Executive Announcement – Ms. Rashmi Pillai

The Board and staff of FSD Uganda, with mixed feelings of sadness and gratitude, announce the exit of Ms. Rashmi Pillai as the Executive Director – FSD Uganda, effective 8th March 2022.

Rashmi joined FSD Uganda as the Director of Programmes in 2018 and was appointed to the role of Executive Director in 2019. Over the last four years, she has spearheaded FSD Uganda’s vision on systemic change for a more inclusive financial sector. A sector that proactively catered to the marginalized like women, youth, smallholder farmers, refugees, and small businesses.

Under her stewardship and strategic steer, FSD Uganda has grown to become the country’s leading ‘think and do tank’ on financial inclusion.

The organisation has nurtured strong partnerships with key government ministries and agencies, the private sector, development partners and industry associations to help shape the operating environment of the financial industry in the country. The alliances enabled us to inform policies, regulations and digitally driven and evidence-backed approaches that have led to the development of tailor-made products benefiting many more Ugandans. The forward-thinking approach for relevant studies like the Covid -19 Wave series, has informed government initiatives, such as the recovery programmes being implemented by the government of Uganda.

Over the last four years, the organisation has championed innovative ideas that continue to challenge the status quo to meet the needs of ‘risk groups’ and strengthen the digital space to improve efficiencies and increase the reach of financial services. Some notable innovations include the Shared Agent Banking Network, the Electronic Know Your customer project impacting 15 million bank accounts, refugee finance directly impacting 200,000 households, digitisation of SAGE elderly payments, among others.

Rashmi leaves at a time when she has championed the development of a bold new strategy, “FSD Uganda 2.0,” to support the development of a financial sector that will increase the take-home income of people and businesses and contribute to the real economy.

This new direction, flexibility of approach and strategic alignment led FSD Uganda to onboard new partners –  the Mastercard Foundation for a $25MN Recovery Fund targeting micro and small businesses , and the $3.25 MN European Union led technical assistance  Deal Flow Facility targeting non-bank financing into mature Ugandan businesses. Thus, contributing to the national development goals of economic transformation.

The outgoing Executive Director, Rashmi Pillai, said:

“I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to contribute to Uganda’s national financial inclusion goals for the past four years. As the FSD Uganda team, we made incredible strides. We have influenced policies that have changed the financial sector landscape, collaborated with partners to develop innovative products that have benefitted most Ugandans, and we have rightly earned our place as the thought leaders in the financial sector. The new alliances we have onboarded have enabled the team to be more agile, efficient, and purposeful in what they do. I thank our donors – the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Mastercard Foundation, and the European Union for believing in us.

I want to thank the FSD Uganda team for their unprecedented resilience, especially in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. We were tested, but we came out stronger. I’m confident that with the clear strategic direction we have put in place and a good team, the organisation is in a much stronger position and has a defined legacy that will thrive for years to come.”

The FSD Uganda Board Chair, Ms. Amani M’Bale said:

 “On behalf of the Board and our staff of FSD Uganda, I would like to thank Rashmi for her passion, commitment and contribution to the financial inclusion ecosystem in Uganda. Her stewardship has sustained our position as a leading and relevant organisation that has facilitated and triggered sustainable changes in the market. This will continue to drive growth and access to finance. Rashmi has steered FSD Uganda in a solid position for continued growth. We thank her for her contribution and leadership that has seen over 700,000 Ugandans get included in the Financial Sector through innovations, improvement of the business environment, progressive policies and regulations that will continue to impact Ugandans’ lives positively. We wish her success in her next assignment”.

Joseph Lutwama
Joseph Lutwama

In the interim, the Board has appointed Mr Joseph Lutwama, the current Director of Programmes, as the Ag. Executive Director. Joseph has a wealth of experience in the financial sector and has been part of the growth witnessed at FSD Uganda over the years.

We trust that you, our partners will provide him the usual support as we transition into new management.

If you have questions about the transition or the organisations do not hesitate to reach out to Joseph Lutwama on jlutwama@fsduganda.or.ug.

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