WEBINAR: Open APIs can unlock innovation in financial services — but what are the pitfalls?

  • 12 March, 2019

Open APIs allow one business to build on the data and resources of another to create new services, just like ride hailing apps use open APIs to integrate maps with payment services. By opening their APIs to third parties, FSPs can spur the development of innovative products that can be brought to market quickly.

Open APIs for financial inclusion

Low-income customers around the world have unmet financial needs. They save for school fees, need loans to bridge cash shortfalls and require financing for goods like solar power systems.  Large digital payments providers are not always best placed to meet these needs. By opening their APIs to third parties — such as financial technology companies, software developers, start-ups and digital banks — providers can open the door to the development of innovative products that can be brought to market quickly.

However, opening APIs is not a proven strategy for providers — there are risks and unknowns.

CGAP is working with five digital financial service providers globally (including MTN in Uganda and Zoona in Zambia) to help them navigate the strategic, operational and technical decisions needed as they open their APIs.  Research focuses on best practices in open API strategy for financial inclusion and product and risk management. The webinar will share emerging lessons and include a discussion on ways that FSDs can become involved, either through support to providers directly or by helping develop the ecosystem around them.

Register to attend: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zObfrycGTpOep0izNnRyjw


Speaker profiles

Michel Hanouch, Senior Financial Sector Specialist  

Michel Hanouch works to push the frontiers of digital finance. He leads CGAP’s work on open APIs in financial inclusion, which aims to open existing digital rails to fintechs and other third-party innovators. Michel has worked with banks, fintechs, mobile network operators, regulators and donors across a range of countries, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia. He is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Claudia McKay, Senior Financial Sector Specialist

Based in Nairobi, Claudia McKay leads CGAP’s work on developing the digital rails necessary for a ubiquitous digital financial services ecosystem. This includes increasing the connectivity between providers (interoperability)as well as between providers and fintechs that want to leverage their assets and capabilities (open APIs). Claudia has worked and published on many topics, including the development of large-scale agent networks, the adoption of digital financial services by unbanked customers, and effective regulation.

Webinar moderated by Marion Kimani, FSD Network Manager, FSD Africa