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Creating change at scale through public–private partnerships

Mexico’s innovative financial-inclusion partnership helped the country’s most remote rural poor gain access to government benefits and financial services.

Partnerships between public, private, and social sector institutions can help create beneficial social change on a large scale. The Diconsa financial services partnership in Mexico is an example of a country-level public–private partnership (PPP) that is achieving scale. Diconsa is a government-run distribution network that supplies basic goods to more than 22,000 private community-owned stores in rural Mexico. In 2008, it joined with another government agency, a public sector bank, a private technology provider, and the Diconsa-supplied network of private, community-owned stores to form a new partnership whose mission is to distribute government benefits and provide financial services in the poorest, most remote regions. In little over a year, the Diconsa financial services partnership grew from an idea into a well-functioning collaboration that serves approximately 175,000 people. The partnership will soon be able to offer a breadth of financial services and much easier access to benefits to between 2.5 and 4.0 million households.

The purpose of this paper is to share the story of the Diconsa partnership and identify the lessons that have implications for other PPPs, and especially those focused on delivering services in a national context. While focusing primarily on the Diconsa partnership, this report also incorporates brief examples and lessons from other leading public–private partnerships, drawing on both interviews and secondary literature.

Download the full report on which this article is based, Creating change at scale through public–private partnerships (PDF–2.1MB).

McKinsey & Company would like to thank the institutions that are featured significantly in this report: Bansefi, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Diconsa, and Oportunidades. We are grateful for their time and thoughtfulness in supporting the writing of this paper.

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