To better understand the supply and demand of financial services in Myanmar, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) launched its Making Access Possible (MAP) diagnostic in 2013—an effort funded by the multi-donor Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) from Myanmar.
MAP is designed to bring together a broad range of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and is led by national authorities. The recently completed diagnostic provides an analysis of current financial-inclusion levels, usage, drivers and barriers. The research shows that 95 percent of the adult population earns less than $10 per day, indicating that the majority of the population represents potential clientele for microfinance services. High levels of poverty and a largely agricultural economy mean that financial inclusion will remain a challenge. Innovative means of delivering financial products and services, particularly to the poor, will be key to enhancing financial inclusion.
UNCDF is holding a major stakeholder meeting in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw on 22 and 23 May, when over 120 participants will be briefed on the research outcomes. The national roadmap on financial inclusion that will be the result of this process will support MLE grantees and other financial service providers to target underserved areas of the country with innovative products. MLE has awarded funding to three greenfield projects in Myanmar with the aim of reaching over 100,000 rural depositors in the country by mid-2017.
An additional component of MLE in Myanmar is to gain in-depth knowledge of the financial lives of the poor. This will be gained via research that entails clients learning to keep their own ‘financial diaries.’ The ‘diaries’ will be consolidated to improve the overall understanding of clients’ financial service needs, which will in turn inform the development of improved products and services.