Tuesday, November 24, 2009

IFC helps Nepal plan expanding financial services

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping microfinance institutions and banks in Nepal discuss strategies for expanding financial access by mobilizing deposits and using banking technologies such as payment cards, mobile phones, and retail agents. Microfinance institutions, banks, payment providers, regulators, and development partners from Nepal along with institutions from Bangladesh and India participated in the discussions at a workshop hosted by IFC at the request of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).
Senior executives from Nepal Rastra Bank, Nirdhan Bank, Everest Bank, Bangladesh’s BRAC Bank, and Indian firms BASIX and FINO, were among those participating in the workshop on Expanding Access to Finance in Nepal: The Opportunity of Deposits and Banking Technologies. The conference was organized by SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, managed by IFC in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. Participants shared experiences, best practices, and innovations in other developing and emerging economies to explore opportunities for deposit mobilization and use of innovative technology in Nepal.
Bijaya Nath Bhattarai, governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), said, “By engaging in a dialogue involving all the stakeholders, the workshop provides an opportunity to exchange ideas and determine how financial services can be extended beyond the current coverage of 30 percent of Nepal’s population. “
Microfinance institutions and banks discussed technologies that can transform and expand financial services. They also outlined the needed business models and regulatory framework required and shared experiences in Nepal and the South Asia region.
Speaking at the workshop, Anil Sinha, IFC General Manager for Advisory Services in South Asia, said: "The workshop provides a platform for microfinance institutions and banks to make financial services accessible to underserved people in Nepal, particularly those in rural areas who lack access to banks.”
By working closely with microfinance institutions, banks, and payment providers across South Asia, IFC assists in strengthening financial institutions and supporting appropriate regulatory frameworks.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by supporting institutions to extend financial services to underserved communities in Nepal.
To learn more about IFC’s activities in South Asia, visit www.ifc.org/southasia.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis.

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