Australian Government, ANZ Bank, PFIP to Connect Solomon Islands’ Coconut Farmers to Mobile Banking

September 19, 2016

The Australian government; the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Bank, a publicly traded commercial bank; and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP), a Fiji-based initiative of the United Nations that attempts to extend financial services to unbanked Pacific Islanders, recently started a program with a budget of SBD 5 million (USD 650,000) to connect rural coconut oil producers, laborers, buyers and transport operators in the Solomon Islands with digital financial services. The Australian government contributed 60 percent of the project costs through PFIP, with the remainder funded by ANZ Bank.

ANZ will set up 60 processors that are part of Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands, the local division of Kokonut Pacific, an Australia-based producer of coconut oil, as agents for goMoney, a mobile banking service of ANZ. The bank also will create mobile banking accounts for 900 people.

Denton Rarawa, the Governor of the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands (CBSI), said, ”Leveraging the coconut value chain offers much promise for expanding banking to remote rural communities. This initiative by PFIP and ANZ Bank fits very well into the current National Financial Inclusion strategies and will accelerate achieving the objectives.”

As of 2015, ANZ reported total assets of AUD 890 billion (USD 683.6 billion), return on assets of 3.2 and return on equity of 14 percent. As of May 2015, PFIP has reached 687,620 people in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu since its inception in 2008.

By Kevin van den Brink Research Associate

About ANZ Bank

The ANZ Bank is an Australia-based publicly traded company that provides retail, commercial banking and wealth management services. It serves customers in Asia, Europe and the US. As of 2015, ANZ reported total assets of AUD 889.90 billion (USD 683.6 billion), return on assets of 3.2 and return on equity of 14 percent.

About Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP)

Based in Fiji, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is a United Nations initiative that was established in 2008. It funds microfinance institutions (MFIs) that deliver financial services to poor Pacific islanders who may have had limited or no access to banks. The mission of PFIP is to increase by 1 million the number of Pacific islanders who have ongoing access to affordable financial services and relevant education by 2019. As of May 2015, PFIP has reached 687,620 people in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Source: Microcapital Brief