Officials of UKaid funded Sakchyam holding a meeting with beneficiaries. (Photo: Sakchyam)
KATHMANDU: The seven year UKaid funded Sakchyam Access to Finance for the Poor Program has wrapped up with some defining results in some areas including market-based financial innovations, inclusion and digital transformation in Nepal.
The project served 108,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises in rural Nepal — delivering socio-economic benefits on a commercially sustainable basis.
The 26 million pound program focused Sudurpashchim, Karnali and Lumbini Provinces in areas of weather index-based insurance, credit scoring tool, invoice discounting, warehouse receipt financing, loan management system, tablet banking and branchless banking, and digitized payment mechanisms.
The information came at the virtual closeout event organized to commemorate its key results with leaders from Nepal’s public, private, and development sectors including Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Maha Prasad Adhikari, British Ambassador to Nepal, Nicola Pollitt, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Finance Dhani Ram Sharma and other stakeholders.
“The project was a trusted partner for the government and private sector to drive some transformational change in the delivery of financial services to the most geographically- and economically-challenged communities in Nepal,” said Governor Adhikari. He recalled witnessing first-hand the value and impacts of the program in filling financial access gaps, increasing private sector investments, and contributing to poverty reduction and fiscal governance post Federalism.
British Ambassador Pollitt said the path to Nepal’s development was through empowering its rural populations and marginalized communities — its women and its youth whose aspirations were embodied by Sakchyam. “Financial market infrastructures were improved and jobs were created, leaving behind real, transformative impacts for the people and institutions,” she said.
US-based WSP Company implemented this UKaid funded program in partnership with national and international organizations. Senior Vice President of WSP, Baljit Vohra said £14 million was used to co-invest 81 diverse partnerships under Sakchyam Challenge Fund for accelerated expansion of innovative financial products, livelihood-creating services, and modernization of financial infrastructures.
Similarly team leader of the Sakchyam, Nirmal Dahal said Sakchyam’s support to banks and other financial institutions was crucial to facilitating the opening of 53 branches to provide banking services in Karnali and Sudurpashchim provinces.