Digital VSLAs: Rethinking Financial Inclusion
Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) are an enabler of financial inclusion in developing economies, especially for women. These groups meet and invest regular amounts into a community fund. Villagers can apply to the VSLA for loans and hardship grants. Through the community approach, individuals can leverage the power of the group to minimise risk and increase their collective wealth and impact.
In this whitepaper we discuss the benefits of VSLAs for unbanked communities and the challenges experienced by them. hiveonline is developing a digital platform to support VSLAs and the unbanked by formalising audit trails and bridging the gap to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).
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About the Authors
Latif has a strong interest in global sustainability issues, especially how the global community make sense of, negotiate and attempt to solve environmental issues. Pursuing this, he worked with Oxfam to bolster climate resilience in the Horn, East and Central Africa region; operationalised what became a leading organisation on climate change in Tanzania, and engaged in the UN climate negotiations.
Frustrated with structural inertia that exist to solve the environmental challenges, he decided to focus on solutions and helping entrepreneurs, companies and governments to explore sustainable pathways. To that end, he published research articles on sustainability transitions and worked to connect pioneers to bring about systemic change in the energy sector. Before joining hiveonline, Latif worked with the World Bank analysing client country environmental and natural resources challenges.
Following an early career in publishing and marketing, Sofie taught herself programming and business design, and subsequently spent most of her career building banks, including the first online bank for UBS. Having worked for eight major international banks in everything from IT infrastructure delivery to business transformation, run programmes in 60 countries worth over USD 1bn, and supported startups, Sofie decided the last thing the world needs is another bank and hence hiveonline was born.
For hiveonline, Sofie has been invited to speak at the World Economic Forum, G7 and G20 groups and World Bank/IMF Summit in partnership with UNEP and the Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance, where she is an advisor on fintech applications to sustainable finance, blockchain, identity and trust. Sofie is also an advisor to the Edinburgh Futures Institute and holds an MSc in Informatics. Sofie’s second book, with Rob Allen, Fintech Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) was named “One of the Best Fintech Books of All Time” and “One of the Best New Fintech Books for 2019 (Book Authority).