PFIP partnerships have led to 610,810 clients receiving some form of financial service in Fiji, particularly mobile money products.
In 2015, PFIP and the Reserve Bank of Fiji (along with two other Pacific Island Countries) co-published a large scale demand-side survey, building a comprehensive picture of the country’s financially underserved segments, including women. The results were used as the main evidence base in developing Fiji’s second national financial inclusion strategic plan. A financial consultation was held in November 2016 to get agreement from stakeholders involved in its development.
In 2016, PFIP supported the Reserve Bank of Fiji in developing the country’s National Financial Inclusion Strategic Plan 2016-2020, based on clear global and regional mandates from Fiji’s Maya Declaration and MoneyPacific Goals commitments. The overall target of the five-year plan is for 85 percent of Fijian adults having formal financial services by 2020, of whom 50 percent are women
In 2015, the flagship Financial Education (FinEd) Programme with the Fiji Ministry of Education reached almost 200,000 students across Fiji through integration into the national curriculum. In 2015, PFIP supported the ongoing training of teachers, with 3,488 teachers across Fiji in delivering the curriculum.
With support from PFIP, microinsurance provider BIMA expanded its operations in the Pacific region in 2016 by establishing a call centre in Fiji as an operational hub which will offer microinsurance products (life and hospitalization insurance) to Digicel pre-paid customers in five additional Pacific markets, namely Fiji, Vanuatu, Nauru, Tonga and Samoa.
In July 2016, PFIP partnered with the Fiji National Provident Fund to pilot improved voluntary micro pension products targeting 140,000 Fijians without pension schemes who were either self-employed or working for wages. The aim of the project was to create appropriate, affordable and flexible micro pension product offerings which better meet the needs of the target group to provide adequate funds for their retirement. Due to changes in FNPF’s management, the project stalled and was closed after several attempts to revive it.
A significant portion of Fiji’s rural and maritime population remain under-banked. This represents an untapped market opportunity for banking in Fiji. In 2016, support from PFIP allowed HFC to integrate its banking system, enabling customers to transact using their HFC bank accounts with Vodafone’s M-PAiSA (mobile wallet). Agency Banking allowed customers to carry out transactions either via their mobile phones anywhere (and anytime) within Vodafone’s network, or through Vodafone point of service (POS) machines available in more than 1,000 outlets around Fiji through an extensive EPay agent network. This project was closed in 2018 and maybe renewed in 2019.
In 2017, PFIP partnered with the Fijian Government to undertake a revision of the Fiji Consumer Credit Act (1999) in line with global best practices, in order to better protect the interests of consumers in the face of an evolving consumer credit industry. The development of the new CCA is consistent with the objectives of Fiji’s new National Financial Inclusion Strategic Plan 2016 – 2020. A key objective of the Plan is to ensure all Fijians have sufficient financial competencies to better utilize the financial services available and foster improved consumer protection.
Also in 2017, PFIP partnered with Vodafone Fiji to revitalize its mobile wallet – MPAiSA. Through an innovation lab model, PFIP supported Vodafone through a grant and technical assistance to develop new financial services that would encourage Fijian to adopt and actively use MPAiSA. The Lab created an ecosystem of active agents and customers in select high activity zones then developed new user cases linked to utility payments and public transportation.
In Fiji, the insurance penetration rate stood at only 12% in 2015 which is mainly taken up by middle – higher income earners in formal employment. Most low-income households lacked any form of protection against adverse events that may befall them. Therefore, these vulnerable segments of the population were often neglected by the mainstream insurance industry given the perception that their risk characteristics are lower than those of the rest of the population i.e. life expectancy low, risk assessments unreliable and since they cannot afford standard premium rates, the income generated from this pool would be very low. After two years of lobbying with the insurance industry, in 2017, PFIP entered into a partnership with FijiCare Insurance Limited to launch the Pacific’s first bundled microinsurance product.
In October 2018, PFIP partnered with the University of the South Pacific, Vodafone Fiji Limited and various farmer cooperatives and representative bodies to launch a mobile phone app for farmers. The PacFarmer App will allow farmers in Fiji to not only access information on government support schemes, commodity prices and weather information, but other features, such as market linkages with potential buyers, digital payments, credit opportunities and other financial services. An exciting component of the app is that it will become a digital ledger for farmers to record their productivity and sales which in time could be used for credit rating when seeking loans from financial institutions. The App can also be used during times of disasters to push relevant weather information that could be critical in farmers to determine when to move their families and livestock to higher ground thus mitigating some of the impact and costs related to natural disasters.