As the world population exceeded 7 billion by the end of 2011, various agencies working to alleviate poverty had come to a general consensus that pure charity was not a sustainable solution. In the absence of venture capital and angel investors in developing markets, Microfinance (MF) was one of the most promising tools in the fight against poverty. MF institutions tended to focus on micro-lending, providing small loans to micro-entrepreneurs from which interest could be earned.
This case details the issues and challenges that Microfinance institutions faced a decade into the new millennium. The rise of mobile technology is a key theme as it promised innovative solutions. The case discusses various mobile financial services, including Safaricom’s M-Pesa and M-Kesho offerings, and focuses on Experian’s MicroAnalytics (EMA) unit, created to serve the financial services sector in developing countries. EMA developed an innovative system to enable financial service providers (clients) to serve their customers via a distributed, branchless, “mobile only” model. After a successful pilot study in the Philippines, EMA created a mobile banking platform that offered the potential of extending mobile money to other financial services as well as new customer and geographic segments.
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Hau L. Lee, Christopher Tang
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