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The role of digital finance technologies is seen as an important driver for the financial inclusion of disadvantaged groups. The digitization of financial services promises improved access to financial products and reduced costs for financial intermediaries. However, digital transformation is slow in the microfinance sector, and the benefits for financial inclusion are still lacking for many populations. However, digitization has become increasingly important to the competitiveness of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in order to remain relevant in fast-growing markets with new entrants.
While most private banks have recognized the value and need to digitize their business models, have digitized their existing processes and services, and are now able to focus on innovation and new products, a digital divide is increasingly emerging between private banks and MFIs. The overall objective of the project is to improve the financial inclusion of disadvantaged groups by reducing the digital divide.
The aim of the project is to support regional financial institutions (MFIs, savings banks and cooperative banks) in particular on their way to a digitization strategy in order to provide tailor-made digital technologies for MFIs of the indirect target group (customers and individuals who have not yet had access to provide financial services) to improve access to financial services in order to increase their economic and social action options.
Digitalization not only brings new opportunities and potentials for financial inclusion, but also carries the risk of widening the gap for disadvantaged groups without access to financial services. In order to harness the potential of new digital technologies for MFIs, both the adaptation of internal strategies, structures, processes and competences as well as the strengthening of an innovation culture are crucial for success. This is the aim of the project.