Enabling Inclusive Fintech to Respond to COVID-19

As countries around the world begin to emerge out of lockdown and economies attempt to recover, the response to the informal economy will be ever more critical as the underbanked are more severely impacted and technology-enabled financial inclusion will be fundamental in helping soften the impact of COVID-19. We have created a special section on Mifos.org (https://mifos.org/take-action/covid-19/) to highlight how our open building blocks for digital financial servies and global community can help the Base of the Pyramid absorb the severe economic shock of the pandemic through the innovation of inclusive fintech enabling the rapid delivery of G2P benefits, flexible and streamlined operations, and an accelerated transformation towards digital payments and branchless channels.

You can explore these building blocks, our APIs and reference mobile apps, and even sign up for a sandbox in the cloud.

Our COVID-19 response also includes links to resources and knowledgebases compiled by BFA Global, CGAP, and the Center for Financial Inclusion on COVID-19 and Financial Inclusion . We’ll also be adding a section showcasing how partners across our community have been helping their local fintechs and financial institutions swiftly respond to the emerging needs of their customers.

James Dailey, Mifos founder and Chairman of our Board, has been championing how the sector can use our open building blocks for digital financial services to rapidly deploy accounts and enable G2P payments in the cloud. He showcased this in the tech demo below he gave at the 2020 Global Digital Development Forum and detailed out the challenges and opportunities that will be faced in helping the informal economy recover in article he co-authored with Jill Shemin on NextBillion.net.

Google Summer of Code 2020 – End Poverty. One Line of Code at a Time.

gsoc2016-sun-373x373This summer you’ll have the ability to change lives – three billion of them – one line of code at a time. The Mifos Initiative will be participating in Google Summer of Code for the ninth time. You’ll have the have the chance to build web and mobile apps for digital financial services or contribute to our award-winning Mifos X open source technology platform powered by Apache Fineract or brand new Apache Fineract CN application framework for digital financial services. Google Summer of Code is a global program sponsored by Google that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects.  Students accepted to the program will spend their summers coding from May 18th to August 17th and upon successful evaluation, receive a stipend provided by Google. For full details on GSoC, read the FAQ and browse the program timeline – student applications are open from March 16 through March 31! You can apply from our organization page.

Want to learn more? Browse our ideas page for projects and links to all our code repositories.

To help aspiring applicants and answer any questions related to ideas or improving your applications and proposal, we’ll be holding a Mifos Google Summer of Code AMA on Tuesday, March 24.

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Mifos Welcomes Fintech Advisor, Ali Hussein Kassim

Ali Hussein KassimWe are pleased to formally announce the newest member of our board of business and technical advisors, Ali Hussein Kassim. Ali is a true visionary in the fintech world and will use his expertise and critical insight into the sector will help shape the ongoing product and community development strategy and advance our sustainability endeavors. Ali wears many hats across the African fintech landscape and has already been advising us and helping connect Mifos with new opportunities throughout 2019.

Connect with Ali on LinkedIn as he’s certain to spark up a through-provoking and insightful conversation with you.

Join us in welcoming Ali; we look forward to his deeper role in helping the ecosystem grow and establish a stronger foothold for Mifos across the African fintech market.

Here’s a bit more on Ali:  Ali is the CEO of FinteXX Technology Ltd, a Pan-African Fintech company that enables the financial ecosystem to utilize digital technologies towards enhancing efficiency, bring innovative financial solutions to the unbanked across the continent and create awareness towards the transformative nature of Financial Technologies. He is also the Principal, AHK & Associates, a Digital Transformation Consultancy focused on enabling clients leverage Digital Technologies to achieve Transformational Change in their organizations. He is also an investor and mentor to startups the Demo Ventures Franchise. Apart from that, he is the immediate former CEO of 3mice interactive media ltd, a Nairobi based pioneer Digital Agency in East Africa and was also the founding CEO of Wunderman (Kenya), a Global Digital top ten Agency, where he successfully implemented the Balanced Scorecard, a management tool for translating strategy into action.

