“We want to facilitate information to the stakeholders that need it: policymakers, investors, providers,” explains Mayada El-Zoghbi, managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI), an action-oriented think tank that develops insights and collaborates with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. In this moment, CFI is providing real-time data to help governments and financial service providers understand the impacts of COVID-19 on their constituents and determine how to best support them. In episode nine of VentureKast: Rebuild, Mayada explains that “the impact COVID-19 has not been equal across all segments or across all countries,” and that there has been a disproportional impact on women, migrants, and micro and small businesses. She adds that effects have also depended on “how digitally connected people are,” pointing out that some MSMEs who sell through e-commerce have actually grown.
“Everyone right now is looking at how can we shift delivery to more digital means,” says Mayada, “because that’s the way we will reduce infection [and] spur recovery.” Mayada discusses how microfinance institutions are “making efforts to divert to digital disbursement and collection.” Digital ID systems, e-commerce platforms, and innovative lenders who leverage data to deliver credit are scaling to provide crucial services to previously excluded customers. Mayada’s message is an inspiring one as she emphasizes the importance of collaboration across the ecosystem, adding that there has been a “massive increase in the number of countries who have realized that this is not a problem that can be solved purely through commercial means.” Mayada shared some of her key takeaways from the ..