UNCDF has been operating in Myanmar since 2012 with a capital mandate to expand savings-led financial inclusion and use localised investments to drive poverty reduction and sustainable development.
The Making Access Possible (MAP) Financial Inclusion Diagnostic and Financial Inclusion Roadmap Myanmar provide the foundation for our in-country programmes and interventions, which contribute to a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The financial inclusion diagnostic, Making Access Possible (MAP), was updated in November 2018. It is expected that the diagnostic held in 2018, together with the second comprehensive nationally representative demand-side survey for the financial sector, will lead to the new Financial Inclusion Roadmap in 2019.
Expanding Financial Access (EFA)
UNCDF Myanmar is currently implementing Expanding Financial Access (EFA), a country programme aimed at increasing formal inclusion in Myanmar from 30% to 40% by 2020. The programme will provide a full range of affordable, quality, effective and responsible financial services to MSME, small-scale farmers, women-led enterprises, youth, poor and low-income clients by encouraging stakeholders to work together in an integrated manner.
A core component of EFA is the Market Development Facility which seeks to address systemic market failures in a number of thematic areas through targeted funding solutions. It functions as a catalytic wholesale financial agent able to take-on risk and leverage outside sources of capital to boost funding to undercapitalised MFIs operating in Myanmar. Digital Financial Services and Women's Economic Empowerment are also critical cross-cutting themes and form the basis for a number of UNCDF Myanmar interventions, and the CleanStart programme provides funding to institutions working in renewables and clean energy. EFA also works in partnership with the innovative regional Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) funding facility which aims to accelerate financial inclusion across the ASEAN region.
A new project was initiated under the EFA programme was WEFIP: Women's Economic and Financial Inclusion Project. The objective of the project is to increase 200,000 women and girls' awareness of, access to, and use of agency over appropriate financial products and services responsibly provided by diverse and sustainable financial services providers in a well-regulated environment with a focus on conflict-affected areas of Myanmar.
MicroLead Expansion Myanmar
MicroLead Expansion Myanmar 2014-2017 is a 7 million dollar programme bringing leading financial service providers to Myanmar where they become market leaders, crowd-in additional investment and positively influence the development of the microfinance and cooperative sectors. In Myanmar, UNCDF established partnerships with three institutions: two microfinance institutions (ASA & Alliance) and one association of credit cooperatives (ACCU), providing them with performance-based grant financing to build greenfield operations.
As of June 2017, the project has exceeded its outreach target by nearly 100% and is reaching more than 200,000 clients, the majority of whom are women in rural areas. MicroLead also contains a dimension in which case studies and financial diaries research were conducted to further understand the financial behavior of low-income earners, and released as public goods accessible from our Knowledge Management Platform.