Ali also plays an active role on a number of different boards including:

    • Oversight Board of The Kenya Tourism Promotion Fund, a government agency set up to fund the promotion of tourism in the country
    • Board  of Longhorn Publishers, the leading publishing house in East & Central Africa where he is instrumental in defining the Digital Strategy for the company; 
    • Law Africa, a leading Law Publisher in East Africa 
    • Trustee of the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)
    • East Africa Advisor, Kinesis.Money, a revolutionary monetary system, based 1:1 on allocated physical gold and silver, bringing back a true store of value to the global economy and rewarding all who participate.
    • Alive & Kicking, a social Enterprise with operations in 3 African countries.. 
    • His board experience also includes  a six year term as board member at the Kenya Network Information Centre, the .ke Registry between 2006-12.

Mifos selected as Runner-Up for Best Financial Inclusion Initiative at 2019 Financial Innovation Awards

The Mifos Initiative is honored to have been chosen as the Highly Commended runner-up entrant for the Best Financial Inclusion or Outreach Initiative at the 2019 Financial Innovation Awards hosted by The London Institute of Banking and Finance this past month in London.

Congratulations to the NS&I Government Payment Services on winning the award for its Help to Save initiative; we are are honored to be in such esteemed company of  impactful and innovative solutions including PAYG solutions from Azuri, banking solutions for the visually impaired from Lloyds Bank, and the Principality Building Society’s financial education initiative.  Thank you to the London Institute of Banking and Finance for this valuable recognition.

Alex Fraser, CEO at The London Institute of Banking & Finance, said: “As technology advances, the finance sector is often in the frontline of change. Organizations like the ones being recognized and celebrated in the Financial Innovation Awards, are vital in driving forward and progressing the future of the sector.  These highly prestigious awards give companies the opportunity to demonstrate their ground-breaking and innovative approaches, which will go on to shape the future of the financial services industry and the value it provides. A huge congratulations to all the winners!”

See the list of all the winners and shortlisted finalists.

About the Financial Innovation Awards

The Financial Innovation Awards, held on Thursday 21 November at Hilton London Bankside, recognize some of the most innovative companies in the banking and finance sector. 

This year 64 companies were shortlisted for awards in 22 categories covering: products & services; customer experience and delivery channels; responsibility and inclusion; and the future of financial services. 59% of the companies shortlisted were from the UK, while 41% were international including from the UAE, Canada, Bangladesh and Brazil. 

About The London Institute of Banking & Finance 

  • The London Institute of Banking & Finance has been at the heart of the finance sector since 1879. We’re a professional body and registered educational charity, incorporated by Royal Charter. 
  • We’re an awarding body for industry qualifications covering a range of subjects, including banking, investment, trade finance and regulated advice; in the UK and internationally.
  • We’re a university college, providing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for students aiming to pursue a career in banking and finance.
  • We’re also the only specialist provider of personal finance qualifications at GCSE and A Level, helping young people to develop vital money management skills for life.

Partner Spotlight – Fiter

In this month’s Partner Spotlight we are featuring Fiter – one of our most globally distributed partners. Fiter truly exemplifies the collaborative spirit of the community as it was borne out of the partnership between two long-time Mifos community members, Robert Jakech and Javier Borkenztain. As the team continues to bring on customers from fintechs and financial institutions around the globe, their team has continued to grow, with Mifos community members joining their team, as well as brining fresh new talent into the community. Fiter is active throughout the community and committed to being a lead contributor to Mifos and Fineract. They are also one of our first partners to make a financial commitment back to the long-term sustainability of the Mifos Initiative by pledging a portion of their revenues as a donation. 

This regular blog series will shine the light on some of our top Partners. Not only do we want to recognize them for their accomplishments, we want others to learn from the approach they’ve taken to promote and implement Mifos.

Mifos Partners are one of the most crucial links in our community – they are the driving force that is promoting and supporting Mifos worldwide.  Aside from championing our product and bringing the Mifos technology to new markets, they act as the fundamental bridge feeding in MFI requirements to be developed by the community. Partners don’t stop there as many are also developing and localizing the product to fit their local market.  For all these reasons, we focus our full energy on making Partners successful – they are the primary channel to market, the eyes and ears on the ground, and the entrepreneurial force that will help us sustainably scale. We’d love to recognize your partner organization in this monthly spotlight so please reach out if you’d like to be featured.

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2019 Google Summer of Code Wrap-Up

Another Google Summer of Code has come and gone again and as our intern community grows it’s hard to keep up with sharing back with the community the product of their efforts. This year we worked with our biggest class of Mifos Initiative GSOC interns with 14 and also worked directly with 2 Apache Fineract GSOC interns and 2 Outreachy interns with the support of DIAL. Apart from the valuable code contributions our interns make, they are a critical organic growth engine for the community which has helped to yield some of our most impactful contributors to the community like Avik Ganguly of Fynarfin. So give them a big shout-out via the lists or social media and encourage them to keep on contributing and fighting poverty with financial inclusion.

