UNCDF has been operating in Myanmar since 2012, promoting inclusive growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development. Recognizing the value of technology, UNCDF’s focus is increasingly on supporting an inclusive digital economy that leaves no one behind.
Expanding Financial Access (EFA)
UNCDF Myanmar is currently implementing the Expanding Financial Access (EFA) country programme, aimed at increasing formal financial access in Myanmar by developing and implementing innovative initiatives. EFA seeks to improve financial service access and usage to achieve equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP). It includes initiatives such as Women’s Economic and Financial Inclusion (WEFIP), Market Development Facility (MDF), MFI Payment Integration Platform, Myanmar National Financial Inclusion Roadmap and Leaving No One Behind (LNB).
The Making Access Possible (MAP) Financial Inclusion Diagnostic and Myanmar Financial Inclusion Roadmap provide the foundation for our interventions, which contribute to a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this, UNCDF Myanmar works to strengthen the policy and regulatory environment and enhance the capacity of regulators and financial service providers (FSPs) to deliver high calibre financial services in accordance with international conventions.
The updated Myanmar Financial Inclusion Roadmap 2019 – 2023 was approved by the Government of Myanmar in March 2020 as the nation’s highest-level financial inclusion policy document, replacing the original Financial Inclusion Roadmap 2015 – 2020. As part of the five-year Roadmap strategy, UNCDF is closely working with government agencies and other relevant stakeholders to develop the National Strategy of Digital and Financial Literacy.
The MFI Payment Integration Platform is designed to support the digital transformation of Myanmar’s financial sector, with the microfinance sector in particular, through a common payment Level One aligned platform. The scope of initiative and its impact to beneficiaries is nation-wide.
Leaving No One Behind (LNB) is an initiative that starts in 2020 to support the expansion of financial services to underserved and rural Myanmar communities, and provide technical assistance for the transformation of MFIs in Myanmar to transition from an NGO to Company in compliance with the Myanmar Company Law (MCL).
The MDF initiative also continues to strengthen and build up Myanmar’s MFI sector. In light of the COVID 19 crisis, MDF has approved 5 small loans to five local MFIs to inject liquidity, expand loan sizes and build exposure to debt financing.
Under UNCDF Myanmar’s Women’s Economic and Financial Inclusion Program (WEFIP), the Innovation Challenge Fund, in partnership with UK AID, is adapted to expanding teaching digital and financial literacy solutions for rural women beneficiaries, or potential beneficiaries of electronic cash transfers (ECT) in conflict affected areas of Myanmar. WEFIP initiative addresses financial needs of women, promotes workforce diversity and enhances gender equality related to institutional policies and practices.
UNCDF is also working multilaterally with the Government of Myanmar and our partners to develop a COVID-19 Response Plan that is in line with the global UN Socio-Economic Framework and the Myanmar Economic Recovery and Reform Plan (MERRP).
Additionally, in partnership with UNDP and UN Women, UNCDF mobilized funding from the Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) to support accelerated COVID-19 recovery of women-led/owned SMEs in Myanmar and to build gender transformative and resilient enterprises at the end of 2020.
Through these initiatives, key outputs of EFA include:
• Strengthening the policy and regulatory environment, including enhancing the capacity of the regulators to implement the Financial Inclusion Roadmap
• Strengthening the capacity of targeted FSPs and cooperatives to deliver financial services accounting to global standards through tools and targeted technical assistance.
• Cultivating knowledge management and sharing to enable dynamic adaptation of the project over time, encourage relevant learnings and adaptation on local, regional and global levels on global financial inclusion agendas.
Click on the regions in the map below to download information about their state of financial inclusion (2018):