In 2016, PFIP supported the Bank of PNG and Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion in developing the country’s National Financial Inclusion Strategic Plan 2016-2020, launched in December 2016. The overall target of the four-year plan is to reach 2 million more unbanked low-income Papua New Guineans, 50% of whom are women with a wide range of financial services that includes savings, loans, remittance servicers and insurance, by 2020.
Through PFIP’s support, BIMA is providing life and health insurance to over 500,000 Papua New Guineans by 2016, of whom the majority are receiving the economic safety net of insurance cover for the first time. BIMA provides convenient, affordable life and hospitalisation insurance cover via a mobile platform to low-income, financially underserved Papua New Guineans. PFIPs investment grant helped BIMA expand outreach in the underdeveloped Highlands region, through reducing delivery costs, while improving customer service.
PFIP is partnering with microfinance institution MiBank on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ (PAYG) solar energy kit loan pilot.This product is innovative to the PNG market, where 82% of the population are still ‘off-grid’. Households will pay off loans after 2 years, after which they will own the solar kit and receive free electricity. Besides enabling them to access electricity in a convenient, cost effective-way, the project has the potential to introduce 100,000 unbanked Papua New Guineans into the formal financial sector, boost financial literacy and give them opportunities to access additional financial products.
PFIP is working with the PNG government and Bank of PNG to develop a pilot for Financial Education (FinEd) integration into technical and vocational college curriculums. PFIP is testing a new model, working specifically with technical and vocational training institutions to produce labor market-ready graduates who are better equipped to deal with financial decision-making.
In 2015, a significant milestone was achieved with PFIP assisting the Papua New Guinea government in joining the Better than Cash Alliance in 2015, making it the first Pacific Island Country to do so. This shows the government’s commitment to leveraging digital financial services to increase security, transparency and convenience, while reducing cost for its citizens. Through this action the government will be committing itself to eventually providing all its payments through electronic channels.