Finance for Impact is pleased to announce that it joined forces with Altai Consulting and Amarante Consulting to conduct a comprehensive mapping of payment streams and systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The team draws on deep expertise in financial inclusion, technology, and strategy to review existing payment systems, collect data and analytics on financial inclusion and end-users, and produce scenarios for delivering efficient payment services digitally to lower-income households and businesses. The first mission in DRC is scheduled to take place between 24-30 September 2017.

Finance for Impact strongly believes that technology-led financial solutions can play a crucial role in helping people move out of poverty. After three decades of innovation and unprecedented expansion, information and communication technologies (ICT) have been an important source of innovation in financial inclusion. Technology-driven financial inclusion projects have stimulated the geographical diffusion of financial services and greatly increased operational proximity of financial institutions to local economies. Mobile banking and telco-led payment systems are examples of how technology has fostered geographical expansion of financial services in developing Asia and Africa.

Not surprisingly, digital payment systems have become an important part of the overall package of financial inclusion policies in many developing countries. The establishment of an efficient and modern payment systems and associated digital settlement framework enable a conducive environment for financial inclusion. Digital payments systems are usually superior to paper-based systems as they are faster, safer and provide much desired efficiency and traceability. These digital payment systems usually provide an ease of enrolment, reduced charges, and enhanced control on transactions for beneficiaries.

“With payment systems, it is important to think carefully about what processes have to be in place, where the costs are in the system and what technology can be leveraged to help reduce financial inclusion. It is also important to think about how the regulatory environment can allow positive changes to happen in the financial system”, said Thierry Senechal, Managing Director of Finance for Impact. “There isn’t one right path and many countries have experienced different approaches. Most importantly, technology cannot solve all the problems and it is crucial to build capacity of low-income people in the areas of financial literacy and day-to-day money management. Our team will continue to identify and propose solutions that can be transferred to help solve these problems in the developing world.”