Postcards from the Hallways: Innovating for Inclusion

 
 

INNOVATING FOR INCLUSION

Less than a quarter of Myanmar’s 53 million people have access to formal financial services. The lack of a safe way to save or borrow money, transmit funds, and obtain insurance holds back development—especially in the rural areas, where most people live.

It’s a tough situation—one that requires innovative private sector solutions. As part of our larger response in the country, IFC and Awba, a local agribusiness client serving 3 million farmers, have together launched a new technology-driven microfinance institution called Maha MFI. Leveraging Awba’s nationwide reach and user data, Maha has created a sophisticated paperless credit-scoring system. It speeds up loan approvals for rural clients, many of whom now have smart phones and don’t necessarily need brick-and-mortar banks.

This digital finance solution makes a big difference to people like U Moe Aung, who grows rice and raises pigs in a village five hours from Yangon. Maha helped him get a quick loan to expand operations—taking full advantage of technology to leapfrog the traditional lack of banking infrastructure in his area..

 

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Read more: ifc.org/eastasia

Investing in Maha MFI was one of three IFC microfinance transactions in 2017 targeting the largely untapped rural market.

 

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