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.
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 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.
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 also worked 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).
UNCDF also engages in Myanmar through its BRIDGE Facility--our on-balance sheet, blended finance vehicle designed to capitalize SMEs, financial service providers and local transformative projects with commercial and development potential. As of 2020, nearly 30% of the BRIDGE Facility investment portfolio has been invested in Myanmar-based projects.
Through the Migration and Remittances programme, UNCDF published a "Country Monitor" on Migration and Remittance in the country. This includes an overview of the remittances sector in the country, a breakdown of the top remittance sending economies, an overview of the digital financial services sector, and a robust assessment of the migrants and remittance ecosystem that includes policy recommendations.