In partnership with the Bank of the Lao PDR, the UNCDF MAFIPP and MM4P programmes have worked since 2013 to develop digital finance from scratch. UNCDF invested heavily in research, exchanges and workshops to build awareness in digital finance, and helping with the strategy and product design for many stakeholders.
UNCDF supported the full development and implementation of the regulatory framework to enable digital finance, including mobile money and agent banking, and has assisted in the licensing process. UNCDF supported the first digital finance project launched in late 2015, BCOME, and is working with several other banks and two mobile network operators, which are in the process of getting licensed, to pilot and launch digital wallets. Growth has remained slow but the number of applicants for licenses is growing, indicating the interest from new providers entering the market. The introduction of a new National Payment System Law in early 2018 is expected to open new opportunities for non-banks and offer regulatory clarity to new entrants.
MM4P is generously supported by DFAT for its work in Lao PDR.