UNCDF boosts access to finance: Women’s MicroBank in Papua New Guinea receives a loan

October 21, 2019

© 2019 UNCDF John Rae

Port Moresby – Women’s MicroBank Limited (WMBL) has received a loan of PGK 830,000 (approximately US$ 244,024) from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The loan was officially granted to the General Manager of WMBL, Mr. Gunanidhi Das on Friday 11 October by the United Nation’s Resident Coordinator (UNRCO), Mr. Gianluca Rampolla.

In Papua New Guinea, nearly 80% of the adult population are working in the informal sector and most of whom are women. Despite its immense contribution to the economy, the sector is still facing a big challenge when it comes to access to credit.

In 2018, UNCDF, through its Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP) provided a grant and technical assistance to support WMBL with the implementation of a biometric enabled system which makes it possible for rural women to access basic financial services using their fingerprints. The women can transact by visiting any of WMBL’s Mama Bank Access Points (MAPs) closer to their home and workplace. 

The MAPs are kiosk-type structures established at safe locations in marketplaces, manned by two WMBL staffs. Each MAP is equipped with tablet-based biometric technology that allows customers to perform basic transactions, such as savings, deposits, withdrawals and checking their balance conveniently, literally at the touch of their fingertips. 

The loan to the Women’s MicroBank Limited is the first of its kind for UNCDF in PNG and will be used for on-lending to women entrepreneurs through WMBL’s Mama Bank Access Points. A move that will see more women in the informal sector have access to credit.

As the only agency within the UN system with the mandate to provide blended finance solutions, including loans and guarantees, it aims to be catalytic frontrunner in a market, by absorbing more risks than other market players are willing to take.

In his statement, Mr. Rampolla said UNCDF and the PFIP will continue to support Financial Inclusion and Women Economic Empowerment in PNG. “Women are the bread winners of many families in PNG and so economically empowering them means providing for entire families”, he said. Mr. Rampolla urged WMBL to continue in her good work in reaching out to women in PNG with tailor made banking products and services.

Mr. Das, thanked PFIP and UNCDF for their support and said it will go a long way to expand the operations of WMBL and support the informal sector of PNG. “The timing of this facility is right considering there has been much discussion by various stakeholders on support for the informal sector in recent time. Women will continue to be the focus of WMBL to help bridge the gender gap in access to finance”.   

About WMBL

Women’s Micro Bank Limited (WMBL) is a licensed Micro-Bank regulated by Bank of PNG. WMBL formerly known as PNG Women in Business Microfinance Institute limited established in 2010. The Bank received its banking business license from Bank of PNG in May 2014. The bank is the 5th women only focused deposit taking licensed micro bank in the world and more importantly the first women’s micro bank in PNG and the Pacific region.

For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Naomi De Groot– Knowledge Management Specialist                                                       

Phone: +679 3227538,

Email: naomi.de.groot@uncdf.org                                 

Website: http://www.pfip.org