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MNOs sweep up Africa at the banks’ expense

During the discussions at Dot Finance Africa, there was a very interesting dialogue about the mobile network operators (MNOs), with panels featuring Airtel and M-PESA.  It was interesting to hear them talking directly about how they focus upon the customer experience and their singular objective of convenience.  Both MNOs talked about customer convenience.  The convenience…

We need some education (but no thought control)

I often think we need a reality check when it comes to digital finance.  Many of the pundit analysts and influencers out there believe no one needs a branch visit and that everything can be done remotely on devices.  I don’t.  I’ve mentioned this many times and, psychologically, customers need the reassurance that they can…

Digital is in our DNA

When you have your basic needs covered – food and shelter – what do you need then?  According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s our psychological needs – love, belonging, self-esteem. This is exactly where digital plays into our hearts.  Our love and belonging is in Facebook and Baidu, which is why these are so…

A disruptive innovation appears

I was listening to a financier talking about FinTech the other day, and claiming that they are all sustaining innovations and not disruptive.  They were referring to Clayton Christensen’s innovator’s dilemma discussions, where Professor Christensen points to different markets that were destroyed by disruptors.  Those markets include the American car industry, destroyed by cheaper Japanese…

Western Union: is the future bright or dark?

I recently was hauled up over saying that Western Union (WU) was being disrupted by FinTech.  The words that a reader took issue with are: The high fees of Western Union and other remittance providers were fairly punishing … until FinTech came along Western Union is being disrupted, to an extent, but this person was…

When will banks stop seeing financial inclusion as charity?

I was asked this question at a recent conference and yes, banks do believe that the mass poor are just that: poor.  How do you make a profit out of the poor?  Well, truth be told, the poorest are the most profitable.  They’re the ones who need loans and go overdrawn, and therefore pay all…

Most thinking about poverty is wrong

There are basic human needs: food, drink, sleep … wifi.  Once those are covered, everything else is supplemental.  It’s not needed.  It’s just stuff you want.  If you can eat, drink and sleep comfortably, what else is there? I only ask this question because I was thinking about what we value, and realised that we…

web 4.0, the 2020s and the Internet of Things

We are already entering the fourth-generation internet, the internet of things, but it won’t really take off until the next decade, the 2020s.  Sure, we have self-driving Teslas and Nest home appliances, along with Samsung’s Smart Things, but it’s not mainstream yet.  For example, none of my friends has a self-driving car yet. This will…

The unbankable banked

Reflecting on the last year, it’s been crazy.  I feel like I’ve spent most of the year jumping on and off airplanes.  Most visited cities are London, for obvious reasons, and Singapore.  I must have been there five or six times this year, and that reflects Singapore’s ambitions to be a Fintech hub.  I’ve also…

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