In many developing countries, particularly in rural areas, access to financial services is costly and very limited. This translates to a large percentage of the population operating on a cash basis
only and outside of the formal banking system.
However, the proliferation of mobile services worldwide has created a unique opportunity to provide social and financial services over the mobile network. WIZZIT is one such ‘virtual bank’ in South Africa that is challenging the branch legacy that is associated with traditional banks, in order to bank the un-banked. It is estimated that 40 percent of South Africa’s 45 million population are un-banked
or under-banked. However, nearly 60 percent of South Africans have mobile phones.
To reach its customers, WIZZIT has adopted a unique direct sales approach, employing nearly 2,000 previously un-employed WIZZkids with good local knowledge and contacts of the neighborhoods they operate in. Through its investment in WIZZIT, IFC is supporting an ICT-enabled innovative solution with tremendous development impact.
IFC is working with WIZZIT to scale up the operations, determine which markets are appropriate for similar offering and to work out penetration strategies, including the identification of the appropriate local partners.