COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE

DFI maintains a number of professional Communities of Practice across the world. Meeting face-to-face regularly and talking through industry-wide challenges, these communities put students in direct contact with their peers in the industry and foster communication, cooperation, knowledge sharing and innovation.

Chattogram, Bangladesh

Highlights of their discussions have been:
• Mechanics of digital payments and local ecosystem
• Digital lending and comparison between Bangladesh and China
• Challenges and opportunities for microfinance institutions in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has formed an association called the Digital Finance Forum Bangladesh , which includes the Dhaka and Chattogram COPs.

Lagos, Nigeria

The Lagos COP was revived in September 2019 following an increase of students joining DFI courses.

Topics of their discussions include:
• Nigeria’s cashless policy and its implications for financial inclusion
• Business Model, Customer-Centric DFS and Customer Research
• Interoperability, Competition and Implications for Ecosystem Development

They are also working with the Abuja COP to form an association for digital finance practitioners in Nigeria.

Abuja, Nigeria

Abuja formed a COP in September 2019 and brings together current students and alumni to discuss and debate topics including financial fraud with POS devices and the responsibilities of banks and regulators, values for Fintech within Nigeria to allow them to deepen impact and increase services.

Digital identity and the challenges within Nigeria and its impact on financial services is a focus area for the group, they have written to several Government Bodies with the aim of convening a strategy meeting and influencing policy and implementation.

They are also working with the Lagos COP to form an association for digital finance practitioners in Nigeria.

Lome, Togo

A COP was established in Togo in September 2019 and have been discussing digital financial services and financial inclusion in Togo.

Topics debated include:
• Role of microfinance institutions, banks, & telecom operators in leading digital finance activity
• Financial inclusion in the WAEMU region and role of the central bank
• Increasing capacity building of DFS professionals in Togo

Douala, Cameroon

A COP in Douala was established in September 2019. They held several meetings and discussed topics including cryptocurrency and blockchain, payments systems and risk, and regulations in Cameroon.

The concept of a COP was welcomed and more meetings are expected for 2020.

Cape Town, South Africa

Students and alumni in Cape Town met three times in 2019, and partnered with local organisations including Cenfri, Yoco, XAGO and 71point4.

The focus of these meetings were discussing central bank digital currency and Libra, measuring financial inclusion and impact meaningfully, and payments within Africa.

Other topics being discussed include the role of insurance and insurtechs and their value for financial inclusion, successes and failures of mobile money, and South Africa’s regulator and policies and comparison to other countries.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

The DFI alumni in Abidjan have started to discuss the creation of an association and in particular its focus would be to influence the Government and lobby for financial inclusion.

Discussions at community of practice meetings included:
• E-commerce within West Africa, the progress, opportunities and challenges
• Role of fintech and innovation in financial inclusion, its benefits and competition to FSPs
• The use of Mobile Money in the development of digital microinsurance, the challenges and benefits that can be leveraged.

Maputo, Mozambique

A FinTech association for Mozambique is being established, with a launch in February 2020. Membership is open to Fintech organizations and individuals and the DFI alumni. One aim will be to influence telcos and Central Bank to introduce new services and decrease cost of digital payments.

Discussions at the COP meetings have been around:
• Regulatory sandboxes and financial inclusion
• Digital banks and principles and insights for the future of banking
• DFS Agents and networking
• Data privacy in a digital economy

Karachi, Pakistan

Karachi COP begin in February 2019 and is the second within Asia.

Discussions at the COP meetings included:
• Cryptocurrency and Libra
• Finding solutions for agriculture supply chain digitalisation – hosted with Nestle and found solutions for real-world issues
• Estonia’s e-initiative and applications/ideas for Pakistan
• Gender and DFS, and increasing financial inclusion for women

The focus for 2020's meetings are on start ups and digital money, and also how fintechs can increase financial inclusion, particularly for women.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

The alumni are in the process of forming a professional association in Bangladesh. The draft constitution was discussed, a Facebook group created and a logo agreed. The association will become registered in 2020, but activities and events, such as a webinar program and alumni meetings will be held whilst awaiting registration.

Topics discussed at meetings in 2019 include G2P payment successes in Bangladesh, risk-based approaches to AML/CFT for financial inclusion and digital payment products in Bangladesh, such as Nexas pay and ipay – challenges and successes.

The four areas that the association will be focused on for 2020 are: regulatory sandbox, interoperability, digital ID and credit. They plan to launch the association in the third quarter of the year.

Nairobi, Kenya

During alumni meetings it was agreed to start as a loosely structured group with the potential for organic growth and openness to partner with other associations/organisations. Three working groups have been formed to look at:
o Consultancies and jobs opportunities
o Structuring the alumni to create value for its members
o Marketing the alumni and DFI courses

Discussions at the COP meetings also included Kenya’s instant payment switch, and the differences between the Kenyan and Nigerian environment.

Lusaka, Zambia

The alumni launched there association, Association for Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP) on 14th March 2019. The association has a constitution and committee, and have a clear aim and vision, code of ethics and purpose. The Association has been approved by Bank of Zambia, Ministry of Finance and Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, and endorsed by FSD Zambia.

The launch centred around discussing interoperability, and the challenges and opportunities the National Switch will bring.

Other topics discussed include National Financial Inclusion Strategy for Zambia and the regulations and actions required; the role of Zambia’s disruptors, such as Zoona and mobile money and how to foster competition; and factors affecting financial inclusion – savings, insurance, access to credit, rural services and payments.

