzania
Zambia


Genesis partnered a prominent private foundation in the financial inclusion community to identify what it had learnt in expanding access to formal financial services across the continent.

In 2013, FINCA was awarded a more than four-year grant called Scaling Up Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa (SFISSA). It was to expand its footprint and product offerings to low-income individuals in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia through:
• Developing and rolling out new agent and mobile banking channels to serve rural and hard-to-reach communities;
• Training FINCA’s middle management and frontline staff to support the roll out of FINCA’s new delivery channels and products;
• Supporting the development, integration and analysis of social performance metrics into every aspect of FINCA’s operations.

The grant assisted FINCA during its major institutional transformation. FINCA was in the process of transitioning to a deposit-taking microfinance institution. It had previously never implemented mobile and agent banking and had to learn how to become more commercially driven (as opposed to meeting its historical social mandate).

We were contracted to conduct a mid-term evaluation of SFISSA to establish whether the project was aligned to the grant objectives and would deliver on its outcomes, and to offer recommendations to improve implementation. 

The evaluation used multiple research methods across the countries to triangulate findings. Data was collected from FINCA staff (FINCA documents, interviews with senior staff and appreciative inquiry with FINCA frontline staff), FINCA clients (focus group discussions with FINCA clients and interviews with non-clients and dropout clients) and FINCA partners (interviews with FINCA agents). By considering the programme through different perspectives, the evaluation captured key lessons in the implementation of alternative delivery channels, staff capacity building and social performance management at various levels. 

The evaluation found that the three above-mentioned components fitted well with FINCA’s vision. Going forward, key considerations were:
• Improving FINCA’s ability to sustain the investment in alternative channels through pricing and client uptake;
• Sustaining the training and staff capacity efforts once grant funding ended;
• Aligning the spend on research to business needs.

The lessons informed practical recommendations which have been used by FINCA to formulate its Year 4 plan, which is guiding the remainder of the grant. 

Specifically, the evaluation considered FINCA’s institutional constraints to help it assess how far it had progressed and to make better decisions in future. For example, the team recommended that FINCA should focus less on its mobile offering, because people were mostly using it to repay loans, and that agents needed a better value proposition from FINCA to ensure sufficient buy-in.

To further enhance use of the evaluation recommendations, country-level reports were developed, which focused on improving implementation at the branch level. 

Strategy for financial inclusion unit of Ghanaian bank

Project name:
Strategy for the financial inclusion unit of a major Ghanaian bank

Service:
Strategy
Financial inclusion
Market systems development

Sector:
Financial Services

Area of Expertise:
Retail banking

Client:
Financial Sector Development Programme Africa (FSD Africa)

Date:
2014

Country:
Ghana


Our purpose was to assist a leading Ghanaian bank's Financial Inclusion Unit (FIU) to deliver on its overarching goal of having five million active accounts by 2018, and to identify ‘capability’ gaps that could potentially be supported by FSD Africa. The analysis involved a market opportunity analysis and internal capability assessment.

While it was clear that the goal was a stretch target, the analysis gave the initiative a green/amber light because, technically, the opportunity did exist and the bank had the three key advantages: it was the first mover in the mass market, it was given special dispensation by the central bank to run an agent network (the only bank in the market) and mobile-money solutions had not yet taken off.

Capability wise, however, the analysis highlighted numerous concerns. The operating model was not scalable (i.e. too many manual processes) and, structurally, the division was set up as a special project with duplicated main-bank functions (such as operations and IT) which substantially increased costs. Furthermore, a poor decision had been made about its IT platforms, i.e. a separate core-banking system had been built, which meant that customers from this segment could not interact with the main bank and vice versa.

The project concluded with the creation of a new organisational structure of a retail banking value chain continuum that eliminated the initial silo nature of the organisation. The business case investigation revealed key issues in terms of sales performances, card functionality and pricing. Together with overall process and systems problems, these formed the foundation for a list of key activities that would need to be undertaken for the unit to improve performance and achieve its goals. These key initiatives were then workshopped with key stakeholders in order to gain consensus and rank them in terms of priority. The bank decided to implement all of our recommendations.

Final evaluation of YouthSave Initiative

Project name:
Final evaluation of the YouthSave Initiative

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation
Financial inclusion

Sector:
Financial Services
Education
Public and Social
Youth economic opportunities

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

Client:
The MasterCard Foundation

Date:
2014 - 2015

Country:
Canada
Colombia
Ghana
Kenya
Nepal


The YouthSave initiative was a five-year youth savings and financial education programme aimed at 12 to 18-year-olds in Canada, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya and Nepal. It was implemented by a consortium of four partner organisations (Save the Children, CGAP, New America and the Centre for Social Development and Washington University in St Louis) through partnerships with commercial banks and research institutions in each country. 

