Daily Archives: September 29, 2017

CGAP Launches Guide for Financial Service Providers to Better Meet the Needs of Low-Income Customers

Washington, D.C., Sept. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CGAP today launched the Customer-Centric Guide, a web-based collection of toolkits and experiments to help financial service providers deliver products and services that better meet the needs of low-income customers.

The number of people with a financial account grew by 721 million between 2011 and 2014, reducing the ranks of the unbanked by 20 percent to 2 billion. While the number of people with formal financial accounts is growing worldwide, many poor people seldom use them, suggesting they find the accounts have little value.  According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, in developing countries about 20 percent of adults left their accounts unused for at least a year. For banks, mobile money services and other financial providers, this represents a lost business opportunity after spending an estimated $13.3 billion to open these accounts. For poor customers, it limits their opportunities to build financial resilience, make choices and improve their lives.

The CGAP Customer-Centric Guide is designed to help bridge this gap between financial access and usage.

“In a world where low-income customers make little use of financial services, providing value is the missing part of the puzzle,” said Gerhard Coetzee, Lead Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP.

Customer centricity is not a new business concept, but learning how to better understand poor people and offer the financial products and services they want and will use is a crucial way to extend business value and support financial inclusion. Coetzee said, “Every interaction a customer has with your organization, products or services, in person or online, is an important part of a customer experience. When an offering is intuitive, speaks to customers’ needs and is easy to use, value increases. Customers who are poor and often marginalized will feel empowered, and it helps them to move towards economic freedom.”

CGAP has begun testing various tools and approaches outlined in the Guide with over 15 partners in Africa and Asia, increasing its potential to help low-income customers.  Among them is Zoona, a financial technology startup that offers mobile-based money transfer, payments and accounts in southern Africa.  One of its largest branches is in Zambia, where Zoona has credited CGAP’s customer segmentation exercises for helping it recognize that agents are an important customer base and part of improving the overall customer interaction and experience. In the Philippines, with CGAP’s help CARD Pioneer Microinsurance Inc. has adopted a customer journey mapping process to better understand their low-income customers.

Greta Bull, CGAP CEO said, “CGAP works with its partners to generate insights that are actionable, can be practiced, refined, improved and embedded in the institution. It is about creating a feedback loop and understanding what the barriers are to using a service for poor people. It is about being aware of what is driving that and how you overcome those barriers so that as a business you can add value to your firm and to your customers.”

The CGAP Customer-Centric Guide provides a wealth of knowledge, practical resources and real-life case studies on ways businesses can improve the customer experience, better serve low-income customers, and at the same time improve their business performance.  Its four main sections are:

  1. Why Go Customer-Centric: Put customers at the center and move your organization toward long-term competitive advantage.
  2. Learn from Customers: Learn how to understand your customers’ behaviors, needs and wants and generate the insights you need to start delivering the right solutions.
  3. Design Solutions: Build products and services with customers in mind. Once you draw insights from your customers, you can design for better adoption and use.
  4. Organize for Delivery: When customer insights drive strategy, products, and experiences, your organization can be fully customer-centric.

Explore the CGAP Customer-Centric Guide:


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f79d4f28-ea97-4783-b969-ff14dcd37f12

Esther Lee Rosen
+1 202 458 0147

Clean Audit Award for the Department of Tourism

The Director-General, Mr Victor Tharage, received a clean audit award on behalf of the Department of Tourism. The 2016/17 Clean Audit Awards were hosted by the Auditor-General of South Africa on 29 September 2017.

This honour is awarded to departments and public entities that received an unqualified audit with no other findings (clean audit) for the 2016/17 financial year. This audit outcome confirms that the department’s financial statements are free from material misstatements, and have no material finding on compliance with legislation and on performance reporting.

It provides assurance to the public that the resources allocated tothe department are managed with care and for the purposes they are intended.

A clean audit outcome is not an event. It is earned throughout the year by consistent effort and clean administration, Mr Tharage remarked.

The Director-General acknowledges the role of various assurance providers including the Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, the Portfolio and Select Committees responsible for tourism in Parliament, the Audit Committee, and the management and staff of the Department of Tourism. It is with their combined effort on oversight, directing and operations that clean administration is achieved,Mr Tharage said.

The award was particularly special as it is the department’s second consecutive clean audit award. Maintaining a clean audit in consecutive years requires vigilance to ensure that the department does not regress in its internal control environment. We take pride that we have been able to do so, added Tharage.

Clean administration provides the springboard for the implementation of the strategy to grow inclusive tourism for the benefit of all South Africans and to deliver services to all stakeholders. The Department is committed to ensure that the good governance standards will be maintained in order to preserve the publics confidence.

