Banking in Africa: Innovation trends and digital revolution ​

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Africa Regional Group Meeting 2019​ / 27-29 March 2019 |​ Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe


The 25th edition of the Africa Regional Group Meeting of WSBI will be hosted by People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) and organised in close cooperation with Agribank. The event will bring together the converging industries and innovations shaping Africa’s digital banking future.​

The 25th Africa Regional Group Meeting will be an opportunity to take stock of private and public actors’ commitments and major achievements of WSBI African members in digital financial inclusion. The meeting will focus on how WSBI members’ innovation and digital policies contribute to the improvement of their customer journey and, ultimately, to the national level of financial inclusion.

Besides MNOs fierce competition, the meeting will consider issues like open banking and APIs and how they will change the banking landscape, leading financial institutions to increasingly partner with Fintech in a never ending search to bring flexible innovative solutions to their customers.

The event will show the next steps towards implementation of financial innovation by showcasing the development and outreach of innovative products, asset classes, and business lines.

It will also describe banks’ challenges in becoming more customer centric, including latest innovations in technology, especially in rural areas. Within the framework of its Scale2save programme with the Mastercard Foundation, the aim of which is to support banks to reach scale and sustainability with low-balance accounts, WSBI will present its industry report and several WSBI members progress in financial inclusion. ​

These key issues will gather high-level representatives of the financial industry, regulatory and supervisory authorities, central banks, governments and private sectors. ​

French Version


Applying a Gender Lens to Digital Transformation in Africa

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Financial Inclusion Week (FIW) is an annual gathering of the global community working to advance inclusive finance. It is a forum for exchanging ideas, research, and perspectives from around the world. The community-driven agenda covers the most pressing topics, helping to inform and advise all of our efforts to advance inclusive finance. The Center for Financial Inclusion convenes FIW each year and invites partner organizations to showcase work, help set the global agenda for the year ahead, engage with the community, and more.

About the Session
Digitalization is among the most powerful forces driving change in the financial services industry in Africa, as elsewhere. Widespread use of mobile technology is driving digital access on the continent, which now has more mobile subscribers than the United States or Europe. But digital transformation goes beyond mobile and works for some customers more than for others.

This session will showcase how three FSPs from the Scale2Save Program in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria have approached digitization to sharpen their competitive edge. We will apply a gender lens to the outcomes of their outreach strategies to highlight enabling and challenging factors for female customers:

KPOSB from Kenya will showcase how their digital group product supports rural savings groups in their financial management and how a digital ‘bank in a bag’ contributes to getting individual group members and grant recipients formally banked.
In Uganda instant signup features offered by Centenary Bank through peer-to-peer digital links are meant to attract women but for some shared agent channels really make a difference.
For LAPO Microfinance Bank in Nigeria, newly established agents opened up opportunities for some female micro-merchants, but non-digital field officers turned out to be the real sales force.
Taking the different experiences into account, the session will also discuss the need for a more segmented approach to tackle the digital gap for women and how better data and skillset building will improve inclusion for different groups of women



Webinar! Delivering inclusive finance

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Thank you for joining us last month for the webinar: Proven approaches to delivering inclusive finance

The event drew on the work of Savings at the Frontier and Scale2Save over the past six years with 20 financial service providers (FSPs) in 9 countries across Africa.

Sessions include:

Showcasing critical drivers of sustainable business models employed by participating FSPs to deliver and scale financial solutions for low-income customers.
Insights on leading and managing change within FSPs to serve this market segment successfully.
Practical tools and resources on developing value offerings for a range of low-income customers – including rural and smallholder farmers.
This session is part of the Mastercard Foundation Savings Learning Lab project, a six-year initiative implemented by Itad. The Savings Learning Lab supports learning among the Foundation’s current savings sector portfolio programmes.

Itad also synthesises performance monitoring data and knowledge outputs across the portfolio of projects and facilitates cross-portfolio learning dialogue.

The webinar recordings are now LIVE!

Who are the customers and what financial solutions do they need?
What impact have we seen as a result of increased financial inclusion?
What can a customer outcome based approach tell us about the quality of financial services?

Video 1: Delivering value to low-income customers sustainably

Opportunities and challenges
Innovations in digital platforms for smallholder farmers
Key resources and publications

Video 2: Spotlight on agricultural finance solutions

This session was part of the Mastercard Foundation Savings Learning Lab project, a six-year initiative implemented by Itad.


Launch EVENT : Persona Segmentation Toolkit

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

What to expect from the webinar ?
S2S is a partnership initiative between WSBI and the Mastercard Foundation that started in 2016 and has to date reached 1.3 m low-income savers across six countries in Africa.