YouthSave had a substantial research, learning and advocacy agenda that was intended to inform youth-based savings products and policies in and beyond its target countries.YouthSave was one of the first long-term programmes that had been funded by the foundation. 

Genesis was contracted by the MasterCard Foundation to conduct a final evaluation of the YouthSave initiative. The purpose of the evaluation was to document the achievements of the initiative, highlight the lessons learnt during the programme so as to further contribute to the youth savings evidence base, and inform the MasterCard Foundation's approach to the funding and programming of long-term, multi-country programmes and partnerships.

The research methods included a review and synopsis of key documentation, participating in the YouthSave Learning and Exchange Conference in Toronto in March 2015, interviews with 97 stakeholders and focus-group discussions with young people in each of the four countries. 

The evaluation questions were analysed and reported according to five thematic areas which had been identified by the consortium as priority learning areas. While the evaluation captured the achievements of YouthSave, it provided insight into the design and implementation of large, complex programmes by a consortium of partners that had informed the foundation's funding and programming strategy. 

During the evaluation the team also revisited YouthSave's “theory of influence”. This is the creation of knowledge and information to achieve broader systemic impact for youth. It also identified the need for the programme's learning agenda to be taken further and to be disseminated at a country level. Since the evaluation, the YouthSave partners have achieved a high level of dissemination and held dialogue workshops in each of the project countries.

Strategy for large microfinance investor

Project name:
Strategy development for a large microfinance investor

Service:
Financial inclusion
Strategy

Sector:
Financial Services

Client:
Large microfinance investor

Date:
2014

Country:
Ethiopia
Ghana
Kenya
Nigeria
Tanzania


Genesis was commissioned to undertake a review of the Africa strategy for a large non-profit organisation focused on improving access to finance across the world. Its activities include direct investments in microfinance institutions and related technology providers as well as investments in capacity-building services for the industry and clients at the bottom of the pyramid.

The project team first reviewed the organisation's proposed Africa strategy framework and delivered a memo to the co-leaders of the review, outlining and explaining recommendations for modifications based on its experience in access to financial services across Africa. Secondly, the team produced a market research paper that complemented the strategic review by identifying the key trends, themes, risks and gaps in financial inclusion across Sub-Saharan Africa that could be addressed by the organisation. The findings of the review were then presented to the organisation at a strategic workshop.

Unlocking competition in digital finance in Africa & Asia

Project name:
Unlocking competition in digital finance

Service:
Financial inclusion
Competition economics

Sector:
Financial Services

Client:
Confidential

Date:
2015 - 2016

Country:
Bangladesh
India
Kenya
Nigeria


Genesis was commissioned to study impediments to more effective competition in mobile money markets in four markets – India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria. The explosive growth in mobile money in a number of countries has made a key contribution to providing the poor with access to financial services. At the same time, in some of these markets, the presence of dominant providers, inappropriate regulations, and other problems may prevent effective competition, to the detriment of consumers and to innovation.

The purpose of the study was to provide the client with insights into (i) potential regulatory or market-based solutions to identified problems; and (ii) how these might be promoted to improve competitive outcomes for consumers of digital financial services (“DFS”).

The team conducted the study by utilising four main tools i.e.:

  • A competition policy framework  based on economic theory
  • An extensive literature review on DFS, payment systems, competition and regulation issues in network industries, and also in multi-sided platform industries
  • Stakeholder engagements in the four countries, i.e., DFS/MFS providers, regulators, banks and mobile network operators (MNOs)
  • Internal financial sector expertise and knowledge provided by the project leader, Richard Ketley  

In addition to various country-specific recommendations, Genesis identified the following cross-cutting priorities:

  • That appropriate regulation is required for USSD pricing. Cost-based pricing of USSD is a critical enabler of competition.
  • Regulators should drive full interoperability between competing MFS platforms
  • Regulatory capacity building is required at the interface between competition law and payment systems regulation to develop the pro-competitive regulatory approaches in future.

Strategy for financial education in Ethiopia

Project name:
Developing a Financial Education Strategy and Implementation Plan for the Public Financial Enterprise Agency

Service:
Financial inclusion

Sector:
Education
Financial Services

Client:
DAI Europe Ltd

Date:
2016

Country:
Ethiopia


As part of a national drive to increase financial inclusion in Ethiopia, the Public Financial Enterprise Agency (PFEA) decided to develop a financial education strategy and implementation plan focused on savings mobilisation and building on existing government systems to deliver effective and innovative financial education (FE).

Genesis was contracted by Enterprise Partners, through DAI-Europe, to develop the FE strategy and implementation plan.