Source: Government of South Africa

Cameroon Tries to Quash Independence Movement in English Regions

EKOK, CAMEROON About 700 pro-independence protesters � mostly youths � are attacking government buildings and police stations at the Cameroonian border town of Ekok, and hoisting what they call the flag of their independent state of Ambazonia.

Elias Tambe, a leader of the separatists, says they no longer recognize Cameroon president Paul Biya as their leader.

“He is nobody and he will never mean anything to the Ambazonians,” said Tambe, 27. “This is the border between Southern Cameroon and the Republic of Nigeria at the frontier Ekok. You can see the flags, you can see the flags, this is the border. Now they have closed the border, they don’t want us to cross to Nigeria, but we are there. Biya must go.”

Members of the group tried to cross over to the Nigeria border state of Enugu to inform authorities there that a new nation has been born, but were blocked by Nigeria immigration police.

The separatists promised to declare their independence on October 1, and have appointed Julius Ayuk Tabe, who is in exile, as their interim leader.

In response, Cameroon has deployed thousands of troops to the English-speaking northwest and southwest regions to stop all demonstrators. However, observers say the separatists may be relocating to smaller localities such as Ekok where the military is not yet present.

French-speaking Cameroonian Debong Ignatius says the presence of the military can exacerbate the crisis.

“Men in uniform and the police circled our neighborhoods, entered the various houses, insisting that people should bring out Ambazonina flags they were hiding,” Debong said. “I do not think it is their duty to go harassing people at this precise moment because it can exacerbate the situation.”

President Biya has told English-speaking ministers and senior state functionaries working in Yaounde to go home, in an effort to urge the population not to accept separatists’ ideas.

Fame Ndongo, communication secretary of the ruling CPDM party, says party officials were dispatched to encourage supporters to rally on Saturday and Sunday as a sign of disapproval and condemnation of violence and anti-constitutional acts perpetrated by secessionist groups.

Schools have been closed in the English-speaking northwest and southwest since November, when lawyers and teachers called for a strike to stop what they believe is the overuse of the French language.

Leaders of the strike were arrested, but pressure groups have been calling for their immediate and unconditional release. Fifty-five of the 75 protesters were released, and charges against them were dropped.

While separatists are calling for complete independence, Biya has said he is not open to any negotiation on the matter and that Cameroon is one and indivisible.

Source: Voice of America

President Jacob Zuma hosts President Robert Mugabe, 3 Oct

President Zuma to host Zimbabwean President Mugabe during his Official Visit to South Africa

President Jacob Zuma will on Tuesday, 3 October 2017, host the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency President Robert Mugabe, during his Official Visit to South Africa to attend the 2nd Session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC) scheduled to take place in Pretoria.

The Agreement establishing the BNC was signed in April 2015 and inaugurated in October 2016 in Harare, Zimbabwe and it stipulates that the BNC should meet on an annual and rotational basis. The BNC session, which will be co-chaired by President Zuma and President Mugabe, will afford an opportunity to both Heads of State to review the state of the bilateral relationship between the two neighbouring countries.

The BNC will further provide a platform to strengthen and deepen the warm and cordial bilateral relations between the two countries as well as to review and determine the actual progress made on bilateral undertakings and commitments made during the inauguration Session of the BNC last year.

President Zuma and President Mugabe are also expected to deliberate and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual concern, particularly peace, security, stability and development in the SADC region and some parts of the continent.

South Africa and Zimbabwe have good bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back many years. The two countries do not only share strong historical relations but also economic cooperation. Zimbabwe is one of South Africa’s top five (5) trading partners on the continent, with trade statistics showing annual growth. In 2016, South Africa’s exports to Zimbabwe amounted to approximately R29.3 billion.

There are over 120 South African companies doing business in Zimbabwe in various sectors including mining, aviation, tourism, banking sector, the property sector, the retail sector, construction sector, and the fast food sector and many more.

To date, the two countries have signed more than 40 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and Agreements. The Agreements and MoUs cover a broad range of areas, which include among others, trade and investment, immigration, defence, transport, agriculture, environment, energy, health, labour, water management, taxation, as well as arts and culture.

President Jacob Zuma will be supported by Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nkqakula; Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant; Home Affairs, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize and Minister of Transport, Mr Joseph Maswanganyi.

Source: Government of South Africa

Two new members for the JSC

President Jacob Zuma has appointed Jennifer Cane and Daluxolo Mpofu as members of the Judicial Service Commission with immediate effect, the Presidency said on Friday.

The two Advocates were nominated by the General Council of the Bar of South Africa to represent the advocates’ profession in the JSC.

President Zuma has congratulated Advocates Cane and Mpofu and wished them all the best in their new responsibilities of advancing the country’s constitutional democracy.

Source: South African Government News Agency