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Publications

Hiring in Kenya

Across Africa, business leaders increasingly point to the importance of attracting and retaining top talent to compete and win in the marketplace. In Kenya especially, organizations struggle to recruit efficiently and effectively when they post a job online, they are often inundated with a high volume of applications from mostly low-quality candidates, and picking candidates feels like a subjective process prone to bias and inconsistency.

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Blog

The bright continent

Africa is the continent that will experience the effects of climate change first and worst. Which is why, on World Environment Day, we are pleased that Kenya is a leader in both rural electrification and clean energy innovation.

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Blog

Financing the future

Kenyan parents know that when you invest in education, you invest in the future. But that future isn’t cheap.

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Blog

Unlocking opportunities for the poor, Part One

For seven years, Najiri has received bi-monthly cash transfers from the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) a Kenyan government program in Northern Kenya

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Publications

Graduation pilot: Market assessment and IGA modeling

FSD Kenya and CARE Kenya jointly designed a project for implementation in Laisamis, Marsabit county, applying the graduation approach. The objective of the project is to test use of market based approaches to building the livelihoods of poor households.

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Blog

In Kenya, phones replace bank tellers

Pauline Kimari is a pharmacist in Ndaragwa, Kenya, a small town several hours’ drive north of Nairobi. She moved there from rural Muranga, several hours away, to open a small shop, Ndaragwa Joy Chemist. It is white with blue and green doors and a blue bench inside. She sells medicine and cosmetics.

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Blog

Making markets work for the poor — Science, Art or Speculation?

As an adviser, trainer and all-round advocate of the “making markets work for the poor” approach to more effective development, I get asked a lot of questions about the approach.

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Blog

Market facilitation is the way ahead, but it needs to do more

Market facilitation can (and does) work

Kenya is a good place to start when considering market facilitation. It is the poster child of financial inclusion, with access to formal finance growing dramatically from 27 percent in 2006 to 75 percent in 2016.

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Blog

Creating value through financial inclusion: the trust element

In an effort to understand the real needs of the people, our seventh ‘Field Friday’ exercise took us to Karagita in Naivasha. We set out to gather insights on which financial services people use and which ones they trust most.

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Publications

The true size of agent networks in leading digital finance countries

This paper lays out a framework for measuring access to digital financial services (DFS) provided via cash-in/cash-out agent networks in an ecosystem.

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Blog

It takes a village: Lessons from digitizing social school fees payments

Our work on the Kenya Financial Diaries made it painfully clear to us that school fees are incredibly expensive for low income families.  The lowest end public schools often ask about KSh 20,000 per year for a single student, when rural household incomes often average around KSh 6,000 per month.

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Annual Lectures

3rd FSD Kenya Public annual lecture 2017 – Out of Africa: notes from a visit to Kenya

I spent a week in Kenya, courtesy of Financial Sector Deepening, an initiative of a number of aid agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, the Swedish government, and the Gates Foundation. 

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Blog

Trust—Is there an app for that?

Last year, I sat huddled with Esther in the back of her dark market stall.  The walls were lined floor to ceiling with second hand bras for sale, leaving only a small space for us to sit and chat.  Esther was coming through a rough few years.  Her husband unexpectedly and quickly died from meningitis.

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Annual Lectures

3rd FSD Kenya Public annual lecture 2017 – Kay gets perspective on informal sector in Kibera

During his visit for the FSD Kenya 3rd annual lecture, John Kay visited Haki Group, a Self Help Group registered in 2002 but graduated to a Community Based Organization in 2005 to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in Kibera.

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Annual Lectures

The annual FSD Kenya lectures on financial inclusion

Over the past 10 years, FSD Kenya has worked to support the development of financial inclusion in Kenya. In 2015, we launched a series of annual public lectures on financial inclusion.  Our aim is to stimulate debate on this subject and its place in the long-term vision for the financial sector in Kenya.

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Annual Lectures

3rd FSD Kenya Public annual lecture 2017 – PICTURES: Kay and industry leaders discuss the future of finance

Just what is finance for?

On Wednesday 8th February 2017, John Kay met with 18 financial sector industry leaders to discuss this question and the future of finance in Kenya.

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Blog

Studying shocks to identify opportunities for financial service providers

Diversification of risk, not putting your eggs in one basket, hustling – whichever word or phrase you use, Robert, a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) rider, embodies this spirit.

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Blog

The unusual dynamics of school fee payment (or non-payment) in a Kenyan school

As we trudged through Kivani Secondary School’s third term student attendance records, one absenteeism after another greeted us. Per our analysis in preparation for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with selected parents and guardians at the school, the average student missed about 13% of class time. I didn’t give it much thought then.

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Publications

The 2nd FSD Kenya annual lecture on financial inclusion

Rafe Mazer was the speaker at the 2nd FSD Kenya annual lecture on financial inclusion. His presentation shared how we can develop our own “test and learn” – the way in which financial service providers and regulators collaborate to allow for new solutions – for consumer protection.

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Publications

The long-run poverty and gender impacts of mobile money

The research is based on a long-term series of five surveys undertaken on M-Pesa in Kenya supported by FSD Kenya and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Publications

The increasingly crowded savannah

Policymakers, academics, industry players, donors and other stakeholders gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday 8th December for the 2nd FSD Kenya annual lecture on financial inclusion.

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Publications

Testing SME banking in Kenya – a mystery shopping exercise

The financial services sector’s attitude towards small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), is changing. SMEs form a significant part of the potential finance market in most countries, including Kenya.

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Blog

The tea bonus: a blessing or a growing dependency? Tea farmers from Embu tell their story

This year, the price of a kilo of tea reached a five-year high. Every October, tea farmers in Kenya receive a “tea bonus”; the second lump sum payment for tea delivered to the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) during the year. The first lump sum, the “mini bonus”, is paid each April.

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Blog

Life in Laisamis, Marsabit

Meet Najiri: One of the target recipients for FSD Kenya’s new graduation programme.

The sun is bright in Marsabit, the kind of bright that sears anything its rays touch. There isn’t much rain here, most parts of the county are arid.

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Blog

The use of borrowed airtime with interest in Kenya

The telecom sector in Kenya has experienced phenomenal growth over the past decade. Mobile phone penetration has topped 90%, with 78% of Kenyan adults now owning a working mobile phone.

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Publications

The Growth of M-Shwari in Kenya – A Market Development Story

M-Shwari (meaning ‘calm’ in Kiswahili) is a combined savings and loans product launched through a collabo­ration between the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom.

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Publications

Understanding how Kenyan entrepreneurs grow and finance their businesses

One of the key reasons why banks are challenged in serving SMEs appropriately, is that they lack an understanding of the evolving needs of fast growing SMEs.

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Consumer insights

Finance & fortune

How exactly do financial services impact low income Kenyans? In this note, we extract the stories of eight respondent households from the Financial Diaries.

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Blog

Six secrets of the self-employed

This is the second post in a three-post blog series introducing publications from our recently concluded Kenya Financial Diaries update study, conducted with BFA.

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Consumer insights

Small “b” biashara

Self-employment is a major source of income for low income Kenyans, and Financial Diaries respondents are no exception. When we talked to respondents in 2015, two years after the close of the original Diaries, those whose economic lives were improving pointed to business returns as one of the main drivers of their success.

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