The World Bank’s CGAP and DFID, the UK Department for International Development, undertook a six-month scenario-building project in which almost 200 experts from more than 30 countries helped answer the question â€œHow can government and private sector most affect the uptake and usage of branchless banking among the unserved majority by 2020?â€
CGAP/DFID identified identified four forces most likely to shape the answers:
â€¢ The changing demographics of users
â€¢ The actions of increasingly activist governments
â€¢ Rising crime
â€¢ The spread of Internet access via data-enabled phones even in poor countries and communities
They also isolated four key uncertainties with important effects but uncertain outcomes:
â€¢ Which types of entities will be allowed to provide branchless financial services?
â€¢ Will providers craft viable business models for services beyond payments?
â€¢ How will competition play out?
â€¢ How will consumer, business, and regulator confidence be affected by the inevitable failures that will happen?
The work culminated in the CGAP/DFID Branchless Banking Scenarios 2020 Focus Note, that presents four scenarios that interweave these forces and uncertainties in different settings to produce very different trajectories over the next 10 years.
A video discussion with the authors and some of the leaders in mobile and branchless banking was held in Washington, DC in December 2009; you can watch the archived video here.