Banking in Rural Tanzanian Villages: Now There’s an App for That


Two billion people in the world don’t have a bank account. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use money similarly to people who do. Wes Wasson, founder of financial tech startup DreamStart Labs, witnessed firsthand the relative sophistication of informal financial networks while he was working in microfinance in West Africa. With no commercial banks in many rural villages, women create their own, called village savings and loan associations. They pool their savings, appoint treasurers, hold community meetings, and issue small loans to each other. One woman’s successful repayment of that money benefits the entire group.