MicroSave, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation (MasterCardFdn.org), on Thursday, February 2, launched a new program to develop tailored training courses in digital financial services (DFS) in francophone markets of Africa.
The program is expected to benefit over 250 DFS providers and will focus on the WAEMU region, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Madagascar.
Additionally, a DFS knowledge portal in French will be launched as the go-to place for information on digital financial services.
Shifting from cash-based transactions to formal financial services provides economic benefits and stability not only for poor individuals but also their families and the economy. Expanding financial inclusion through DFS cannot occur, however, if ecosystem players lack an understanding of client needs and how to address them through a compelling offer delivered via accessible, trusted channels.
The program announced today will enable francophone markets to access training adapted to the local context. As well, it will provide regional benchmarking data and access to francophone expertise to local financial services enterprises and relevant government bodies.
“We are excited to leverage our experiences and expand our knowledge in francophone markets. That’s where we see the opportunity to increase financial inclusion working with regulators, financial institutions, mobile network operators and third party agent network operators,” states Graham Wright, MicroSave’s Director.
“We believe that successful agent networks hold a strong potential to reach large numbers of unbanked individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our partnership with MicroSave to launch Réseau Helix will help a range of financial institutions to build the technical and strategic capacities of their core
leadership and staff, enabling them to better meet client needs through agent networks,” says Sumaiya Sajjad, The MasterCard Foundation Program Manager.
Digital financial services are growing in the targeted countries but are hampered by high levels of inactivity and limited products and services. Providing training and assistance will lead to sustainable and tailored service offerings that address the real demand for digital financial services and unlock the potential of DFS.
After hearing about Réseau Helix (ReseauHelix.com), Maxime Fado, Head of Mobile Money for Moov in Benin said that “this news will bring us knowledge on best practices in this sector. The French courses offered in West Africa will allow a real focus on the specifics of the service in the local markets”.
Réseau Helix will build upon the lessons from The Helix Institute of Digital Finance and work closely with local providers to offer insights from research and operational experiences. This should lead to a better understanding of appropriate models, products and services to launch or expand DFS solutions.