The paradox of banking the unbankable

Neither Fintechs Nor Banks Have Cracked The Unbankable Of Africa’s Unbanked


November 20, 2020

Before “banking the unbanked” became an overused buzzphrase that probably now rings hollow, it was the favourite line of every institution or campaign with sights on deepening financial services. That and “financial inclusion.”

Ever stopped to wonder: what does financial inclusion even mean? And why does it seem like we’ve been talking about it forever? Turns out the answer to those questions is linked to another ‘Twitter feed-inspired question’ which might have an answer of its own, thankfully.

So, here’s one for pop culture: what sounds like fintech strategy but isn’t? There’s probably a number of elements that fit into that class but, perhaps, none more so than that talk of “banking the unbanked.”

Not only has it always had a pretentiously-altruistic connotation, but it now also comes off as a classic case of majoring on the minor while minoring on the major.

How so? Well, the answer to that is yet more questions: How does one go about selling the gospel of banking the unbanked to the fundamentally unbankable? What’s financial inclusion without finance?

“It is true that a significant number of African citizens are living below the poverty line and that is a real ...

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