We’ve been working with a mix of 10 FSPs in Africa to enable them to better serve the underserved and unbanked population, in Nigeria specifically we’ve been targeting market women and smallholder farmers through our partnerships LAPO MFB and FCMB.

S2S supports FSPs so that savings become a viable business opportunity. We believe that savings can contribute to greater financial resilience of low income people. For that we aim to understand the type of services low income people value, appreciate and need, and what they are using their savings for.

Research and data collection is therefore an integral part of S2S: This Toolkit started in fact with financial diaries research that we conducted in Nigeria but also in Morocco, Senegal, then complemented with qual data and Findex data as the macro-level framework.

Once the research was concluded we did ask ourselves how can we make these vast amounts of data best of use to our partner FSPs, rather than producing many pages of research reports. The Webinar will guide through the process from data collection to Toolkit creation and about the end result of that process.


WSBI shares conclusions of its 6-year programme on financial inclusion

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

The Scale2Save programme, a WSBI partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, achieved its goal of banking over 1 million people in African countries through 8 innovative projects with local partners. The programme also made important contributions to finding sustainable business models to serve the mass market of low-income people. This is the most recent of a series of initiatives by WSBI to build financial inclusion and resilience for people in vulnerable situations.

Paris, 6 July 2022 – The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI)’s programme for financial inclusion, Scale2Save, held today a closing knowledge sharing event in Paris with focus on the achievements of a six-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation: over 1 million people banked in Africa and a substantial contribution to the understanding of products and services that can boost financial inclusion.

Scale2Save, soon to come to an end, worked with local banks and microfinance institutions in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal and Uganda. It implemented eight innovative projects to reach out to the lowest income people. As projects are implemented, Scale2Save also contributes to building knowledge about the key elements of sustainable business models to serve this segment of customers, often underserved or completely excluded from formal financial services.

“Scale2Save theme is ‘Microsavings for Maximum Impact’ because we aim at enabling our partners to find financial solutions that work, and that can be scaled-up to allow low-income people to actively save”, said WSBI Managing Director, Peter Simon, during the event attended by participants from financial inclusion stakeholders from Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Scale2Save goes beyond banking people towards adding value to the lives of these new customers by finding ways of keeping them engaged and making full use of their financial services and products, to address the common issue among low-income people of not using the accounts offered to them on a regular basis.

The keys to success found though the eight projects include a customer-centric approaches, digitalisation, financial education and literacy, and the use of roving agents and sharing agency infrastructure.

Scale2Save projects are focused on three long time financially excluded groups: women, to close the gender gap as they are more than half of the financially excluded worldwide; youth, because they increasingly make significant contributions to their households; and farmers, as they constitute an important part of many African economies and formal financial services.

Scale2Save current partners are:  Advans Microfinance in Cote d’Ivoire; PostBank in Kenya; Al Barid and Barid Cash in Morocco; LAPO Microfinance and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Nigeria; and FINCA Uganda, Centenary Bank, BRAC Bank Limited in Uganda.

“I am absolutely positive that that the Scale2Save partners as well as WSBI and its members are committed to continue their efforts to contribute closing the remaining access gaps”, said Programme Director, Weselina Angelow.

Scale2Save is a six-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. It is the most recent in a series of initiatives by WSBI to mobilize its global network of over 7,000 savings and retails banks in favour of financial inclusion. WSBI sees financial inclusion as an enabler to achieve the UN Agenda 2030, to open the doors to economic and employment opportunities for people in vulnerable situations and to build resilience to shocks.

Founded in 1924, WSBI has members who share a business model that has social responsibility at its core and is focused on serving local communities, households and SMEs. WSBI has 65 members in 88 countries. They serve over 1.8 billion customers, have total assets of over 15 trillion dollars, and employ 2.2 million workers.


Scale2Save brings Ugandan financial stakeholders to commit to financial inclusion

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

KAMPALA, 28 April 2022 – Key stakeholders of the Ugandan financial ecosystem came together during a Scale2Save knowledge sharing event, which concluded with a joint call to action with concrete steps to boost financial inclusion in the country.

Read the call to action

The signatories of this call to action, and initiative of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and its programme for financial inclusion, Scale2Save, are: the Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU), The Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU), The Financial Technologies Service Providers Association (FITSPA), and the Mastercard Foundation.

“We are ready to work with all stakeholders to demonstrate the commitment of the industry, particularly in times of shocks. We are also ready to continue making contributions to the empowerment of low-income customers to seize economic opportunities, build resilience and, ultimately, have a better life”, state the signatories of the document.

This commitment was announced at the end of a 2-day Scale2Save event in Kampala entitled ‘Building resilience and economic empowerment for women and youth’ which brought together some 100 participants. Both the event and the call to action focused on the key drivers of financial inclusion such as customer-centricity, the potential of digital finance and sustainable business models.

