Financial Inclusion for Refugees
Focus Groups: All
Tools of Impact: Technical Assistance, Catalytic Grant
Achievements: 14,051 refugees have received digital payments, 50% of who are women.
Synopsis: The FI4R project, co-funded by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa – in collaboration with BFA Global – includes a ground-breaking study that will track the financial lives of refugees in Uganda for 12 months. This study is informing the development of financial products and services offered to refugees and their host communities by three implementing partners – Rural Finance Initiative, VisionFund Uganda and Equity Bank Uganda Ltd. – as well as other market actors.
The implementing partners have been provided with funding and technical assistance to launch innovative projects which will create efficiency in humanitarian payments and provide relevant formal financial services to refugee settlements in the West Nile region and Isingiro District. These market-led interventions are expected to enable better integration, strengthen the resilience of households by stimulating economic activity and increase take-home incomes.
There is a need to ensure that the infrastructure driving cash transfers is transparent, eases operational processes including verification and confirmation of receipt, protects these vulnerable groups provides relevant value propositions to the entire settlement community. Equity Bank is leveraging its regional experience working with humanitarian agencies to provide fully-fledged bank accounts where displaced persons can access their humanitarian aid payments. To improve reach, the bank has extended its existing agent banking network in refugee settlements. The network will also be used to provide to formal credit services to businesses operating in these settlements to stimulate economic activity. FSDU and FSDA are also supporting Equity Bank to onboard and design and deliver financial literacy training to agents and refugee beneficiaries.