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First things first: digital solutions need fundamentals in place to succeed

When Indian micro-lender Annapurna Finance had to shut down face-to-face operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its first thought was to create an app which would enable its 1.9 million customers to access support, make payments, and take out new loans online.

But there was a problem. The microfinance institution (MFI) soon realised that only ten percent of its customers had a smartphone. The rest – mostly women – were still using old-fashioned 2G mobiles....

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