Michael Atingi-Ego, Bank of Uganda’s Deputy Governor, described the current state of high financial exclusion of women and youth in the country during his keynote speech at the event.

“When you consider these observations about our lived reality, you start to see the imbalance that Scale2Save is attempting to address here today. This extent of financial exclusion of women and the youth tantamount to trying to balance a three-legged stool on one leg. This is unsustainable in a country that is working towards socio-economic transformation”, he said.

“I am pleased to participate in this event because the Bank of Uganda shares the objective of democratising access to and empowering the users of financial services, not least by championing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, and through our strategic plan and operations. But like the multilegged stool, it will take the contribution of all stakeholders and partners to bring about universal financial inclusion,” added Mr Atingi-Ego.

Scale2Save is a six-year programme working six African countries including Uganda, where it partners with Centenary Bank, FINCA Uganda and BRAC Uganda Bank. Weselina Angelow is Scale2Save Programme Director. During the event, she presented some of the key lessons learned during the last years implementing financial inclusion initiatives in Uganda.

Download our learning paper on Digital Financial Inclusion in Nigeria and Uganda: opportunities and remaining challenges



Scale2Save champions inclusive financial services for Nigerians

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

LAGOS, 30 March 2022 – The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI)’s programme for financial inclusion, Scale2Save, has reiterated the importance of inclusive financial services for Nigerian women, youths and farmers as a way to fuel the country’s economic recovery and growth. This was stated at the Scale2Save financial inclusion knowledge sharing event attended by key financial stakeholders across the country.

Watch the TV coverage

Scale2Save is a six-year programme of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation aimed at establishing the viability of low-balanced savings accounts and to unravel the extent to which savings help vulnerable people in the society to boost their financial wellbeing.

In her keynote address, the Scale2Save Programme Director, Weselina Angelow, highlighted the importance of stakeholders’ knowledge sharing events such as this towards Nigeria’s quest for inclusive growth and economic development. According to her, “As we intensify efforts to improve financial inclusion, it is important that all stakeholders are a part of knowledge and insight-based discourse as this to improve on their processes and make informed financial inclusion decisions.”

Reiterating the commitment of Scale2Save and how the programme is impacting its members as well as other stakeholders, Angelow stated that the programme’s mission is to support financial inclusion initiatives to help millions of Nigerian youths, women and farmers.

“We focus on adding value to all stakeholders along the service value chain by empowering our financial service provider partners to become savings-driven, customer-centric institutions,” she said.

The Mastercard Foundation’s Access to Finance Lead, Mercy Mutua, stressed that financial inclusion is an enabler to help African youth find a way out of poverty.

We acknowledge that a lot has been accomplished but there is a long way to go to address barriers, especially for young rural women. It is Important to tailor solutions relevant to context and customer-centric,” she said in a virtual keynote speech.

Commenting on the need to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Head of Financial Inclusion Secretariat, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Paul Ihuoma Oluikpe, stated that financial service providers must target specific customer needs with financial inclusion products.

“There are several products in our financial services space that are too generic. These products are not targeting any value proposition, and are not sufficiently differentiated at the customer level. While there are generic products that appeal to the larger audience, there is the need to drill down at the customer level to target different nuances that exist in the society,” Dr. Oluikpe said.

The WSBI’s 2019 financial service provider survey reveals that attitudes to financial inclusion and low-value savings among financial service providers in Nigeria and other key markets in Africa are being significantly transformed as they have intensified their focus on customers, targeting different groups with tailored accounts and savings products.

Despite the significant progress recorded so far, stakeholders believe that there is still a long way to go to attain a satisfactory level of financial inclusion. Confirming this, the Group Head of Financial Inclusion, FCMB, Adetunji Lamidi, said, “Financial illiteracy is a major barrier to financial inclusion. What we see is a situation where a lot of Nigerians still have this overdependence on the informal financial sector. It takes a long trust-building process to switch them from the informal sector they are familiar with into the formal sector. This is why most of the financial service providers have adopted agency banking where people within the neighbourhood are used as bank representatives. This helps to build confidence, trust and convenience into our financial inclusion strategy.”

Through the intervention of Scale2Save, Financial Service Provider (FPIs) partners continue to innovate products and services that are driving up inclusion among the key target groups. Scale2Save continues to drive the message of financial inclusion while engaging with key stakeholders in target countries that can help actualise the inclusion objective.