In developing the strategy, Genesis undertook a literature review of the Ethiopian FE landscape. Given the limited literature available on financial inclusion and FE in Ethiopia, Genesis conducted comprehensive primary research, including interviews in Addis Ababa and focus groups in five regions. 

From this, Genesis developed a draft strategy and implementation plan that was presented in a validation workshop with key FE stakeholders in Ethiopia. Comments from the workshop were incorporated into the final FE strategy and implementation plan.

Final evaluation of Banking on Change

Project name:
Final evaluation of Banking on Change

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation
Financial inclusion

Sector:
Financial Services

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

Client:
A CARE International programme managed by Plan UK and Barclays

Date:
2015 -2016

Country:
Egypt
Ghana
India
Kenya
Tanzania
Zambia


Banking on Change was a partnership between Barclays, CARE International UK and Plan UK aimed at extending savings-led financial services to vulnerable individuals. 

The programme had three core components: the introduction and expansion of the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) methodology to low-income youth and adults, the delivery of various forms of training to the VSLAs, including financial literacy, enterprise, employability and bank literacy training, and to link a third of the Banking on Change VSLAs in Africa to Barclays and other formal financial institutions. 

The programme was implemented in two three-year phases. Phase 2 had a greater focus on young people and was rolled out from 2013 to 2015 in Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. 

Genesis was contracted by the partnership to conduct a final evaluation of Phase 2 to understand the achievements and impact of the programme and to document the key learnings that have emerged to inform future efforts in savings-led financial inclusion for the youth. 

The research methods employed by the Genesis team included a desktop review of data and documentation, 45 stakeholder interviews at the global and country levels, and 12 focus-group discussions with savings group members in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. 

The evaluation was an important validation of Banking on Change's achievements and highlighted lessons that informed each partner's future approaches to design and programming in the financial inclusion and youth economic opportunities sectors.

Access-to-finance model for Mozambique

Project name:
Design of an access-to-finance programme in Mozambique

Service:
Financial inclusion
Strategy

Sector:
Financial Services

Client:
Department of International Development in UK (DFID)

Date:
2012

Country:
Mozambique


A consortium of Genesis and the International Capital Corporation (Mozambique) was awarded the contract to design an access-to-finance programme in Mozambique. This was to be based on the model of the Financial Sector Deepening Trusts that DFID has established in various African countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

 The consortium produced a detailed concept note exploring the access-to-finance landscape and opportunities in Mozambique. It also developed a focused business plan for the programme, which described recommended interventions and included an investment appraisal (a valuation of the programme's costs and benefits), a logical framework and a risk assessment that took political and economic considerations into account. 

Final review of rural finances programme

Project name:
End-term review of Financial Services for Rural Communities and Smallholder Farmers in Africa Programme

Service:
Financial inclusion
Strategy
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Financial Services

Client:
MasterCard Foundation

Date:
2014

Country:
Ghana
Malawi
Mozambique
Rwanda
Uganda


Genesis was commissioned by the MasterCard Foundation to conduct an end-term evaluation of the Financial Services for Rural Communities and Smallholder Farmers in Africa programme. 

This had been implemented over five years by Opportunity International’s operations in Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda and Mozambique with support from the MasterCard Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The last mid-term evaluation was conducted in 2011.

The aim of the review was to assess such components as agricultural value-chain financing; the use of innovative extension services and data capturing technology; the creation of low-cost points of operational presence in rural areas; and the use of technology to drive down the cost of these points of presence.

In addition to evaluating the success of the programme across these components, the review also investigated the performance, strategic added-value and scalability of new focus areas being implemented through the programme. These included education finance products and services targeted at education entrepreneurs and parents of learners.

It also included a partnership to leverage the Grameen Foundation’s network of community knowledge workers in order to provide extension services using Grameen AppLabs for technical support on mobile banking.  The findings of the review were presented to stakeholders representing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MasterCard Foundation and Opportunity International.

Business case for development finance plan

Project name:
Opportunities for the deployment of development capital in Sub-Saharan Africa

Service:
Financial inclusion
Strategy

Sector:
Financial Services

Client:
Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa

Date:
2015

Country:
Ghana
Mozambique
Tanzania
Uganda


Genesis was appointed by FSD Africa to conduct research on the remaining opportunities for development finance in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The research played an important role in defining the scope for FSD Africa to provide development capital to the market. It also provided foundational information for the development of a new policy instrument for DFID and FSD Africa in the form of capital for development.

Our report to FSD Africa documented supply and demand gaps in a number of development sectors. It also included a set of recommendations on the deployment of development capital and addressed gaps in the financing of these sectors. These were accepted and formed the basis of a business case presented to DFID for financing.

