Savings are critical for poor people’s resilience, consumption smoothing, risk management and financing of important life goals such as education and starting a business. However, poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to rely predominantly on informal savings and therefore do not benefit from formal financial services and products. Access to formal savings products is growing but many barriers remain and there is a need to build the global evidence base on what works and what doesn’t in expanding access and usage of both formal and informal savings mechanisms for the poor.
The Mastercard Foundation’s savings portfolio addressed the overarching challenge of financial exclusion of low-income customers, with a focus on formal and informal savings. These approaches evolved from an earlier focus on optimizing savings groups facilitation models, to supporting savings group linkage to a later focus on testing and proving scalable business models on the supply side.
The Mastercard Foundation Savings Learning Lab is a six-year initiative that supported learning among the Foundation’s savings sector portfolio programmes: Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa (POWER Africa) implemented by Care, Expanding Financial Inclusion (EFI) in Africa implemented by CRS, MicroLead implemented by UNCDF, Scale2Save, implemented by WSBI and Savings at the Frontier, implemented by OPM.
In addition, we also synthesised performance monitoring data and knowledge outputs across the portfolio of projects and facilitates cross-portfolio learning dialogue.
At the sector level, we developed the online Savings Evidence Map. This enables practitioners, researchers and policymakers to find existing evidence, see how the evidence is clustered as well as identify existing gaps. The Learning Lab also hosted webinars, supported the SEEP led Savings Group conferences and facilitated local stakeholder events convened around particular topics of interest of challenge to the sector.
Check out our partner websites for the latest resources from their programmes:
- Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa
- Expanding Financial Inclusion
- Savings at the Frontier
Check out SLL’s resources below and keep an eye on this page for more to come.
Savings Evidence Map
- Evidence review: Savings and financial health
- Savings and climate resilience – A review of successes and challenges in current programming
- Human-centered design in international development: A review of what works and what doesn’t
- Leveraging high-performing agents to deliver customer value
- Peer Learning Group: The Role of Savings Groups in Supporting Graduation from Social Safety Nets Series:
- Savings Groups and Social Protection: Graduation from Safety Nets
- Mentoring and Coaching: Supporting Graduation from Social Safety Nets through Savings Groups
- Savings Groups in Graduation Programs: A Pathway to Inclusive Market
- Increasing resilience through financial inclusion: Provider led-solutions from West Africa
- Expanding financial inclusion in Africa: Ex-post evaluation
- Expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa: Ex-post Evaluation Brief
- Savings for youth: a review of evidence executive summary
- Savings for youth: a review of evidence
- State of Practice: Savings Groups and the Role of Government in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Savings Count: Trends in access, use and the ecosystem of savings in sub-Saharan Africa
- Savings Count: What are the key findings in the Itad Savings Count report? Interview with Diana Deszo
- Evidence Review: Savings and financial health
Proven approaches to delivering inclusive finance
- Video 1: Delivering value to low-income customers sustainably
- Video 2: Spotlight on agricultural finance solutions
Scalable and Sustainable Digital Solutions for Savings Groups(at the 2020 SEEP Annual Conference)
The Role of Government in Savings Groups: Policies, Priorities and Partnerships
Savings Groups in the Digital Age: Introducing the Savings Groups Technology Toolkit
- Reaching Informal Savings Groups with Formal Financial Products: A Study’s Unexpected Findings Reveal the Challenges of Digitizing Transactions.
- How Do Savings Contribute to Financial Health?
- Why human-centered design (HCD) doesn’t always work for international development
- Maintaining a Critical Link To Last-Mile Customers: Challenges and Opportunities Facing Financial Service Agents During COVID-19
- Youth Financial Inclusion: What We’re Missing & How Can We Serve Them Better
- Lessons from an ex-post evaluation
- Checking in with the Savings Evidence Map
- Getting It Right: Learning About Savings
- Savings in Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Insights from the Mastercard Foundation Savings Learning Lab
- What do we mean by client empowerment in financial inclusion and how do we do it?
- The EFI Project Unveiled – What Have We Done and What Did We Learn?
- Stories of Bank Linkages
Contact James Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to discuss this project.