Pacific-ASEAN Financial Innovation Challenge

UNCDF Financial Innovation Labin partnership with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme, presents the Pacific-ASEAN Financial Innovation Challenge.

Pacific-ASEAN Financial Innovation Challenge is jointly organized by UNCDF Financial Innovation Lab Malaysia and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme. The Financial Innovation Lab and PFIP are two UNCDF programmes focusing on ASEAN and Pacific markets respectively.

The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is working with financial services providers to create better, cheaper and safer financial services. However, this depends on the availability of suitable fintech innovations. The local fintech community is nascent at best and this often restricts our partners’ ability to deliver cutting-edge solutions to customers.

The Pacific- ASEAN Financial Innovation Challenge provides a platform for not only Pacific innovators, but also innovators from Malaysia and Singapore, to develop their ideas into practical solutions for UNCDF, PFIP, and their implementing partners. The challenge also provides an opportunity to connect innovators from ASEAN and Pacific countries thereby creating a network of digital innovators in both regions.

The participating innovators will work closely with UNCDF, PFIP, and implementing partners in the Pacific to design, modify and test their solutions to address the specific use-cases put forward by the Challenge.

UNCDF PFIP will offer financial and technical assistance to promising innovations to customize, test, and scale their solutions with identified implementing partners. Additionally, we will also offer a tailor-made accelerator program, for up to six months, to fill the market knowledge gaps and help you leverage the global knowledge network of UNCDF and its partners.

Refer to Information Booklet for more information on the project implementation and related term

About the Challenges and Implementing Partners

Challenge 1 – Vodafone Fiji:
Platform for e-commerce Merchants

Vodafone Fiji with its M-PAiSA platform and networking capacity has the ambition to be positioned as the leading service provider and to play the role of a facilitator of e-commerce in the Pacific, and to connect and integrate the various e-commerce stakeholders, with a focus on merchants, content providers and financial service providers. It is looking to offer a platform-based service to connect and integrate various e-commerce stakeholders, with a focus on e-commerce merchants and financial service providers. Vodafone Fiji is looking for financial and technology solutions that enable it to implement is vision and business strategy.

Find out more about Fiji, Vodafone Fiji and Challenge 1 with PFIP

Challenge 2 – National Bank of Vanuatu:
Efficient access to finance for MSMEs

The National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV) has an existing substantial rural micro-finance portfolio, but it has the ambition to expand it by improving access to finance facilities for MSMEs across the country. It is looking for solution providers that can offer innovative digital and financial solutions that leverage its existing systems and digitization projects for NBV to offer MSME financing facilities more efficiently.

The bank, in particular, is looking for solution that can reduce the average loan application-to-disbursement time for MSMEs through implementation of an automation system for digital loan origination and processing. Other innovative solutions are welcomed.

Find out more about Vanuatu, NBV and Challenge 2 with PFIP

Challenge 3 – FijiCare in Fiji:
Affordable insurance for people with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

Fiji has a high incident of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and respiratory disease. The enormous social and economic consequences of NCDs are being recognized and the need to tackle this growing crisis in the Pacific is becoming ever more urgent. This crisis is driven by poor lifestyle behaviours, primarily related to insufficient physical activity and a poor diet (e.g. high-sugar/salt food and drinks, alcohol, smoking etc.). A direct impact of this crisis is that to cover the increased risks in their medical and life insurance portfolio, insurance providers like FijiCare have to increase their premiums and as a consequence these insurance products become ever more unaffordable for lower-income people.

FijiCare is looking for solution providers that can offer innovative digital solutions that can support them to promote healthier lifestyle behaviours in order to reduce the negative impact of NCDs and improve the wellness of their clientele. FijiCare is keen on experimenting with new business models such as using IoT, mobile Apps, and insurance-linked customer awareness.

Find out more about Fiji, FijiCare and Challenge 3 with PFIP

Challenge 4 – KINA Bank in Papua New Guinea:
Laying the foundation for platform banking in the Pacific

KINA is looking to transform itself from a relatively small Papua New Guinean challenger bank to becoming a leader in digital financial services in a rapidly developing PNG market, wherein e-commerce and associated financial services will play an ever-growing role. The Bank is investing in modern IT infrastructure to support new-age digital banking services, such as e-payments and third party fintech solutions.  

KINA bank is keen to partner with a Fintech that can provide a digital solution to lay the foundation for a digital strategy based on an open banking model in driving bank’s digital banking ecosystem.

Find out more about Papua New Guinea, Kina Bank and Challenge 4 with PFIP

Frequently Asked Questions

We are looking for practical solutions that address the specific challenges described by our implementing partners. The intention is to drive meaningful partnerships to have innovative solutions tests and scaled such that there a positive impact on end users’ lives. We will consider both front-end back-end solutions as long as they offer a compelling value to our implementing partners.

No, the solution could be financial, non-financial, or technological. It does not need to come from a fintech — for example, an app triggering a behaviour change, but with a clear business idea.As long as you believe, your solution can offer a compelling value to the implementing partners in achieving their business goals; we encourage you to submit your application.

We are looking for solutions that are either already in the market (new or mature), or are in a quick-to-deploy stage.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and to provide feedback for future product development. This means there should be something tangible to be presented (whether physical or virtual) and not merely just an idea on paper.

Yes, we would consider applications submitted in partnership. We expect clear goals in this partnership and division of roles.

Applicants must be registered entities in Malaysia, Singapore, or the Pacific (including Australia,New Zealand, and UNDP served South Pacific islands – Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia,Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands,Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu)

UNCDF PFIP is working with several financial institutions in the Pacific. For this challenge, we have selected four partners who have a clearly defined business challenge, understand the implications of Fintech solutions, and have the institutional capacity to allocate resources.They will provide the opportunity to develop and test solutions to address problems that are specific to their organisation and will offer their customers for joint scaling efforts.

You can start customisation and test-deployment right after the Bootcamp in May. Allowing for the contractual and logical processes, we expect to have you in the Pacific as early as June 2018.

One applicant, under the same registration, may submit more than one solution addressing multiple challenges.

If you wish to address two or more challenges, click the (+) sign next to the respective challenge, in the registration form below. Example: if you choose to address two challenges, you will receive two submission forms. You will have to complete and submit both.

Please note, each solution must be suitable to the chosen challenge. Kindly carefully read the challenge descriptions before deciding to select multiple challenges.

The award money and/or the seed capital usage will be governed by the performance-based agreement signed between all parties. The money can only be used towards the intended project-related activities as mutually agreed.

The seed capital provided here will be in a form for a performance-based grant. You are expected to use the money to improve the solution and deploy for scale. We will connect you with UNCDF’s network of investors for equity or loan offers.

We will facilitate the exchange of information related to these topics. To needing incumbents, we will provide administrative support such as invitation letters and connecting with the right government departments. However, obtaining necessary approval including visas will be your responsibility.

The award money may be used towards covering such costs. However, any cost related to solution development, such as software and hardware, that is beyond the limit of the award money, will need to be borne by the participating solution providers. Similarly, the costs related to system changes at the FSP side will need to be borne by the implementing partner.

For further queries and application related troubleshooting, please write to Amit Kumar at

APPLY NOW by clicking on the REGISTER button below

If you wish to address two or more challenges, click the (+) sign next to the respective challenge, in the registration form below. Note – if you choose to address two challenges, you will receive two submission forms. You will have to complete and submit both. Kindly carefully read the challenge descriptions before deciding to select multiple challenges.

You may download the entire set of application questions and the scoring matrix in a PDF file HERE for offline reference.

Contact for more information.