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Making Small Scale Savings Work: The momentum builds

Making Small Scale Savings Work: The momentum builds

​​​​​Program Director Ian Radcliffe shares the latest program milestones

>> Learn more about MTripleSW

>> Read the December 2017 News & Views

BRUSSELS, 9 January 2018 ​ The following story appeared in the December 2017 edition of WSBI-ESBG News & Views.

Milestones are meant to be shared. That was especially true in September when WSBI celebrated the first year of its partnership with the Mastercard Foundation working on the institute’s new flagship program ‘Making Small Scale Savings Work’ (MTripleSW).

​MTripleSW, which builds on seven years of learning under WSBI’s previous projects in the Doubling Savings Accounts program, aims to solve one of the big sticking points to achieving full financial inclusion globally: establishing the business case viability of small balance savings accounts. It also fits within WSBI’s broader financial inclusion agenda, which was formally endorsed by WSBI members at the 2012 WSBI World Congress in Marrakech in their commitment to enhance efforts for an ‘An Account for Everyone’.

This new program is positioned among the many problems that result in high poverty rates and financial exclusion in sub-Saharan Africa and the correlation between them, and that formal savings rates are very low. As a broad generalization, market potential of various low-income segments to save is poorly understood by formal financial service providers; customer and potential customer needs – and just as important how much they can afford to pay to meet those needs – are usually inadequately reflected in banks’ business models, customer interfaces and interactions. The poor customer experience that this inevitably leads to gives rise to very high incidences of dormancy and inactivity in bank accounts, which represent a significant drain on costs and thus undermine potentially sustainable business cases in delivering accessible financial services to these segments.

MTripleSW will test and apply new business models arising from economic analysis around price sensitivity and demand, targeted on low-income, unbanked segments, aiming to reduce the incidence of dormancy in banks’ customer bases. The program will run until February 2022 and is supported with funding from the Mastercard Foundation totaling US$16 million.

How we work

WSBI member banks from Kenya, Morocco and Uganda that participated in WSBI’s previous flagship program, the Doubling Savings Accounts initiative, were the new program’s first port of call, asking them if we could help take their previous projects to scale. ​

After that, WSBI looked for partner banks in West Africa – in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal – initially by launching a call for proposals to more than 60 banks in the region, and then following that up with workshops in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Senegal. How it will work The program centres around seven African countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. In addition, starting from the third quarter of 2018, WSBI will publish the first in a series of annual studies into The State of the Savings and Retail Banking Sector in Africa, which will draw also on data to be requested from WSBI’s 42 members in 27 African countries.

​About Mastercard Foundation

Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest, private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastrcard when the foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the foundation’s newsletter, please visit

Follow the foundation on Twitter at @MastercardFdn.

About MTripleSW – Making Small Scale Savings Work

MTripleSW is a partnership between WSBI and Mastercard Foundation to help boost financial access and economic development in seven African countries. The program aims to establish the viability of small-balance savings accounts.

It will test and apply new business models arising from economic analysis around price sensitivity and demand, targeted on low-income unbanked segments, aiming to reduce the incidence of dormancy and inactivity in banks’ customer bases. The program builds on previous work aimed at doubling the number of savings accounts for low-income people at partner banks in 10 countries. The work is important because sustained access to and use of savings mechanisms contribute to the well-being of customers. >> Learn more


MTripleSW team 

​Ian Radcliffe
Program Director 

Weselina Angelow
Senior Program Manager ​​

Celine Stevens 
Program Manager 

James Pieper

Viviane Garceau 

Program Administration Officer

Omar Ndiaye
Local Technical Specialist 
French-speaking countries

Kimathi Githachuri 
Local Technical Specialist 
English-speaking countries​

Financial inclusion; Doubling savings accounts