AI: From Automation to Augmentation

Discovering the Practical Superpowers of Machine Learning


At FIBR, we are excited about the potential for AI technologies to reduce some of the complexity that defines the lives of lower-income segments that we work with. Our new report gathers examples of fintech providers already using AI to extend financial inclusion across Africa and shows the practical superpower applications of AI. Read on to find out what we’re discovering about machine learning and AI in Africa.

Interested in learning more about AI and our AI applications, join us for the AI webinar on June 6, 2018, 9am EST.


Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Financial Innovation

The Case for AI for Financial Services in Africa


AI has the potential to transform financial inclusion across Africa. A PAYGo provider no longer has to conduct a lengthy field visit to assess whether to enter a new market. Instead, they harness their own data along with contextual data like access and usage of mobile money agents to analyze the business case. SME retailers no longer struggle with inventory management and restocking their shelves in a timely manner. Rather, they use a product recognition app to automatically notify their wholesaler when they need more inventory. These are just a few of the potential uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and more specifically, machine learning (ML), to change the landscape of financial innovation across sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading


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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Three Barriers to Smartphone Readiness in Emerging Markets


The FIBR program seeks to leverage the fact that smartphone ownership is increasing, and that the adoption of these mini computers opens up a world of new data that was previously invisible - locked in paper ledgers or in the minds of small business owners and sales agents.

For this reason, Sokowatch and FIBR jointly developed a smartphone-enabled solution for ordering goods and accessing credit. Read about the key barriers to smartphone adoption by merchants in their businesses.

Watch our video about our partnership with Sokowatch

Africa SME Finance Forum 2018


Date: 15th - 16th May

Location: Nairobi

The Africa SME Finance Forum 2018 will examine the key challenges faced by MSMEs in Africa, and explore innovative local and global best practice solutions to promote youth entrepreneurship and enhance access to financing for MSMEs. The conference will focus on how Africa is harnessing digital technology to disrupt traditional banking industry and to create new banking infrastructure to fill gaps where there has been a lack of access to financial services. Topics covered include blockchain and SME finance, incumbent and "challenger" banking, electronic payments and remittances, and youth entrepreneurship finance.

The Africa Forum will also feature global good practices and cutting-edge innovations by bringing leading and successful innovators, internationally recognized experts, and successful practitioners to share their perspectives and experiences. The conference will be preceded by member only study visits to financial institutions and fintechs that have innovative ways of serving SMEs clients.

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…