Project aims to digitise rural financial services


A TWO-day workshop in Honiara, Solomon Islands, hopes to find ways to link rural-based savings groups with formal financial services.
The linkage will be through digital channels, according to workshop organisers Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).
The workshop has 30 participants from savings clubs to digital financial services providers and stakeholders.
PFIP acting manager Krishnan Narasimhan said the savings group model could be enhanced through a change onto a digital financial service platform.
“Savings group members require a compelling customer experience to shift to formal channels and transact on a regular basis,” Narasimhan said.
“Through the human-centred design approach that we are employing in this project, we hope to find the right combination of products, pricing, delivery channels and service design to address their needs in dealing with their finances and improve their daily financial lives.”
Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) deputy governor Gane Simbe said the bank was pleased to support the project.
He said the PFIP projects with savings clubs were necessary from the Solomon Islands context.
“We recognise the earlier work that PFIP had done in developing the savings club manual with best practices following extensive field studies and thereafter their support to institutions like World Vision, Live and Learn, Mothers’ Union, Ministry of Women and others in promoting savings clubs in the remote rural communities of the country, primarily targeting women,” Simbe said.
“Exploring linkage of savings clubs with formal financial services is indeed a good step forward and is in line with national financial inclusion strategies that CBSI is implementing.”
Simbe acknowledged the support of the Australian government in the initiative.

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