Access to finance for 12 000 small-scale farmers

Project name:
Development of Value Chain Finance Products

Service:
Strategy
Financial inclusion
Market systems development

Sector:
Agriculture and Agribusiness
Financial Services

Area of Expertise:
Rural and agricultural finance

Client:
Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust

Date:
2015 ongoing

Country:
Zimbabwe


The Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust (ZADT) aims to address the challenge of small-scale farmers who often struggle to access finance for agricultural production, locking the farmers into low input- low output production models. 

Small-scale farming is the backbone of the rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe. However, small-scale farmers often struggle to access finance for agricultural production, locking farmers into low input- low output production models. 

The ZADT aims by to achieve this by supporting financial institutions to lend into the smallholder agricultural sector. In pursuit of this aim, ZADT established the Credit for Agricultural Trade and Expansion (CREATE) fund, a revolving fund accessed by value chain actors through financial institutions. The fund provides working capital to input suppliers and off-takers whose activities ultimately benefit smallholder farmers.

In an effort to increase the fund’s impact, ZADT contracted Genesis to develop and pilot financial products suitable for direct access by smallholders.  To ensure the design of suitable products, Genesis adopted a two-phase approach. In Phase 1, we conducted a value chain analysis of the smallholder agricultural sector. 

Two key insights emerged from the analysis. Firstly, it led to the selection of the mung bean and sesame value chains for product development and testing. Secondly, it identified the financing needs of smallholders in those value chains. Building on the second insight, in Phase 2 we focused on designing a financial product that would best meet sesame and mung bean farmers’ identified financing needs.

Genesis proposed the development of a production credit facility to directly finance smallholder production. The facility will be piloted in the sesame and mung bean value chains, where an estimated 12 000 farmers are expected to access this new credit service of the CREATE Fund. 

Importantly, the new facility will support ZADT to directly finance smallholders, contributing to increased productivity, incomes and ultimately improved rural livelihoods.

Learning partner in consumer financial education

Project name:
Learning partner for the South African Financial Services Board

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation
Financial inclusion

Sector:
Financial Services
Public and Social
Education

Area of Expertise:
Ongoing support as a learning partner

Client:
Financial Services Board (FSB)

Date:
2014 - ongoing

Country:
South Africa


Along with the implementation of consumer financial education projects, one of the FSB’s goals is to become a thought leader in consumer education in South Africa. 

As the Secretariat of the National Consumer Financial Education Committee and market-conduct authority under the Twin Peaks model of regulation, the FSB plays a pivotal and influential role within this space. To further entrench itself as a thought leader, it is important that the FSB generates and disseminates lessons and best practices about the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of consumer education projects.

In order to ensure that these are appropriately captured, Genesis developed a learning agenda for the FSB’s consumer-education project portfolio. This includes specific learning questions that are answered through various research methods, drawing on the monitoring and evaluation of the FSB’s current and future projects, as well as additional research gathered from financial-service providers, policy-makers and researchers. 

The FSB learning agenda and research investigate the impacts of consumer education on beneficiaries, and generate many valuable insights into what works successfully - for whom and under what circumstances. 

Genesis is working with the FSB to ensure that this knowledge will be published and distributed in evaluation reports on the FSB website, in local and international policy and business forums and at conferences. We  intend and expect that FSB learnings will be shared broadly and applied in the real world of consumer-education programmes and policies, as well as in broader financial inclusion, to improve programmatic outcomes.

Monitoring consumer financial education in SA

TOP: Performance as part of the FSB financial literacy awareness campaign, Save Now

Meet the Team

Areas of Service Expertise

  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Financial literacy
  • Market systems development
  • Strategy
  • Product and channel innovation

Projects

Project

Microfinance sector in Rwanda still needs support

Genesis Analytics evaluated the Microfinance Challenge Fund Rwanda and found that the Rwandan microfinance industry still needs support.

View Project
Project

Review shows way to increase financial access

Genesis partnered a prominent private foundation in the financial inclusion community to identify what it had learnt in expanding access to formal financial services across the continent.

View Project

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Leading the team

Richard Ketley

Director and Managing Partner (Financial Services Strategy)

Richard Ketley
Director and Managing Partner (Financial Services Strategy)
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​Alyna Wyatt

Partner (Evaluation for Development)

​Alyna Wyatt
Partner (Evaluation for Development)
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Dhashni Naidoo

Manager

Dhashni Naidoo
Manager
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Mauro Mela

Principal (Financial Services Strategy)

Mauro Mela
Principal (Financial Services Strategy)
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Caitlin Smit

Manager

Caitlin Smit
Manager
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