Kigali, Rwanda

The alumni are figuring ways to form an association or group potentially in collaboration with organisations such as Access to Finance Rwanda, the Central Bank and UNCDF. A successful breakfast event was held with Access to Finance Rwanda discussing the topic of platforms and providing profitable digital financial services to the poor.

Other discussions at COP meetings include:
• National Interoperability and financial inclusion
• Challenges of Fintechs in Rwanda and how to accelerate their impact
• Cyber security, managing risks for digital banking

Kampala, Uganda

An association – Digital Finance Professionals of Uganda was launched. The organisation has a website in place and the focus now is on recruitment of members, exposure and partnerships. Executive roles have been appointed and include literacy, membership, finance and partnerships, and terms of reference are to be established for their roles. A strategic plan is being developed for 2020 and 3 events will be held throughout the year.

Last year a breakfast meeting attended by over 80 people discussing the role of the regulator in innovation and in November the DFA collaborated with FSDU and the fintech association to host a joint conference in Kampala.

Harare, Zimbabwe

The alumni are working on registering a Zimbabwe DFS association. They have a core committee, a draft constitution and vision in place and they plan to launch in the first half of 2020.

At their first meeting of 2020, they discussed the unintended effects of DFS on vulnerable groups such as low income earners, small holder farmers in the rural areas, women and youth - DFS should offer Inclusion but depending on the circumstances the opposite may be true. Education of DFS, advocacy for consumer protection or consumer friendly policies is needed.

Other topics debated were the challenges with physical money and the taxes for digital money, the dominance of Econet within Zimbabwe and role of trust in DFS, and understanding customer needs and the products doing or failing to do this.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

A core team have been established and are developing a constitution and aims and are recruiting members to form an association. It is expected to launch in May 2020.

Discussions at meetings have included insights from the cashew value chain and how farmers can be engaged in DFS, savings groups and digital lending.

Dakar, Senegal

In 2019 the Senegal COP formed an association - the Association Digital Frontiers Senegal. The association is legally registered and has a vision, mission and aims along with a leadership team. Their aim is to promote digital transformation and contribute to sustainable development in the UEMOA zone.

Student have been getting together and discussing topics including the role of the WAMU region across West Africa and plans for interoperability across the region, National Payments System and factors hindering development of mobile money in Senegal.

The AML-CFT regulations in Senegal and the WAMU region were also debated and ideas for improvement, along with customer and provider related risk and security.

Cotonou, Benin

The alumni meet regularly to celebrate student’s achievements and also had panelists and guest speakers discussing issues relating to new digital initiatives in Benin and their risks and benefits, and strategies to implement for digital banking.

The plan for 2020 is to form an association with the plan to launch in the first half of the year.

Blantyre, Malawi

There is a group of alumni working on the establishment of DFS Association in Malawi,. A meeting will be arranged between students and alumni in Blantyre and Lilongwe in early 2020 to take this forward.

Other topics discussed include the National Financial Inclusion Strategy and regulations in Malawi, the development of national ID database and accessibility of information to financial institutions, cryptocurrency and monetary policy in Malawi and neighbouring countries, and the role of the regulator and industry.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The alumni to discuss the challenges and opportunities of DFS in Ethiopia. Ideas discussed to increase uptake of DFS included more flexible regulation, introducing a unique ID, demand driven products and improve telcom infrastructure and financial literacy.

Other discussions include how regulation is limiting financial inclusion, why only 35% of adults have a formal account, the gradual expansion of mobile money in reaching rural areas, and financial education.

The alumni are considering forming an Association within Ethiopia and four alumni are working on identifying an approach.

Accra, Ghana

The alumni are have created a committee whose role is to establish a DFS association for Ghana. They are developing objectives and will launch in 2020. Members have been voted into executive roles and a strategic plan for 2020 being developed. Their main aims are to influence policy and regulation.

Other current discussions include impact of regulatory changes made by Bank of Ghana, KYC challenges of allowing refugees to access DFS, the launch of mobile money interoperability last year, and the use of chatbots in banking.

If your location is not listed, you can join our global online Community of Practice – The League of Digital Finance Professionals. If you wish to start a community of practice in your location, please email DFI’s Community and Professional Development Manager, Sarah Corley: sarah@digitalfrontiersinstitute.org.

Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Facilitator: Yves Danielle Dote

Abuja, Nigeria

Facilitator: Adenike Adeniji

Accra, Ghana

Facilitator: Ophelia Ama Oni

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Facilitator: Tsigereda Worku

Blantyre, Malawi

Facilitator: Chikhulupiliro John Mphatso

Cape Town, South Africa

Facilitator: Sarah Corley

Chattogram, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Digital Finance Forum

Facilitator: Ear Mohammad

Cotonou, Benin

Facilitator: Carmen Ahounou

Dakar, Senegal

Facilitator: Madi Ouedraogo

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Facilitator: Elizabeth Mwamfwagasi

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Digital Finance Forum Bangladesh

Facilitator: MD Rashed

Douala, Cameroon

Facilitator: Gisele Yitamben

Harare, Zimbabwe

Facilitator: Ethel Chiwara Mupambwa

Kampala, Uganda

Digital Frontiers Association (DFA)

Facilitator: Edwin Byaruhanga

Karachi, Pakistan

Facilitator: Fahad Shahab

Kigali, Rwanda

Facilitator: Jimmy Rutabingwa

Lagos, Nigeria

Facilitator: Immanuel Omuokoro

Lome, Togo

Facilitator: Eloi Gome

Lusaka, Zambia

Association for Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP)

Facilitator: Charity Luchembe Chikumbi

Maputo, Mozambique

Facilitator: Esselina Macome

Nairobi, Kenya

Facilitator: Timothy Mukata