This year our students worked across the entire stack from back to front-end on top of both of generations of Mifos/Fineract. On our mobile apps, we added new functionalities, enhanced the user experience, integrated with external payment systems and did refactoring across our mobile field operations app for Fineract and Fineract CN, our Mifos Mobile mobile banking apps for Finerct and Fineract CN, our mobile wallet app, and a new Fiinwallet app contributed by Fintecheando. On the web app front, we had two interns continue rewriting the web app into the latest version of Angular and continued enhancing our Online Banking App. On the back-end we hardened Fineract by tackling some of the backlog, updated our Swagger API documentation, integrated our payment hub with the GSMA mobile money APIs and continued to push the frontier of new innovation with enhancements to our chatbot, machine learning-based scorecard, and a new mobile app to capture the PPI using cloud vision and automated detection of objects in images. On the back-end of Fineract CN, we completed the removal of Category X dependencies to prepare for a 1.0 release of Fineract CN. Our Outreachy interns worked on our community infrastructure by migrating our Mifos mailing lists to a Discourse forum and our user manual to a Gitbook user manual.

This post highlights their work with links to their final reports. We’ll also be conducting a couple showcases to demo their work so please register for the Showcase on October 4 or the Showcase on October 8 at 1300GMT via Zoom Webinar.  Our reflections post will soon follow to help you get to know these interns and keep them immersed and involved in the community.

Thank You!

Before we take a closer look at the results of the summer, we want to first off thank everyone who made Google Summer of Code another successful year.

Google Open Source Programs Office

First off we want to once again thank the Google Open Source Programs office for giving us the opportunity to participate once again in Google Summer of Code. Our mentors, Rahul and Tarun, are looking forward to seeing the entire team at the Mentor Summit in Germany this October!  We are always impressed by the awesome job they do in coordinating such a massive global collaboration handling all the moving pieces so smoothly. We look forward to participating in GCI and GSOC for many years to come!

Mentors & Co-Org Admin

A huge thank you to all our mentors who are the most critical piece of the puzzle in having a successful Google Summer of Code. Without our mentors being there at each step of the way to help guide our students in their journey, we couldn’t get through the summer. A big thank you to Rahul Goel especially for stepping up as Co Org-Admin and really being on top of ensuring all our student evaluations were submitted on time by mentors. We are eager to grow our mentor participation for next year so welcome any community members who’d like to make the leap, to step forward now!

Thank you to our mobile development mentors – Rajan Maurya, Tarun Mudgal, , Naman Dwivedi, Abhilash G, Anamika, and Ishan Khanna. Thank you to our web development mentors – Gaurav Saini, Pranjal Goswami, Kelvin Okome, and Ankit Ohja.  Thanks to our mentors on the platform side – Avik Ganguly, Nayan Ambali, Aleksandar Vidakovic, Lalit Mohan, Steve Conrad, Courage Angeh, Rahul Goel, Sanyam Goel, Raul Sibaja, Karina Munoz, and Victor Romero. Thank you to our Fineract CN mentors –  Isaac Kamga. Thank you to Courage and Ruphine for their Outreachy mentorship.

DIAL & Outreachy

Thank you to DIAL for supporting one of our Outreachy interns and to the Outreachy general fund for supporting the other – the meaningful contributions our interns made will greatly impact the community.

Our Interns

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to our interns from across the globe who poured their energy into their projects. This year they were ever-perseverant in working on brand new codebases, changing requirements on the fly, and working on experimental solutions. What is always most rewarding is seeing how collaborative and supportive the interns are of each other helping to solve coding problems, helping with collaboration tools and just being great all-around community members. We wish them the best of luck in whatever they pursue next and look forward to their continued contributions to the Mifos Initiative. Already, despite the program being officially over, many of our interns have continued making contributions and wrapping up loose ends of their projects. 

