What is AFIIP?
The Arab Financial Inclusion Innovation Prize equips promising innovators with the funding and support they need to realise their potential to further financial inclusion in the Arab world. It rewards those who can increase access to financial services, reduce the costs of that access, and better serve end clients in the region.
Innovation is necessary to improve efficiency and competitiveness of the sector, in order to provide further access to financial services. The scope of the small and microfinance sectors has increased majorly to encompass insurance, transfers, savings and loans among other services. There is room for innovation to improve these offerings and create new products and services, and each level of the market-value chain can benefit from innovation, as can the relationship between these levels.
Through the prize and AFIIP network, we aim to create a synergy between financial inclusion and innovation to strengthen and diversify both sectors and harness the new and adaptive technologies defining our world.
Financial inclusion through SME finance has made great strides in the past 15 years, across the region and globally. In the Arab region nearly 3 million clients are currently served with an outstanding portfolio of $1.7 billon according to the latest studies. However, the Arab world still remains below global averages as a ratio of institutions to clients served and overall access to financial services. Progress must not stop.
After the success of the inaugural 2018 prize, AFIIP 2019 is expanding to increase its impact on financial inclusion in the Arab world. Winners of this year’s prize will receive a cash grant and technical post-prize support. AFIIP 2019 finalists will also be invited to the attend Sanabel, the largest microfinance conference in the region, to provide them with networking opportunities and to support the development of their innovation.
The 2019 Edition
After the success of the inaugural 2018 prize, AFIIP 2019 is expanding to increase its impact on financial inclusion in the Arab world. Winners of this year’s prize will receive a cash grant and technical post-prize support. Apply now
$50,000 Cash Prize
A cash prize will be awarded to the winners of AFIIP 2019. Read what the winners of the inaugural 2018 prize were able to do with the money they received in our newsroom here.
Technical Support and the chance for an extra $50,000
As well as AFIIP's offering of $50,000, AFIIP applicants also have the chance to participate in Village Capital's Finance Forward Bootcamp. Those selected will benefit from Village Capital’s award-winning curriculum, feedback from their peers, networking and one-on-one mentorship with potential customers, investors and industry experts. Two participating companies will also be eligible to receive up to $25,000 in capital.
Eligible proposals must be by Arabs for the Arab world. Residency in an Arab country is not required, but at least one member of the team must hold an Arab nationality. The proposed innovation must be for implementation in the Arab world, defined as the member countries of the Arab league.
Stage of Development
Innovative proposals at all stages of development are welcome. Applicants must be able to show that their innovation can be successfully applied to the sector. Microfinance and financial inclusion are defined in their broadest sense to encompass a wide range of fields, including but not limited to: credit, savings, insurance, payment services, Islamic finance, fund transfers, responsible investment, collective banking, and business development services of micro-enterprises.
We welcome applicants of many types to apply for the prize, including individuals, small businesses, MFIs, NGOs, students, cooperatives, commercial banks, local development banks, leasing firms, insurance companies, and fintech enterprises.
The Team - their backgrounds, capability and cohesiveness.
Innovation - proving that the proposal offers a new, creative solution to existing problems and make processes more efficient.
Impact on financial inclusion - based on AFIIP’s three core objectives to further financial inclusion: increasing outreach, reducing costs and better serving end-clients. A preference was given to innovations with a direct measurable impact on the end clients.
Marketability - demonstrating a significant probability of finding a market in the Arab world, an understanding of the existing market, and evidencing potential for scalability and growth.
Implementation - demonstrating how the proposal can be effectively implemented in the Arab world within a defined timeframe.
Quality of proposal and funding - providing a clear proposal with an outline of relevant funding and budget expectations.
2019 Applications now open.
The 2018 Edition.
After the success of the inaugural 2018 prize, AFIIP 2019 is expanding to increase its impact on financial inclusion in the Arab world. Winners of this year’s prize will receive a cash grant and technical post-prize support.
AFIIP 2018 Winners
The first prize of $30,000 went to IFIN Services, for their innovative approach to facilitating Islamic finance. By reducing transactional costs and operational delays, they have solved a key obstacle in the sector and demonstrated a clear executable plan going forwards. Read an interview with IFIN by our Outreach Partner FinDev Gateway here.
The second prize of $15,000 went to the Moroccan start-up, CIWA, for their development of a mobile app that provides a secured and comprehensive tool to create, organise and manage rotative savings and credit communities. Read an interview with CIWA by our Outreach Partner FinDev Gateway here.
The third prize of $10,000 went to the Lebanese micro-finance institution Al Majmoua, for their innovative use of geographical data and location services to reach new clients, increase efficiency, and improve client relations. Read an interview with Al Majmoua by our Outreach Partner FinDev Gateway here.