Download our learning paper on Digital Financial Inclusion in Nigeria and Uganda: opportunities and remaining challenges



​​​​​​Scale2Save Webinar Series Savings and Retail Banking in Africa​ | Case Studies 1 & 2

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) has conducted two research reports, as part of its Scale2Save programme, tracking the progress of retail and savings banks in their financial inclusion efforts across Africa (2018, 2019). These reports found that challenges persist around driving the customer journey within the institution as well as creating partnerships across institutions to offer more low-cost effective products.

In 2020 and 2021, Scale2Save is conducting research on finding solutions to these challenges. The focus has thus turned to producing a series of case studies, each of which dives deep into one theme that an institution may further explore to drive its response to the challenges outlined above. The first Scale2Save case study reports on the impact of Covid-19, and the second focuses on mobile financial services​.

WSBI is delighted to invite you to the first online discussion of a series, co-organised with FinMark Trust, about the latest Scale2Save case studies. Join us on 30 March where we will present and debate the first two case studies across WSBI’s African membership.​

​Le World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) a réalisé deux recherches, dans le cadre de son programme Scale2Save, afin de suivre les progrès des banques de détail et d’épargne dans leurs efforts d’inclusion financière en Afrique (2018, 2019). Ces rapports ont révélé que des défis persistent en ce qui concerne la conduite du parcours client au sein de l’institution et la création de partenariats entre les institutions, pour offrir des produits plus rentables.

En 2020 et 2021, Scale2Save réalise des recherches additionnelles visant à solutionner ces défis. Il s’agit de six études de cas, dont chacun des thèmes abordé apporte des éléments de réponses aux défis décrits ci-dessus. La première étude de cas Scale2Save relate l’impact de la COVID-19, et la seconde, qui sera publiée dans le courant du mois de mars, se concentre sur les services financiers mobiles.

Le WSBI est heureux de vous inviter à la première discussion en ligne, co-organisée avec FinMark Trust, sur les deux premières études de cas réalisées par Scale2Save. La réunion aura lieu le 30 mars, date à laquelle nous présenterons et débattrons avec d’autres membres africains du WSBI.​




Scale2Save celebrates International Women's Day 2021

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

In honour of International Women's Day, discover how four Scale2Save partners are empowering women and reducing the financial inclusion gender gap in Africa:

In honour of International Women’s Day, discover how four Scale2Save partners are empowering women and reducing the financial inclusion gender gap in Africa:

>> First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Nigeria

>> Postbank in Kenya

>> FINCA in Uganda 

>> LAPO Micr​ofinance Bank in Nigeria​



BRUSS​ELS, 8 March 2021 – International Women’s Day​​ presents an opportunity for Scale2Save and its partners to showcase their stories. That includes how partners serve and empower women through their projects.

Scale2Save project partners have provided Scale2Save with stories to be shared on the day as part of the programme’s aims to raise awareness around the need to mobilise savings among – and strengthen the resilience of – low-income populations. That includes financially excluded women​​. 

There is interest from governments, NGOs and international bodies to learn more about how financial institutions address the needs of women. For example, financial inclusion is featured as a target in eight Sustainable Development Goals.


Scale2Save Peer Review Workshop 2020 Edition

This workshop is the third of the Scale2Save bi-annual peer exchanges that will focus on the programme, project activities and learning.

​​​Covid-19 provides a catalyst for further savings in Africa, according to a nearly two-thirds of banking sector experts attending the first of the three-day WSBI-​Scale2Save programme annual peer exchange virtual workshop.

In an online poll of participants, 59 per cent of nearly 50 participants consider Covid-19 as an enabler of savings, with the remaining respondents saying it dis-enables savings in Africa. Although the question posed did not explore long or short-term impacts of Covid-19 on savings, the result underscores how Scale2Save partner institutions tackle pandemic challenges.

The poll gave attendees a starting point to focus on how Scale2Save programme aims, project activities and learning from research can help address the current pandemic on banks’ ability to establish the viability of small-scale savings in Africa.

Update from Mastercard Foundation

A presentation by Mastercard Foundation’s Diaka Sall, who serves as Lead for Agriculture in Senegal, highlighted the foundation “Young Africa Works” strategy, a bold ambition to ensures 30 million young women and men gain access to dignified and fulfilling work across the continent. Young Africa Works focuses on areas that include micro-, small-, medium-sized enterprises and agriculture digital technology education.

“Service providers continue to expand and offer tailor made solutions, many more Africans would be included in savings will grow at the individual family and community levels, offering a pathway out of poverty. To drive this agenda, however, service providers must be innovative in their thinking and inclusive in their approach.”

“At the MasterCard Foundation, we are blessed to be in a position to partner with organisations such as WSBI under the Scale2Save programme to support initiatives and ensuring many more people on the continent are included and embrace the savings culture. on behalf of the master calculation.”