The Arab Financial Inclusion Innovation Prize announced its 2019 winners on 2nd December. The winners demonstrated that they could innovatively increase access to financial services, reduce costs of that access, and improve the lives and economic opportunities of the end clients.
This year, the prize received over 100 applicants from across the region, from Morocco to Yemen, and from diverse sources: existing MFIs with new offerings, start-ups and NGOs, highlighting the breadth of innovative potential in the region. The innovations tackled pertinent issues in the sector, from eKYC to payment solutions and financial literacy.
The first prize of $30,000 was awarded to Valify Solutions, an Egyptian start-up working to create a digital identity and thereby simplify KYC (Know Your Customer) processes. KYC is a major pain point for financial inclusion, especially in the Arab world. Relevant documentation is not often readily available, or in some cases does not exist, and onboarding is a lengthy and non-income-generating process which many FSPs (Financial Service Providers) cannot afford, and many clients cannot access.
Working within the Central Bank of Egypt’s regulatory sandbox, Valify’s secure solution has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of KYC processes in Egypt, and provide key learnings to the rest of the region.
“Valify & AFIIP are both working towards a future where all the Arab world will have access to digital financial services at their fingertips. By working together, we can create a dynamic ecosystem where innovators and microfinance practitioners are in constant dialogue and discussion. ”
— Ibrahim Eid, COO of Valify
Beyond the cash grants awarded, AFIIP will organise country-specific micro-fora to discuss key challenges and opportunities for innovation in the region, and continue to champion their innovators with technical support and advice.
The Arab Financial Inclusion Innovation Prize (AFIIP) and the network was launched in Spring 2018, built on the belief that financial inclusion is the foundation for economic growth. AFIIP works towards achieving this growth by facilitating the implementation of technological innovations within the sector, which can reduce costs, increase access and empower the region’s citizens.
AFIIP 2019 was realized with the support of CGAP, Sanad Technical Assistance Facility, Spectrum Digital Holdings and Tamer Amr.