UNCDF has been operating in Myanmar since 2012, promoting inclusive growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development.
UNCDF contributes to the development of the country through the work on the digitalization of microfinance institutions and interoperability of the financial sector. By increasing financial and digital capabilities, facilitating digital payments and developing a digital-ready workforce, UNCDF in Myanmar promotes economies and societies more inclusive and resilient to external shocks.
Women’s economic empowerment
UNCDF in Myanmar works to increase formal financial access in the country by developing and implementing innovative initiatives with a particular focus on women’s economic empowerment.
UNCDF contributes to building an inclusive financial ecosystem in Myanmar by:
- Improving access to finance for women through the creation of a business accelerator for women-led micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs)
- Increasing financial literacy
- Conducting research on women’s financial and economic empowerment
- Working with microfinance institutions (MFIs) on a gender-smart product design to help them better tailor loans to the needs of women-led MSMEs.
Digitalization of microfinance institutions
With the support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNCDF advances the digital transformation of Myanmar’s microfinance sector through enabling digital payments and building their capacities to implement digital strategies.
WynePay, the first interoperable platform in Myanmar, aims to provide affordable digital payment options to MFIs and mobile wallets with technical and grant support from UNCDF. Enabling different types of digital payments for low-income people, starting with electronic cash transfer initiatives, has the potential to address development and economic challenges of Myanmar.
A particular focus is on supporting the development of payment use cases for agriculture value chain participants, including women and smallholder farmers, who normally take credit from MFIs.
Market Development Facility
The Market Development Facility (MDF) initiative aims to strengthen and build up Myanmar’s MFI sector. In response to COVID-19, MDF has approved five small loans to five local MFIs to inject liquidity, expand loan sizes and build exposure to debt financing.
Expanding financial services in remote and conflict-affected areas
Under the Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT) funded Leaving No One Behind (LNB) Initiative, UNCDF in Myanmar supports the expansion of financial services to underserved and rural communities. UNCDF provides technical assistance for the transformation of MFIs from an ‘NGO’ to ‘company’ in compliance with the Myanmar Company Law (MCL). Through this project, UNCDF provides two reimbursable grants to two MFIs to increase formal microfinance services and strengthen food security and bolster household resilience in the marginalized rural communities