Which is better: a guaranteed job or a guaranteed income?

(This blog was originally published at From poverty to power)

By Eleanor Chowns

Martin Ravallion (former Chief Economist of the World Bank, now at CGD) published a useful paper this week asking exactly this question.  As he says, there’s no simple answer – which is why the question is so interesting. Continue reading

What do Kenyans really want from financial service providers?

(This blog was originally published at FSD Kenya)

By Susan Johnson

A large number of financial devices that are used by Kenyans to manage their money involve social relationships: from savings or investment groups that operate according to specific protocols and norms, to less structured arrangements like welfare associations, to the very informal, like borrowing goods on loan from your local shopkeeper or exchanging resources with a neighbour or cousin from time to time as needs arise. Such social arrangements are a natural foundation for money management where formal financial services are not available or out of reach.  However, despite the growing proximity of bank branches, cash-in cash-out agent networks and proliferation of mobile phones which offer even remote populations a growing set of choices for basic, digital financial services, these arrangements persist. So, what is it about them that make them so useful and valued by people? and what does that answer suggest about why services like M-PESA, M-Shwari and Equity accounts have had so much success with the mass market, where others have failed?

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What can financial providers learn from chamas?

(This blog was originally published at FSD Kenya)

By Susan Johnson

Informal financial groups such as merry-go-rounds or chamas are used by 41% of the Kenyan adults while traditional bank accounts are held by only 32% of the population (FinAccess 2016).  Analysts often stress the unreliability of informal groups and the risk of loss of money when members of the group default[1]. So why do so many people continue to use them? What is their enduring appeal?

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