|Overview : |
UNCDF launched its Digital Finance interventions in Nepal in 2013 and focused on creating an inclusive environment for inception and scale up of digital financial services. UNCDF has been supporting the digital financial service providers, banks and other stakeholders in the country to develop the eco-system.
In 2017, Nepal Rastra Bank issued the Payment Service Provider (PSP) license to the first set of non-bank companies. This led to a growing number of registered customers using mobile wallets for a range of payment services. UNCDF worked with its partners IME Digital and Prabhu Pay to implement and scale last mile adoption of digital financial services.
Considering Nepal is an agro based economy with more than 60% of population engaged in agriculture, UNCDF with its partners Prabhu Management, SunFarmer and Swift/IME Digital devel-oped use cases around dairy value chain digitization, Pay-as-you-go for solar irrigation pumps, farm operations digitization and digital credit market place. These pilots provided in-depth learning on linking digital with agriculture to drive adoption of digital services at the last mile. In 2018, Nepal Rasta Bank launched the Nepal Financial Inclusion Portal with technical support from UNCDF. NFIP is a data reporting and management tool that allows NRB to map level of financial inclusion in the country.
UNCDF’s support in introducing innovative models to bring process efficiencies and access to finance in the sector have aided in driving adoption of digital financial services by smallholder farmers. In just the agriculture sector, more than 150,000 smallholder farmers now have access to digital wallets, whereas the combined impact of UNCDF’s interventions in Nepal have resulted in the registration of 700,000 digital wallet customers nationwide, of which approximately 30% are women customers.
UNCDF also implemented a agritech challenge in 2019 where two winners were selected. This year also Nepal is part of the larger South-South innovation platform and will conduct a innovation challenge for agritech start-ups. The challenge will be implemented on a virtual platform and would have components of marketing and communications, mentorship, managing south- south interaction etc.
UNCDF plans to hire services of a consulting firm to support in challenge implementation, mentoring and communications in Nepal and also drive knowledge management between Nepali agritech and other markets.