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Making Access to Financial Services Possible (MAP)


MAP's stakeholders generate policy and market change to deliver an improved range of financial services to better meet the needs of various segments of the population.
What is MAP?

MAP is a multi-country, financial-inclusion initiative launched by Cenfri in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and FinMark Trust. It brings together stakeholders from government, the private sector and the donor community to tailor a set of practical actions through a process of evidence-based analysis – aimed at extending financial inclusion.

MAP countries to date

For more information on this programme, contact Mia Thom.


The MAP approach


We take a methodical approach to identifying the issues and challenges that inhibit financial inclusion and the expansion of access to financial services for individuals, small and micro-businesses. We place the consumer perspective at the core of our analysis by making use of both FinScope quantitative data and qualitative demand-side research to provide an informed view.

In addition, we build a holistic picture of the drivers of financial inclusion and the ecosystem within which the financial services sector operates. Our integrated view of the financial sector covers demand, supply and regulation across four product areas: savings, electronic payments, credit and insurance.

MAP roadmaps are designed to provide a strategic vision on financial inclusion and ways to achieve delivery. They cover the country and political economy context; consumer financial needs and current uptake and usage of various formal and informal financial services; the provider and product landscape; as well as the regulatory framework for the whole financial services sector. The roadmaps identify context-related, market-related and regulatory barriers or obstacles to expanding financial inclusion, and devise strategies for overcoming them.

By highlighting current market activity and areas of opportunity, we encourage providers of financial services to deliver products and services to segments of the population that are currently underserved and enable policymakers and regulators to implement changes to current policies and regulations that can facilitate market growth and expand financial inclusion.


MAP Global Insights Series


Insights from the first six MAP countries demonstrated that for financial inclusion to deliver on its promise, a paradigm shift is required in how we think about financial inclusion. The MAP Global Insights Series consolidates and synthesises learnings from the first six MAP study countries, Thailand, Myanmar, Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi. By switching the lens through which we view financial inclusion – away from providers and governments to the consumer – we start to understand why financial inclusion is in many ways not working and, importantly, what providers, policymakers and donors can do to change this.

Note 1: Decoding the customer unpacks the target market segmentation approach that is central to the MAP methodology of putting the client at the core of the analysis. This note provides a window into the emerging cross-country segments, and the implications for donors, policymakers and providers in this regard.


Note 2: Depth sounding explores the shift in financial inclusion measurement away from focusing solely on access to more closely match the realities of how adults live their financial lives. It introduces a new measurement framework, which includes gauging depth of usage in financial inclusion, and explores the policy implications of moving away from a linear, one-dimensional view of financial inclusion. Cenfri’s Hennie Bester explains this new approach.


Note 3: Homefield advantage looks at the nature of informal financial services. It shows that it is the local nature of these financial services, rather than their informal nature, that makes them valuable for the majority of consumers in these countries. This notes explores the reasons why, despite the best efforts to increase usage of formal financial services, informality persists. Cenfri’s Hennie Bester talks us through this discovery.


Note 4: Lost in the mail considers the gap between ownership and usage of bank accounts. Global surveys such as the World Bank Global Financial Inclusion Index (Findex) and the country-level FinScope Consumer Survey, monitor the progress of financial inclusion policies by tracking the number of ‘banked’ individuals. This note queries whether bank accounts are always the appropriate product for increasing customer welfare, and argues the need for a paradigm shift away from focusing on ownership to a focus on usage in the context of a wider, systems approach. Cenfri’s Hennie Bester elaborates.


Note 5: The king is (not) dead focuses on cash as a payment instrument to explore the largely undiminished popularity of cash. Globally, the financial inclusion agenda has focused on migrating consumers, providers and governments to digital payment instruments, in a bid to reduce the cost of payments and to allow for the digitisation of other services for which payments are required (e.g. savings, credit and insurance). However, despite the increasing focus on and availability of digital or electronic payments, very few adult consumers in the six MAP countries are using digital instruments to meet their payment needs and cash remains the preferred payments options.


Note 6: Mapping the DNA draws together the findings from the MAP Global Insights Series and demonstrates the need for a rethink conventional financial inclusion assumptions, based on a consumer decision-making framework that emphasises economic incentives, cost and value. By switching the lens through which we view financial inclusion – away from financial service providers and governments to the consumer – we start to understand why financial inclusion is in many ways not working and, importantly, what providers, policymakers and donors can do to change this.