Exuus: Using data to demystify savings groups’ black boxes

Exuus: Using data to demystify savings groups’ black boxes

August 24, 2018    
DataHack4FI Innovation Award Season 2: Winner of the Women and Youth focus prize for Rwanda

In Rwanda, as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, rotating credit and savings associations (ROSCAs) and savings groups are a big part of people’s financial lives – especially for women. With just under 1 million individuals making use of savings groups, the segment’s size makes it a rival to the formal banking sector, which serves 1.5 million individuals and a key component of the Rwandan microfinance sector.

These organisations have become progressively more important in national financial inclusion efforts. They are key in the Rwanda National Financial Inclusion Programme (R-FIP) 2016–2020, as well as Access to Finance Rwanda’s (AFR) strategy for 2016–2020. Having played a key role in developing the AFR Savings Group Map in 20164, Exuus is keenly aware of the great opportunity that the 36,000 (and increasing) savings groups present in Rwanda. The challenge, however, is that this significant portion of the Rwandan financial sector essentially is a black box. Stakeholders know that it exists and that a lot goes on within it, but they struggle to access reliable data about the activities within this segment.

This hampers the financial sector from better understanding and serving this large market. It is ultimately to the detriment of the large portion of Rwandans – overwhelmingly women – who rely on the services of savings groups. Exuus tackles some of these challenges by offering a digitised savings group platform. The platform assists savings groups in better running their operations, and it assists the broader financial sector community in better understanding and working with the segment.

 


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