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- 2019 Climate Science & Investment Conference
- Are Americans Primarily Suffering from Income Inequality or Lack of Opportunity? Diagnosing the Problem and Proposing Solutions
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Rostom Bouazizi ’19CC, Anis Kallel, and Nebras Jemel
What is the social or environmental issue being addressed?
The low rate of financial inclusion is a significant problem in Tunisia and other emerging markets throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The Tunisian government has recognized this as a ceiling to the economic development of the country, and has prioritized rectifying it in recent years as evidenced by the establishment of the Observatory of Financial Inclusion in November 2017.
The World Bank characterizes financial exclusion as the lack of or infrequent access to (<1 operation per month) accounts providing financial services, including postal services, bank accounts, and microcredit. Using this classification, 64 percent of Tunisian adults are excluded or under-served. Overall, bank account penetration rates specifically in Tunisia are at only 36 percentof adults, 25 percent among women, and 14 percent among the poorest 20 percent of Tunisians.
Flouci, Kaoun’s first product, breaks barriers to financial inclusion by allowing users to open a bank account and have access to banking services remotely using their electronic Know Your Customer (KYC) process. This process requires customers to submit pictures of their Tunisian CIN (national ID card) from their phones, then record a brief video of themselves. Kaoun’s machine vision software verifies the authenticity of the CIN, runs facial recognition algorithms on the video and ID card, then submits a match confidence score to the back office for final approval from a bank staff member. Kaoun is the first in Tunisia to allow for legally recognized remote identification.
From there, customers can perform seamless mobile peer-to-peer (P2P), merchant, ecommerce, and bill payments. Kaoun processes interbank payments using blockchain, which allows them to ensure that all transactions are completed with bank-level security, conveniently, and in less than four seconds.
By documenting and formalizing basic transactions, Kaoun is also able to acquire the necessary data to create alternative credit scores, allowing even informally employed customers to prove credit-worthiness and avoid the need for exploitative loans.
Through Kaoun’s partnership with the National Agency of Electronic Certification (ANCE), Flouci also offers digital signatures to every user of the app, which can be used to sign legally binding documents.
- This Startup Boosts Financial Inclusion by Helping Tunisians Create Free Bank Accounts
July 29, 2019