Digital Financial Services Workshops

May 4, 2015

HONIARA, Solomon Islands, 4 May 2015— The Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP) in partnership with the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) has conducted a series of Digital Financial services (DFS) workshops in Honiara, Solomon Islands during the week from 27th April to 1st May 2015.

These workshops were an immediate outcome of the DFS assessment study completed by PFIP with technical assistance provided by Enclude Solutions. 

The findings from the study were presented to a cross section of stakeholders on Monday 27th April 2015 with nearly 40 participants from the commercial banks, private sector, MNOs, insurance companies, third party service providers, government, members of the National Financial Inclusion Task force etc.

The Governor and Deputy Governor of the CBSI were present during the presentations and provided relevant information and updates from the regulatory perspectives. The presentation highlighted the gaps and challenges that the DFS market faces in the Solomon Islands while listing out the suggested interventions covering areas such as policy & regulatory, service providers, infrastructure, customers, business case and agency networks.

The presentation was very well received and industry stakeholders were highly appreciative of PFIP’s efforts in conducting the study and bringing out the various aspects to be considered by stakeholders for moving the DFS market in the country forward. 

One of the key findings in the study was the need to build strong bank agency networks, so that the roll out of mobile and branchless banking, that form the core of DFS in the country is strengthened. Therefore PFIP, using the services of Nitin Garg, DFS specialist from Enclude Solutions and Krishnan Narasimhan, Financial Inclusion Specialist based in Solomon Islands, facilitated training workshops for bank officers dealing with agency network management and also for mobile and branchless banking agents.

This initiative was meant to provide deep insights into agency management to bank officers and bank agents and get them to develop appropriate network management strategies suited to their organizations. Participants were exposed to international best practices in agency banking and were provided hands on experience of working on developing country level interventions. The training also included field visits to select bank agency outlets to conduct spot assessments using a special guide developed by the consultant.

The training is expected to build the capacity of the bank officers by improving their knowledge of agency management concepts including liquidity and cash managment, record keeping, marketing and branding, customer acquisition and support services. With the Solomon Islands DFS market still in its start-up stage, this training intervention is expected to improve bank agency management, thereby enabling further expansion of digital financial services. 

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PFIP aims to add one million Pacific Islanders to the formal financial sector by 2019 by spearheading policy and regulatory initiatives, facilitating access to appropriate financial services and delivery channels and by strengthening financial competencies and consumer empowerment.

PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping low-income households gain access to quality and affordable financial services and financial education. It is jointly managed by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government. 

PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. It will open an office in Samoa in early 2015.

For more information or media inquiries please contact:
In Honiara: Krishnan Narasimhan; Tel: +677-7786177; krishnan.narasimhan@uncdf.org;

In Suva: Shadiyana Begum; Tel: +679 3227538; shadiyana.begum@undp.org
website: http://www.pfip.org/