FIBR’s Next Generation of Linkages to Financial Services: Betting on PAYGo

The Promise of Tangible, Flexible and Sustainable Services

Co-authored with Sushmita Meka

 FIBR Project director presenting FIBR’s portfolio of PAYGo partners

FIBR Project director presenting FIBR’s portfolio of PAYGo partners

Reflecting on two years of FIBR’s strategic investments and technical assistance. What we’ve learned so far:

Insight 1: Fintech companies need to create incentives to digitize by providing immediate, tangible benefits

Insight 2: Fintech companies need tools to analyze and derive insights from the data

Insight 3: Fintech companies need assistance and tools to develop customer-centric, mobile-based apps with accessible user interfaces to expand their services

Insight 4: Fintech companies need support to develop relationships with FSPs to convince them to leverage their digitized channels to deploy digital financial services.

Continue reading our reflections.

Why MFIs will (Finally) Crack the Solar Market

 Photo credit: Dan Waldron

Photo credit: Dan Waldron

Blog post written by Daniel Waldron

We have long hoped that microfinance would hold the key to unlocking access to energy for low-income households. Until now, we have been largely disappointed. Now, in partnership with pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar providers, that hope may finally become reality. This blog post explores the opportunities available for MFIs in the PAYGo sector.

Realities of Digitizing PAYGo Operations in an Unbundled World

  PEG Africa Sales Agent, Juapong, Ghana. Credit: Martin Wright

PEG Africa Sales Agent, Juapong, Ghana. Credit: Martin Wright

Digitizing operations for PAYGo 2.0 providers seems like a no-brainer. After all, digitization can make operations more efficient, easier to track, and more cost-effective. But digitization is trickier in practice than on paper. Our recent work with PEG Africa, a leading PAYGo operator in West Africa, is a great example of the new opportunities and obstacles presented by digitization. Through building a smartphone app for in-the-field sales agents, FIBR helped PEG address a number of pain points that their agents experienced, improved critical data visibility to both their headquarters and agents, and strengthened PEG’s relationship with their salesforce.

The Promise of “Unbundling“ to Reshape PAYGo Solar

 Photo credit: Oikocredit, a PEG PAYGo customer

Photo credit: Oikocredit, a PEG PAYGo customer

PAYGo solar companies are now looking to specialize in one or two pieces of the solar puzzle including hardware, software, distribution, consumer financing, and value-added services. If successful, this unbundling will create more product options and greater flexibility for distributors, financial service providers, and end consumers of solar energy. What are the implications of an ‘unbundled’ #PAYGo business model?

Jacob Winiecki explores the implications of an unbundled PAYGo business model in this first post in a series on FIBR's collaboration with PEG Africa. Read the post.

Predicting Payment Behavior in PAYGo: Machine Learning Can Power Customer Retention


The PAYGo model makes solar affordable for end-users and provides sufficient margin for providers to scale last-mile distribution. However, for the model to succeed PAYGo operators must retain customers and build a base of loyal and engaged customers. Our project with Zola Electric (formerly Off Grid Electric) demonstrates that machine learning can help them do so. Read the post.


The Odd Couple: PAYGo Solar and Financial Services.

  Photo Credit: Dawn Deeks

Photo Credit: Dawn Deeks

Can the data generated by PAYGo solar providers open new avenues for financial services to be extended to low-income customers? FIBR is partnering with FINCA's BrightLife and FINCA Uganda to demonstrate the potential of this model and explore how PAYGo companies -- particularly ones with highly digitized operations -- can help low-income consumers access superior financial services through formal providers.

FIBR.AI - An Experimental Gallery of AI Applications for MSMEs and PAYGo

Screenshot 2018-05-23 12.24.12.png

The FIBR AI Gallery serves the goal of accelerating the introduction, adaptation and productization of AI tools in financial services in the PAYGo and MSME sectors. As a starting point we are actively exploring scenarios in which computer vision, predictive analytics and natural language processing can be used to produce gains and alleviate pains for PAYGo providers and merchants.

Our goal for the AI Gallery is to bridge the gap between the real needs of our partners and the cutting-edge AI developments that have the potential to address these needs.We are accomplishing this by first demonstrating to these partners some of these technologies in their raw, non-productized form and openly discussing whether and how they see these technologies being useful in their day-to-day life. 

Webinar: "Artificial Intelligence: Practical Superpowers," a New Report by BFA

Following the launch (May 16th) of the FIBR report, “Artificial Intelligence: Practical Superpowers,” we are hosting a follow-up webinar to present the paper and its insights.

As one of the first reports that looks at AI applied to financial services in Africa, this webinar is for fintech companies and FSPs in Africa, that might be interested or looking to move into AI.

By presenting insights from the report and having a panel discussion, we seek to create awareness around the real-use cases of AI for FSPs that can augment the ability of companies to do business better with AI-powered tools.

  • When: 6 June 2018, 9am-10:00am EST
  • What and Where: Presentation and panel via webinar


  1. Matt Grasser, Deputy Director of Inclusive Fintech | BFA  
  2. Qiuyan Xu, Chief Data Scientist | Cignifi  
  3. Andrea Ottina, Chief Business Development Officer | Access Tanzania  
  4. Sheel Mohot, Partner | 500 startups  

Moderated by Jane del Ser, Insights & Influence at BFA


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