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Cenfri seeks to build a network of partner institutions and experts to support our research and objectives.
Welcome to the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri)
The Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri) is a non-profit think tank based in Cape Town and operates in collaboration with universities in the region. Cenfri's mission is to support financial sector development and financial inclusion through facilitating better regulation and market provision of financial services. We do this by conducting research, providing advice and developing capacity building programmes for regulators, market players and other parties operating in the low-income market.
Our focus areas currently are microinsurance, health financing and insurance, AML/CFT, retail payment systems and money transfers. Cenfri is a non-profit (Section 21) company registered in South Africa and was established with support from the FinMark Trust.
As one of the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility’s official partners Cenfri is pleased to announce the release of the Microinsurance Innovation Facility's 2012 Annual Report.
The ILO's Microinsurance Innovation Facility and Cenfri have partnered to achieve the common objective of increasing the availability of better insurance products to a greater number of low-income households on the African continent. The Facility's Annual Report contributes to this by documenting the learnings from existing microinsurance activities, which will help to understand the success factors necessary for the development of valuable microinsurance products
The Microinsurance Innovation Facility's 2012 annual report is organized as follows:
- Part 1 summarizes the Facility’s 2012 accomplishments and thoughts on their next phase of operation, beginning in 2014
- Part 2 describes microinsurance development and the experiences of the Facility’s partners across the world
- Part 3 presents lessons and new findings in microinsurance that were generated by the Facility’s partners
The Annexes list:
- Facility’s innovation grantees and strategic partners (Annex I)
- knowledge products (Annex II)
- capacity-building activities (Annex III)
To formulate informed strategies, individuals and institutions aim to understand the recent trends, driving forces and issues within the context of their work. However, in the current globalised world with its intrinsic interconnectivity and complex systems we suffer from the dilemma of an increasing amount of information available and a diminishing amount of time available to absorb it. Enter Finance Forward, which approaches the field of inclusive financial services in Africa and synthesises disparate ideas and information from business, economic, social, technological, political, and physical environments, which are constantly at work behind the scenes, co-producing global change.
In this fourth edition of Finance Forward we take a step back and scan the larger, interlocking environments from which trends and issues emerge through a large number and wide variety of articles (academic and popular) that were published during the second, third and fourth quarter of 2012. The selection has included articles with an outlook toward the future or articles that carry implications for how the future will develop. They have been shortened to less than 50 percent of their original length and in most cases have been directly quoted (with the exception of a few longer articles). This edition presents four themes, which build upon those themes found in the first, second and third editions.
Cenfri recently released the Tanzania Access to Insurance Diagnostic study on behalf of FinMark Trust. The study was funded as partnership between Financial Sector Deepening Trust Tanzania (FSDT) and FinMark Trust, with the support of the Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA).
The study comprises a series of 8 documents consisting of one headline findings summary document and seven input documents, each focusing on a specific thematic area, that build up the evidence base to headline findings.
The series was designed so that readers can focus on the Headline Findings document, drawing on specific input documents for the evidence base and as per their area of interest.
Click read more below to access the main Tanzania Access to Insurance Diagnostic homepage with the complete list of documents
The IAIS Application Paper on Regulation and Supervision Supporting Inclusive Insurance Markets was officially adopted by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) Executive Committee at its Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. on 9 October 2012. Cenfri – on behalf of FinMark Trust – served on the drafting group that was formed within the IAIS-Microinsurance Network Joint Working Group on Microinsurance to draft the Application Paper.
The IAIS is the global standard-setting body for insurance, with the mission to promote effective and globally consistent supervision of the insurance industry in order to develop and maintain fair, safe and stable insurance markets for the benefit and protection of policyholders; and to contribute to global financial stability.
There remains a large percentage of Zimbabweans who are “previously banked” (estimated to be at least 12% of the population)
A recent study Mapping the Retail Payment Services Landscape in Zimbabwe managed by Cenfri commissioned by FinMark Trust and conducted by Bankable Frontier Associates finds:
- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has taken a “test and learn” approach to new innovations and currently assess applications for new product innovations on a case-by-case basis
- There is no regulatory framework for electronic money or stored value or specific rules on the development and management of agent networks for mobile banking
- Electronic infrastructure is still relatively limited with inconsistent power and mobile coverage in many rural areas
- The National Payment System (NPS) Act does not sufficiently address the growing trend towards complex retail payment mechanisms over electronic channels is currently considering developing an e-payment act to cover issues such as e-signatures and other
- Customers highlight sensitivity to cost rather than knowledge as a barrier
- Both people who use banks and those who have never had an account reported that bank charges have increased and are prohibitively high
41.14% of the adult population Mozambique has either never heard of a bank (22.5%) or does not know what it is (18.9%)
A recent study Mapping the Retail Payment Services Landscape in Mozambique managed by Cenfri commissioned by FinMark Trust and conducted by Bankable Frontier Associates finds:
- Lack of availability and access prohibiting customers from using financial and payment services
- Poor infrastructure to support cash distribution networks
- Unreliable electricity services and wireless communications
- Limited interoperability amongst banks and also between mobile network operators
- Unfamiliarity with electronic or innovative payments among the poor
- Lack of second-level rules or clarity of the regulators’ positioning with regard to some innovation payment services
- Limited options for remittances in general and excessive document for international remittances
- The payment channels currently in use, mostly cash, are available and accessible, but remittance payments for example, are very expensive, with 20% of the money sent charged for transport
In Malawi, 81% of people do not have access to formal payment services or mobile phones.
A recent study Mapping the Retail Payment Services Landscape in Malawi managed by Cenfri commissioned by FinMark Trust and conducted by Bankable Frontier Associates finds:
- Few financial institutions (public or private) actively pursue the unbanked market through technology and new distribution channels
- New interest in the unbanked market results from Airtel’s mobile money aspirations
- Two critical obstacles to increase access and usage of formal payment services: (i) improving infrastructure to support cash distribution network (ii) providing greater interoperability amongst providers
- There is high demand for more proximate financial service, but banks and money transfer services are far away
- There is an astonishing number of complex and innovate transfer systems that rely on social networks
- Trust in financial institutions is there but consumers feel the banks are inconvenient, overcrowded, expensive and therefore out of reach for poorer Malawians
A recent Review of the South African Market for Hospital Cash Plan (HCP) Insurance managed by Cenfri and commissioned by the FinMark Trust and conducted by Lighthouse Actuarial Consulting finds:
- There are estimated to be between 1 million and 1.5 million HCP policies in effect, with total lives covered estimated to be 2.4 million people
- The majority of policyholders are in the LSM 4-7 brackets
- More than 55% of HCP beneficiaries are concentrated between the ages of 20 - 40 years
- There are between 30 and 40 insurers providing HCPs, versus 99 medical schemes and between 15 and 20 Gap cover providers
- The market is relatively large and rapdily growing with an estimated 50,000 new policies sold every month