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DataHack for financial inclusion: Creating a platform for young innovators to develop their ideas and take them to scale

The increasing availability of financial data can be effectively used to drive innovations that help close the gender gaps and address the barriers that prevent the poor from benefiting from financial services. This project seeks to catalyze new data-driven financial services solutions that will have a positive impact on the poor.

Through a DataHack for financial inclusion innovation competition, the project will incentivize young Africans to harness data to develop effective and scalable solutions. It will also foster market linkages for promising young entrepreneurs through an active platform that connects them to financial service providers and to key investors in the region to help take promising innovations to scale.

The project will be carried out in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. In each country, teams of young entrepreneurs and data scientists will benefit from the mentorship, capacity building, and exposure provided by the project. More than 120 individuals are expected to participate across these countries. The competition will serve as a platform to showcase the work of competing teams to investors, potential financial services partners, and clients. The country winners will be granted the opportunity to pitch to African investors at the Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda in May 2018.

This is a multi-funder initiative with funding from IDRC and the MasterCard Foundation. IDRC funds the work in Tanzania and Zambia with its implementing partner, the South Africa-based Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion. The project will document the most innovative data-driven financial services solutions emerging from the DataHack. It will also document lessons on the type of mentorship and skills development activities that can help spur youth-led innovations, as well as what works to facilitate private sector linkages.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
12 months
IDRC Officer
Martha Melesse
Total Funding
CA$ 213,900.00
Employment and Growth
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Herman Smit
The Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion