Advans CI is a Gold Award Winner for Responsible Digital Innovation at the SME Finance Forum

Advans is pleased to announce that Advans Cote d’Ivoire has been awarded the Gold Award for being Responsible Digital Innovator of the Year at the SME Finance Forum which took place from the 5-7 November in Madrid.

The award was given to Advans CI for its development of a digital banking service to enable cocoa cooperatives to pay their cocoa farmers through digital transfers. The mobile banking solution uses USSD technology[1] enabling clients to transfer money on a bank account using a mobile phone with a sim card, in partnership with local operator MTN. With this solution Advans can reach out cost-effectively to a large number of cooperatives and cocoa farmers. These populations have historically been financially excluded due to the remoteness of cocoa zones, high level of risk and lack of banking infrastructures. In 2017 64 cooperatives were using the Advans digital payment service and 188 cooperatives had at least one farmer with a digital savings account from Advans, with 14,400 farmers in total subscribed to the service.

Thanks to the digital solution cooperatives are able to pay their farmers digitally, reducing the amount of cash they have to keep, and therefore the risk of robbery, and improving the traceability of their payments. On their side, farmers have access to their savings account, can transfer money onto their mobile wallets to withdraw cash with an agent and have access to small loans for school fees.  Cooperatives and farmers are accompanied in using the service by a team of financial inclusion agents. This helps both cooperatives and farmers to have better money management skills and build their financial stability.

Gael Briot, CEO of Advans Cote d’Ivoire said: “We are very honoured to have been given this award. Cocoa cooperatives and their farmers have been a key target from Advans CI from the start and we believe that the digital solution we have developed will help us to carry on promoting the financial inclusion of underserved populations in an efficient manner. In the future, we hope to continue to improve the solution implemented.”

Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum “I would like to congratulate all the winners of the inaugural Global SME Finance Awards. These awards celebrate the best in class financial institutions and fintechs that have achieved remarkable results in their SME product or service offerings. Our winners are diverse, but they all share a strong commitment to helping small businesses in their markets with their dedication and innovative practices. The winners are an inspiration to us and their peers.”

See the announcement

[1] (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)