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Meet the 2019 Google Summer of Code Class of Interns

Google Summer of Codegsoc2016-sun-373x373 2019 is well underway. We are now just nearing the end of Google Summer of Code but we still would like to properly introduce you to this year’s class of interns – GSOC is now in its 15th year and Mifos has the honor of participating for the sixth time independently and eighth year overall. Once again this is our biggest year to date with a total of 14 interns participating in GSOC directly through the Mifos Initiative. In this post we’re also going to introduce you to two GSOC interns that are being mentored through the Apache Software Foundation as well as two Outreachy interns sponsored by DIAL and the Outreachy General Fund working on documentation projects.

We have six interns working on mobile apps, three interns working on web apps, six interns working on new modules or the back-end for Fineract, one intern working on Fineract CN, and two Outreachy interns working on migrating our mailing list to Discourse and converting our user manual to a Gitbook. Stay tuned for some upcoming webinars in which our interns will be showcasing their work to our community and Part 2 of this blog post giving a personal look into each of interns. 

For our suite of Mifos Mobile Apps on Fineract and Fineract CN, we have six students continuing to extend them. Moksh Mahajan, under the mentorship of Tarun Mudgal, will be extending our Android Field Operations App to Version 6.0. Prashant Khandelwal is working Mifos Mobile 4.0, our mobile banking app, Shivansh Tiwari is working on Version of our Mobile Wallet, Saksham Handu, under the mentorship of Rajan Maurya, is working on Version 3.0 of Fineract CN Mobile while Abhijit Ramesh is working on Version 2.0 of Mifos Mobile CN. Lastly Manish Kumar is contributing to FiinWallet – a hybrid mobile wallet/banking app contributed by Fintecheando. 

On the front-end, both Jivjyot Singh and Abhay Chawla are working completing the rewrite of the Mifos X web app into Angular 7 while Cajetan Rodrigues is working on Version 3.0 of the Online Banking app.

On the back-end for Fineract, we’re looking to wrap up some eagerly awaited projects and release some new Mifos X innovation, Sidhant Gupta is using the recently created Payment Hub to integrate with the GSMA mobile money API. Apporva MK is experimenting with some bleeding edge technology by building out a tool to collect the PPI by only taking images and using the Computer Vision APIs and machine learning to detect objects in those imagesk. Anshul Singth is refining the Mifos chatbot and helping to make it production-ready – Likewise, Supreeth S Karan, is continuing our machine learning project development a scorecard from credit risk assessment. Last but not least, Dylan Robson is hardening and strengthening Fineract and Mifos X by fixing some long outstanding bugs and feature request from our backlog. 

Under the umbrella of the Apache Software Foundation, on Fineract CN, Ebenezer Graham, is continuing his contributions working to remove Category X dependencies. Kang Brader is updating and making production-ready our Swagger APIs.

Participating in Outreachy with the support of DIAL, we have two interns from Cameroon working on documentation and collaborative projects – Massabe Lydian Kengne is converting our user manual to Gitbook format and Kerlyn Manyi is migrating our old Mifos mailing lists and Google Groups to a highly collaborative Discourse forum.

Mobile Apps – Mifos X (Fineract)

Prashant Khandelwal

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos Mobile 4.0
  • Mentor: Rajan Maurya & Anamika
Shivansh Tiwari – India

 

 

 

 

  • Mobile Wallet 3.0
  • Mentor: Naman Dwivedi
Moksh Mohajan – India

 

 

 

 

  • Android Field Operations App 6.0
  • Mentor: Tarun Mudgal
Manish Kumar – India

 

 

 

 

  • FiinWallet
  • Mentor: Victor Romero & Karina

Mobile Apps – Fineract CN

Abhijit Ramesh- India

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos Mobile CN 2.0
  • Mentor: Rajan Maurya & Abhilash G
Saksham Handu – India

 

 

 

 

  • Fineract CN Mobile 3.0
  • Mentor: Rajan Maurya
   

Mifos X Web Apps

Abhay Chawla – India

 

 

 

 

  • Web App Rewrite & Configuration Wizard
  • Mentor: Gaurav Saini & Pranjal Goswami
Jivjyot Singh – India 

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos X Web Rewrite to Angular 7
  • Mentor: Pranjal Goswami & Kelvin Okwome
Cajetan Rodrigues – India

 

 

 

 

  • Online Banking App 3.0
  • Mentor: Ankit Raj Ohja
 

Fineract & Mifos X Modules

Sidhant Gupta – 

 

 

 

 

  • GSMA Mobile Money Integration with Payment Hub
  • Mentor: Avik Ganguly & Manoj VM 

Dylan Robson – USA

 

