News and Articles

A collection of views and comments on the world of international trade and financial inclusion

This page is a mixture of our take on what's happening in the world, along with articles and views from guest contributors. We welcome submissions of relevant stories, either as finished articles or as rough facts that our writers can use as reference.

If you'd like to offer an article, then please tell us about it by clicking here.

While it's not possible to publish every submission we receive, we promise to read every one of them.

Students at Reckitt Benckiser's World Toilet College

Hands-on in the Sewers of India

Changing the lives of India's non-people

By Jem Shaw

While writing an article for March's ATTIC Magazine, I was reminded of two conferences I worked on in the Netherlands and Costa Rica. They were for Reckitt Benckiser, the company behind familiar names like Dettol and Harpic. RB has

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Somalian Market

EPF Calls for Challengers to Restore MSB Banking

Shutting out remittances is destroying lives

By Jem Shaw

Money service bureaux continue to close as banks move to clean their portfolios by simply deleting business that doesn't meet their tightening risk appetites. This may play well for shareholders and risk officers, but does the

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Financial Inclusion Forum

Learning From the Forum

Digital Financial Services for Refugees

By Jem Shaw

The Financial Inclusion Forum hosted a highly stimulating event last night, at which we learned more about what digital financial services are doing for refugees and other forcibly displaced populations. As is so often the case, the unintended

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Old mobile phone in Addis Ababa

Mobilising the Digital Payments Revolution

A Call to Fintechs to share their solutions

By Jem Shaw

Today, 5.1 billion people own a mobile phone. Compared to a world population of a little over 7 billion, that suggests that roughly two-thirds of people are part of the app revolution. GSMA, the organisation that represents the interests

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IMF Approves US$3 billion loan for Ethiopia

Government plans show whole-solution thinking

By Tory Batten

The IMF's approval of a US$3 billion programme of reform for Ethiopia is yet another indicator of Africa's economic surge. The programme appears to be encouragingly holistic, with elements that permeate through the country's

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Maputo, Mozambique

African economies boom

A cause for celebration or concern?

By Jem Shaw

According to the IMF, Africa is set for meteoric growth in 2020. That's excellent news, but high speeds create big accidents. At the risk of being accused of looking for the tunnel instead of the light, I'd like to propose a few

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AML penalties double

Where do the failures lie?

By Jem Shaw

So it seems that non-compliance continues unchecked in global finance. As observed by Encompass, AML penalties doubled in 2019 from their 2018 level. There is some encouragement in the figures, given that penalties among banks have reduced.

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Tesla is one of several companies being sued for complicity in c

Is ignorance an admissible excuse?

Major companies sued for supporting child labour

By Jem Shaw

Several major companies, including Tesla, Apple, Microsoft and Google, have been named in a lawsuit implicating them in the deaths of child labourers in artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A case filed by International

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Focusing old camera

Shifting the focus in global transactions

We need to be looking at people, not regions

By Jem Shaw

While the developed world has become more connected, and cross-border trading increasingly simple, many smaller and emerging economies have become increasingly marginalised by world finance organisations. The regions worst-hit are in Africa,

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African child miner

Who gets trampled in a gold rush?

Will biriminan gold deposits spell prosperity or disaster?

By Jem Shaw

The gold industry is in a considerable state of excitement about the extent of gold deposits becoming available in western Africa. With gold’s international price having recovered strongly in recent months, this should spell prosperity

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Cash in a cashless economy

The pound that was in your pocket

The importance of cash in financial inclusion

By Subas Das of Choice International

Cash is dead. Give it five years and no one will use it any more. Everyone knows this, except, apparently, the Bank of England. Is the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street living in a bygone age, or does she know something the rest of us have

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Artisanal gold miners often work in atrocious conditions

No golden future for emerging countries

Why refusing to buy artisanal gold is no solution

By Jem Shaw

Artisanal gold mining accounts for roughly 20% of the world's gold production, but employs around 80% of its miners. Millions of people, including young children, work under highly dangerous conditions for exploitative wages. Accidents

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