Escaping Darkness: Understanding Consumer Value in PAYGo Solar


This second report by CGAP and FIBR seeks to understand the value that customers derived from PAYGo solar and how they afford it. Going deeper than most surveys, this paper highlights the customers’ own words, along with aggregated insights—a blend of evidence and analysis while offering concrete recommendations for how providers can improve value to customers. 

Read the blog by CGAP here and download the report here. View the clever battery hacks that we saw in Ghana, Tanzania and Cote d'Ivoire to power light sources and charge mobile phones.

Amolo Ng'weno, BFA's Regional Director, taking over as FIBR Project Director

Amolo Ngweno BFA (300x300) Pixels.jpg

In January 2018, Amolo Ng'weno will be taking over from David Porteous as FIBR Project Director. Amolo is the Regional Director of BFA’s Nairobi office and Director of our Finance for Life Team. An early tech entrepreneur in Africa, she understands the entrepreneurial space well, but also spent time as a Deputy Director of the Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor Program -- as such, Amolo also deeply understands the donor and development community.

As FIBR Project Director, she will work with the FIBR team and partners to pull through useful and productive learnings during the second half of the project. Please join us in welcoming Amolo in this role!

Inclusive digital ecosystems of the future

digital ecosystems

In this second FIBR white paper, we consider the likely effects of an important new phenomenon that may accelerate the ‘pull’ factor of digital ecosystems—the rise of superplatforms. At the time of the launch of FIBR, the potential force of this phenomenon was not yet fully in view but the growth of superplatforms in China since even 2015 confirms that they are a factor to be taken seriously by a project like FIBR and by funders like Mastercard Foundation, which seek to promote innovative and client-centric solutions that work for low-income people. This paper describes and explores the phenomenon from different angles in order to explore potential implications for Africa and the environment in which FIBR and its partners will operate over the coming years. Download the report .

This infographic, a companion to the White Paper, visually walks users through the phenomenon explored by the paper - "the rise of the superplatforms." This infographic explores different dimensions of the phenomenon, including implications for stakeholders and clients in Africa over the next years through 2030. 


A Quick Guide to Nanoprojects: A Lean Method for Product Design

Image Credit: Tech in Asia

Image Credit: Tech in Asia

A nanoproject is an exercise in shortcutting the often-slow process of uncovering and understanding the risks inherent in a partner, product, and/or service.

Nanoprojects seek to take the shortest path from an idea to the learnings generated through pilots and trials. Having these lessons in hand earlier and faster means the organization is exposed to less risk when introducing new products or services. In particular, nanoprojects seek to lower:

Project Risk. Miscalculations around timing & scope, and how they affect budget and program deadlines.

Partner Risk. The extent to which new products and services often include new partners and institutional configurations, issues of bandwidth, ability to communicate clearly and honestly, focus, technical capacity, and chemistry across and within organizations are each examples of risks relating to a new or existing partner.

Product/Market Risk. Any issues related to product/market fit: the products’ targets, their problem(s), our solution(s), the channel(s) through which the solutions will be delivered, the utility or effectiveness of the solution in the real world, and the associated pricing.

Technical Risk. Whether tools are readily available and/or can be built to accomplish the task in the time allotted. Also includes feasibility of new integrations, conversion of existing records to digital data, and the networks and other hardware available to the partners and the product’s targets.

Learn more here


Finbots for Shopkeepers #3: Going from Data to Information


Finbots for Shopkeepers Series #3

With a single smartphone, small business owners can go from completely opaque information to being inundated with raw business data. Not bad for a $50–100 investment in technology! However, the raw data alone doesn’t make a difference — it’s the actionable insights distilled from the data that matter. So how can we turn sensor data into information that shopkeepers can use?

Learn more

Finbots for Shopkeepers #2: Tuning into Shops with Sensors

Photo: Flickr under Creative Commons

Photo: Flickr under Creative Commons

Finbots for Shopkeepers Series #2

What is the one thing small shopkeepers and professional hackers have in common? They don’t leave any digital traces. While that may be good for hackers, small retailers suffer from the lack of recorded data about themselves and their business. They are less productive with analog processes and have a harder time convincing lenders to give them business loans. Luckily, smartphones and their native sensors are changing the digital game for microentrepreneurs. Smartphone sensors are the first part of the formula for Finbot-fueled growth.

Continue reading…

Finbots for Shopkeepers #1: Sparking Growth in Corner Shops

Credit: Sokowatch

Credit: Sokowatch

Finbots for Shopkeepers Series #1

Small and micro enterprises (SMEs) are the economic backbone of emerging markets. Formal small and micro enterprises contribute up to 60% of total employment in emerging markets and create 4 out of 5 new formal jobs.

Unfortunately, many of these enterprises never reach their economic potential due to challenges such as unfavorable regulation and tax regimes, and a lack of employee trust, all of which eat into managerial bandwidth. Responding to these challenges leaves little capacity for these businesses to adopt new technologies and as a result, opportunities to boost productivity are left unmet and their economic potential remains unfulfilled.

Read more about this blog by David del Ser here