The range of digital finance actors and product innovations has proliferated over the last decade—frequently due to the critical support of donors to test and grow products that show real promise. However, as these actors and new competitors have entered the marketplace, it has become clear that not all products have equal potential, and not all providers have the resources or ability to contribute to a healthy ecosystem.
Donors, investors, and NGOs can provide incentives or support to address these issues. Donors already rely on many factors to decide whether to pursue a partnership (such as via grant, debt, equity, or guarantee). Most will, for example, expect management capability as well as the ability to demonstrate development impact, ability to scale, and a viable business model. Donors will often also aim to avoid unnecessary market distortion or investment displacement.
This checklist can be considered a supplement to such factors—a living checklist that reflects at least four persistent factors that increase the importance of certain issues donors should be cognizant of in digital finance:
- New, non-traditional actors involved in provision of financial services (e.g., data analytics firms, MNOs, non-banks)
- Reliance on digital channels, out-sourcing, or agents as primary customer interface
- Complex, fragmented, or opaque business models
- Quicker pace of product and business model evolution