 

 

 

 

  • Hardening 0f Mifos X and Apache Fineract
  • Mentor: Courage Angeh & Vishwas Babu
Apoorva M K – India

 

 

 

 

  • Computer Vision PPI
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna, Nayan Ambali, Rahul Goel
Anshul Singh – India

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos Chatbot 2.0
  • Mentor: Aleks Vidakovic & Raul. 
Supreeth S Karan 

 

 

 

 

  • Machine Learning Scorecard for Credit Risk Assessment
  • Mentor: Lalit Mohan
 

Apache Software Foundation GSOC Interns

Kang Brader – Cameroon 

 

 

 

 

  • Update Swagger API Docs
  • Mentor: Sanyam Goel
Ebenezer Graham – Mauritius

 

 

 

 

  • Remove Category X Dependencies 
  • Mentor: Isaac Kamga & Awasasum Yannick
   

Outreachy Interns

Kerlyn Manyi – Cameroon

 

 

 

  • Migrate Google Groups to Discourse
  • Mentor: Ruphine Kengne & Ed Cable
Massable Lydiane Kengne – Cameroon

 

 

 

 

  • Convert User Manual to Gitbooks Format
  • Mentor: Courage Angeh
   

 

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Mifos at OSCON 2019

The Mifos Initiative had the honor of being at OSCON hosting a booth in the non-profit pavilion of the Expo Hall for the ninth year this past month in Portland, OR. We also were able to continue telling our transformative story around Open Source Core Banking through a talk on the Business Summit given by Edward Cable, on Democratizing Financial Services and how Open Source Core Banking is enabling a multiplier effect. As we’ve done in the past, we like to share the firsthand experience of our Business Development intern at their first OSCON – read on below for a glimpse into Jackson Reed’s first time at OSCON. 

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Mifos and Mojaloop – an End to End Open Source Architecture for Digital Financial Services

I’m pleased to announce the ongoing collaboration between the Mifos Initiative and the Mojaloop community being funded by a strategic grant from DIAL (Digital Impact Alliance), and their Open Source Center. With the funding from DIAL, we’re embarking on the first step in our vision to create an end to end open source architecture for digital financial services, integrating Mifos and Mojaloop. Mojaloop provides the digital payment rails and Mifos provides the account management engine fueling innovation on top of them. Working with the team at DPC Consulting in Hungary, we have created a Mifos lab which provides a live environment for digital payment transactions to flow through a Mojaloop switch, initiated from accounts held at Digital Financial Service Providers (DFSPs) running Fineract and Fineract CN as their account management system. We had the honor and pleasure of joining the Mojaloop community and demoing this at the recent community convening in Arusha, Tanzania.

In Tanzania we could see the strong progress being made around the codebase and the growing force of the Mojaloop community. Post the convening, the tremendous momentum continued with a number of announcements centered around Mojaloop adoption across all segments of the financial services sector.  The Central Bank of the Republic of Tanzania announced the development of TIPS, the Tanzania Instant Payment System, of which they’ve chosen to adopt Mojaloop as the basis for their same-as-cash electronic payment system. WOCCU announced its digital financial inclusion strategy to reach 50 million-plus people across Asia centered around  a project to design interoperable, open-loop, low-cost, real-time payment platforms for its global network of credit unions across Asia, exploring the use of the Mojaloop open-source platform. Great progress is being made with the launch of Mowali, the mobile wallet interoperability initiative powered by Mojaloop, and led by Orange and MTN to enable interoperable payments across all of Africa. The DFS Lab Mojaloop Hackathon in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in mid-April is fast-approaching and will give fintech companies an opportunity to develop and test innovative use cases on Mojaloop. 

The Mifos Initiative looks forward to being an enabling factor in not only extending the functionality of Mojaloop and evangelizing the platform but most importantly enabling and accelerating adoption by providing a robust lab environment and a Mojaloop-ready open source toolkit of account management systems, mobile wallets and a payment hub to facilitate the smooth integration with the Mojaloop APIs. Our vision is to provide the account and wallet management capabilities for an institution that wants to connect to Mojaloop whether they’re a SACCO or MFI, a fintech company, a mobile wallet provider, or even a bank.

Thank you to DIAL for enabling this collaboration, the DPC team for their stellar work, the Gates Foundation for enabling our participation at the convening and the Mojaloop community and ModusBox team for all their support with the integration. 

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