Sakchyam, a DFID-funded Access to Finance Program, organised a lively interaction program at its new Chundevi office to bring together stakeholders in Nepal’s microfinance sector, to discuss potential areas for innovation in financial products and services for underserved populations. The event had a turnout of over 20 micro finance development banks, financial intermediary non-governmental institutions, apex organizations, and technological service providers.
Sakchyam Team Leader Baljit Vohra started off the event introducing Sakchyam’s work to the participants, before putting forward the numbers that Sakchyam is targeting to achieve: financial access to 8000 SMEs, an increase in investment in productive sectors by £54 million and access to a range of financial services for 400,000 people including in the Mid- and Far Western Regions.
Vohra also set the tone for succeeding sessions by putting a clear emphasis on the need for innovative financial products that bring change to traditional lending models and deploy technology to access new demographies through the intelligent use of digital platforms. “We do not want to finance the status quo. We want to work together to produce something that is ground breaking,” said Vohra.
Sakchyam’s Achyut Hari Aryal, Component Lead of Financial Inclusion, touched on successful innovative ideas from Kenya, South Africa and Madagascar to encourage participants to come up with similar innovations tailored to the local environment. Through animated group discussions, participants deliberated on innovative financial products on topics such as Alternate Delivery Channels, Management Information System (MIS) Development, Remittance-based Services and Wholesale Lending.On working together with Sakchyam, Dharma Raj Pandey, Chairman, Nepal Microfinance Bankers’ Association and CEO, Nepal Grameen Bikas Bank Ltd said, “By encouraging a holistic approach to banking with usage of technology and alternative delivery channels, Sakchyam and microfinance institutions can really improve livelihoods of the people of the Mid- and Far Western Regions. Our objectives are the same.”
The session concluded with commitment from stakeholders to work collaboratively develop a digital hub for sharing knowledge on financial innovation, a holistic approach to remittance-based financial services and an integrated platform for service delivery to the underserved. Sakchyam has announced 27 February as the deadline to receive concept notes on innovative proposals on the above mentioned topics.
The DFID Sakchyam Access to Finance program (formerly known as the AFP Program) is working with the public and private sectors to leverage access and facilitate financial sector development in Nepal for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and for poor people with initial emphasis on the Mid- and Far-Western Development Regions.