Digitalization is arguably THE buzzword of the information and communication era and can undoubtedly be considered a global trend. Therefore, it is not surprising that digitalization is also an extremely important part of modern finance in East Africa and an indispensable building block in equipping microfinance institutions for the future.
So how can we as Sparkassenstiftung EA support digitalization and thus financial inclusion in within the region on a need-based level? First, we must note that the microfinance institutions (MFIs) and Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) are at different stages of digitalization. Therefore, our first task is to lay the foundation for successful project work not only in terms of finance, but also in terms of digital finance.
Out first step was to conduct digital surveys throughout the region to get an overview of the current state of digitalization in the MFIs and SACCOs. Based on this, the digital needs will then be derived together with our partners and our project activities for the upcoming years will be settled.
The digital survey is conducted of country level with individual objectives and questionnaires and coordinated on regional level with superordinated objectives. The data collection is mainly done on-site, but we were also able to collect data digitally through already existing digital infrastructure.
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Table. 1: With our partner AMFIU (Uganda) we conducted a Digital Finance Study amongst its members. Several successes, challenges, and opportunities for #DigitalFinance in Microfinance were identified. #digitalmicrofinance #digitalweek2021 #DigitalEastAfrica
Uganda took lead in conducting the digital survey in the first half of 2020 which it successfully completed with our partner AMFIU. Data collection has already been completed in Kenya and Rwanda and the results are fully digitised. Both our senior and Junior consultants teams are working closely with our partners to analyse and evaluate the data. We have already started the both the digital and on-site data collection in Tanzania and Burundi which we hope to successfully complete in the coming weeks. At the end of the first half of 2021, the individual studies will then be compiled into an overall study for East Africa and a digitalisation strategy for Sparkassenstiftung EA's project activities will be developed based on the results.