Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)
Physical and other accessibility obstacles that prevent communities from reaching financial services, The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,.
If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:
For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?
More than 500m people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to formal financial services. These same 500m do have mobile phones. One of the main reasons for this lack of access is the poor availability of financial services in rural areas. Musoni’s use of mobile technology allows us to leapfrog the traditional barriers of distance and poor infrastructure to bring high quality financial services into previously un-served areas. Our Vision is to substantially improve the quality and availability of financial services to low income, unbanked and under banked individuals, starting with East Africa, through the establishment and support of best-practice MFIs with an emphasis on efficiency, transparency and client focus.
Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?
1 billion people in the developing world face the same problems we see in Kenya, while simultaneously, MMT services are increasingly popular. Musoni’s solution works in any region of the world where there is room for financial inclusion to grow and where mobile financial services are emerging. Many developing countries in Asia and South America, not surprisingly, have observed this trend. Annually, Musoni carries out country studies to identify which countries are ready to receive our services. In 2012 Musoni will start operations in Uganda and will have operations in five countries by 2016. Currently, Africa is in the lead with respect to mobile money services and remains the poorest continent in the world.
If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?
We see the potential to completely revolutionise the financial sector in the developing world, improving the lives of millions of unbanked in the process. Over the next ten years Musoni alone aims to have established a network of best-practice MFIs across Africa while simultaneously offering its innovative IT platform to other MFIs, increasing its social impact. At the same time, Musoni will have demonstrated the feasibility of combining technology and microfinance and hopes to inspire a movement towards better products and services across the industry.
What will have had to have changed to make this happen?
The availability of funding is absolutely crucial to Musoni’s success. The inability to attract additional funding may mean that we will have to postpone the development of the Musoni system and the future establishment of MFIs, and their corresponding capital requirements. However, and especially after the financial crisis, there has been a growing interest in impact investing, investments made with the intent of doing “good” as well as generating a financial return. Equally important is Musoni’s reliance on the continued development of the mobile money market and the incredible growth of mobile network operators that has been observed in developing countries. The continued demand for financial services across the developing world combined with the right technology will act as catalysts to our growth and expansion ambitions.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Since opening its first branch in May 2010, Musoni Kenya has disbursed over 18,000 loans directly through MMT services, providing access to over $6m of credit to micro entrepreneurs. We currently serve 8,000 clients and have repayment rates of over 96%. In the next twelve months, Musoni aims to increase its number of clients to over 30,000. Client feedback has been extremely positive, with people focusing in particular on Musoni’s flexibility, transparency and efficiency. Simultaneously, we have been recognised for our client protection principals and in 2012 Musoni’s product design was awarded "excellent" status by the SMART campaign, an organisation focussing on transparency, responsible pricing and fair treatment of clients.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
We aim to have an established network of at least 4 partner MFIs in 4 different countries that will share Musoni’s core values and the Musoni Microfinance Concept; improving, in the process, the livelihoods of over 200,000 people. Musoni aims at sharing the learning and best practices from individual partners across its network, bringing benefits for all and ensuring that the Musoni System continues to be market-led and customized to the needs of the customer.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Establishing a new MFI in a developing country comes with its own set of challenges. Many practical issues have to be solved during the set-up phase which may take longer than predicted. Additionally, the Musoni System is provided from Amsterdam, whereas Musoni MFIs are based in Africa. The communication challenges associated with this are overcome through the presence of an Implementation Team who report directly back to Holland and through frequent visits to our partner MFIs.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Excel in social performance; Launch exciting and innovative new products and technologies; Open another MFI in Uganda
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Establish rural branches and appropriate products; Identify a third country for operations; Continue focusing on innovation