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.

Cape Town, South Africa

The alumni met three times in 2018, discussing China, AI and Big Data; the use of mobile money to proliferate microinsurance; and DFI’s 3 Founders (Gavin, Ignacio and David) discussed their wishes and opinions of DFS globally.

Alumni and students came up with a new AI based budgeting app, which interestingly is very similar to the approach several new digital banks launching in 2019 are taking.

Other topics being discussed include privacy of data, reaching the bottom of the pyramid, role of insurance in financial inclusion, and moving towards a more meaningful understanding of customer needs and usage.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

The alumni met to debate the use of Mobile Money in the development of digital microinsurance, the challenges and benefits that can be leveraged.

Another topic debated was ways people lauder money and how Ivory Coast is making efforts to meet international standards.

Discussions at COPs are currently are around the role of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency, agricultural value chains and barriers to DFS for farmers, and the role of biometrics and desire for ID regulation changes.

Maputo, Mozambique

A FinTech association for Mozambique is being established, some alumni are involved and more will be invited to be involved during 2019. The association is being registered and a website established.

The alumni discussed the possibility of the alumni group being able to help SIMO in the definition of a strategic development plan for the next five years.

The first alumni meeting was a presentation from Gavin Krugel on FinTech talent and a presentation of certificates for previous graduates, and another meeting had a guest presenter, Amithab Saxena, who presented and facilitated a discussion on ways to fix the low adoption in digital finance.

Discussions around the regulatory sandbox and its impact and lessons learnt has been held, along with challenges within the RTGS and impact on real-time and interoperable transactions, and the need for a digital ID for all, and in-country capacity issues preventing this.

Karachi, Pakistan

Karachi is our newest COP, having been re-commissioned in February 2019 and is the second within Asia.

Topics discussed include payment instruments and channels within Pakistan, the challenges of infrastructure and security affecting uptake of DFS and the acceptance/preference for cash.

Digital financial journey initiated by Nestle Pakistan were invited and discussed the digital financial journey they initiated for their supplier farmers.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

At the first alumni meeting, the group agreed to form a professional association in Bangladesh. The draft constitution was discussed, a Facebook group created and a logo agreed. The association will become registered and plans to collaborate on events with other institutions was discussed.

At the second alumni meeting, certificates from April’s cohort were presented to celebrate achievement, and students discussed continuing to develop capacity within the country and the plans for the association in 2019.

Other topics discussed 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.

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, such has Payments Association of Kenya. A LinkedIn group was started, creating exposure for member profiles, and the initial ideas are around allowing members to showcase their expertise, and give or be referred – possibly setting standards around ethics for expertise in the DFS sector.

The group also agreed to find ways to influence the conversation happening around Kenya’s National Payments Strategy.

Other topics discussed include the poor performance of the Pesalink Switch, challenges of the digital credit landscape within Kenya and ideas for improvement, and the coffee value chain and how it can be digitalised.

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 have met twice and are figuring ways to form an association potentially in collaboration with Access to Finance Rwanda, for both research and events; and also how to influence national discussions around interoperability and financial inclusion.

This year they plan to hold a conference with key players and regulators in the industry to discuss innovative business models in DFS.

Other topics discussed include Rwanda’s new Data Policy and how it can be utilised to offer better customer products & experiences, national Interoperability and financial inclusion discussions, and Alibaba’s World Trade Platform being launched in Rwanda and what needs to be done to ensure e-commerce will be successful.

Kampala, Uganda

An association – Digital Finance Professionals of Uganda – has been formed. There is a MOU and committee in place and the organisation is registered. Branding has been completed, there is a draft website in place and the focus now is on recruitment of members and a code of ethics.

Discussions happened with masterclass Uganda regarding collaboration over financial literacy and access to digital finance, and also potential sponsorship of events. The group met with the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of ICT and are drafting a proposal for collaboration.

Their first alumni meeting, named Digital Coffee Place, debated the MM 1% tax that has been introduced with MPs. Subsequently this tax has since been reduced.

The third alumni meetings topic was digging through an innovators mind. The aim was to cement collaboration between the digital professionals and young innovators for purposes of innovating towards products that would promote better financial inclusion.

Harare, Zimbabwe

At the first alumni meeting, the alumni agreed to register a Zimbabwe DFI association. Membership, initiatives, aims and publicity were discussed, along with developing a vision and mission, registering the association, use of social media, logo and meeting with the Minister of ICT.

The third alumni meeting was the official launch of the association at the 2018 Microfinance Awards on 14th December, and a CIDM scholarship awarded as one of the prizes at the ceremony.

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

At the first meeting, students reported they used their knowledge for: advising on savings groups, use of Big Data, disbursement of agriculture, and a student started their own digital lending company.

Students also agreed there is a need for a forum to discuss DFS issues and FSD Tanzania agreed to invite this alumni forum to meetings to input into some policy influencing discussions.

At the second meeting, the insights from the cashew value chain were shared and conversation about how farmers can be engaged in DFS.

A small team agreed to get together to start up a DFS association in Tanzania. Currently vision, mission and approaches are being discussed with a view to launch in 2019.

Dakar, Senegal

Topics discussed include 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.

The plan for this year is to bring the alumni together as the community is growing to a strong number and understand what needs they have.

Cotonou, Benin

The alumni to celebrate student’s achievements and also had three presenters discussing issues relating to agent networks, managing liquidity in mobile money and risks relating to digital money. Other topics discussed include interoperability and microfinance initiatives for rural women.

This year, there are plans for the alumni to debate with the Central Bank, Finance Ministry and key players in the DFS industry.

The plan is for the alumni to be supported to develop themselves, network and become more entrepreneurial and innovative to drive DFS within Benin.

Blantyre, Malawi

The first alumni meeting was a certificate giving ceremony, along with a debate about how the alumni wish to engage and work together going forwards. It was agreed to form a more formal group in early 2019 once the alumni numbers increased.

The second alumni focused on the Mutual Evaluation Exercise being championed by Malawi’s Financial Intelligence Authority, which is peer review assesses AML/CFT standards. The alumni agreed the facilitator is to engage FIA on the various concerns raised and how the alumni can contribute to ensure a successful mutual evaluation.

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, and the new Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprise (FARMSE) - a 4-year project to incorporate rural people into DFS.

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. Four alumni are working to identify the approach and will present to the wider alumni at the next meeting.

Accra, Ghana

The alumni had a debate about regulations by Bank of Ghana, in particular relating to cryptocurrency and Menzgold gold trading, and about the new requirement of a capital reserve of GHs 400 million for all banks and the impact it has.
The second meeting welcomed an alumni member, Carl Pomayie, MD of Alexpay, who facilitated discussion on the regulation of FinTechs in Ghana, and the challenges they face such as slow uptakes by financial intuitions and demands for exclusivity.
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

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

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

Harare, Zimbabwe

Facilitator: Ethel Chiwara Mupambwa

Kampala, Uganda

Digital Frontiers Association (DFA)

Facilitator: Ann Muhangi

Karachi, Pakistan

Facilitator: Fahad Shahab

Kigali, Rwanda

Facilitator: Jimmy Rutabingwa

Lusaka, Zambia

Association for Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP)

Facilitator: Charity Luchembe Chikumbi

Maputo, Mozambique

Facilitator: Esselina Macome

Nairobi, Kenya

Facilitator: Timothy Makuta