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Media »Fintech Challenge Myanmar to Catalyze Financial Inclusion

May 22, 2019


Yangon, Myanmar: The DaNa Facility, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Asian Development Bank’s ADBVentures announced the launch of Fintech Challenge Myanmar. The new technology innovation programme is designed to spur innovation in financial services to promote greater financial inclusion. It will receive financial support from UK aid and the Australian Government, and has been developed in close cooperation with the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) and the Financial Regulatory Department (FRD) of the Ministry of Planning and Finance. It is anticipated that the CBM and FRD will sign on as “Impact Partners” to promote the initiative.


Fintech Challenge Myanmar is part of a regional, ADB-led initiative called Fintech Lab Mekong.  Similar challenge programs are being organized in parallel to the Fintech Challenge Myanmar, including in Vietnam and Cambodia.


Myanmar’s financial sector has grown substantially in recent years, but financial institutions still find it challenging to provide financial services to large customer segments including micro and small enterprises, rural dwellers and farmers, as well as low-income people living in urban areas.  The recent worldwide explosion of financial technology (fintech), including in Myanmar, promises to fill this gap. The focus of the Fintech Challenge Myanmar is to identify fintech solutions that can improve the quality and quantity of financial services to the underserved and unbanked.


The Fintech Challenge Myanmar is open to fintech companies from both inside and outside of Myanmar who are interested in collaborating with financial service providers to pilot and scale solutions that improve financial services in categories including micro insurance, agricultural finance, financial literacy, and digital identity verification (“eKYC”). Interested fintech companies may begin applying in June 2019. Further programme details and timelines will be announced on the DaNa Facility website.


Each successful Challenge applicant will participate in a two-month period of collaboration and mentoring with a Corporate Partner in order to fine-tune and adapt its fintech solution to the reality of the Myanmar market.  Fintechs will also participate in a competitive “Pitch Session” where they will present their financial technology solutions to a panel of financial industry players, financial experts, and investors. The best fintechs will have the opportunity to demo their products and services at the Myanmar Fintech Day in November 2019.


Today’s event focused on explaining how the programme works and raising awareness and interest on the part of potential partners, including commercial banks, microfinance institutions, mobile financial services providers, as well as other interested parties.


“We very much like the concept of the Fintech Challenge Myanmar, which we understand will promote fintech companies to showcase their solutions to Myanmar financial service providers.  We understand that the Challenge is an opportunity to see and test new financial technologies and new business models. We need this innovation. Daw Sandar Oo, General Manager, Myanmar Insurance.


“We are particularly excited about the prospect of showcasing new fintech business models and products that help to facilitate financial inclusion.  What UK aid is most interested in—and keenly focused on—is fintech for financial inclusion.  The Fintech Challenge Myanmar has that laser focus on financial inclusion that is needed in Myanmar,” noted Tom Coward, Team Leader of UK aid Myanmar Inclusive and Livelihoods Team.



Notes to editors:


For more information please contact the DaNa Facility communications team at: +95 9782500752 or through email: danapress@danafacility.com


About The DaNa Facility

The DaNa Facility is a UK aid funded programme, established in May 2016 as one of three components of UK aid’s wider ‘Business for Shared Prosperity’ (BSP) programme. The DaNa Facility, implemented by DAI Europe and KPMG, supports inclusive economic growth and private sector development in Myanmar through responsible and sustainable business growth, investment and trade. For more information on the DaNa Facility please visit: www.danafacility.com. Follow the DaNa Facility on Twitter | Facebook.



UNCDF has been in Myanmar since 2012 implementing a variety of projects which improve financial inclusion particularly for those not served or marginally served such as women and people living in rural areas. Globally, UNCDF makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.

For more information see: www.uncdf.org/en/myanmar


About ADB Ventures

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. ADB Ventures is an ADB technical assistance program targeting sustainable development impact through technology solutions that enable climate impact, inclusive finance, health, and gender equality.

For more information see: www.adbventures.org


You can find a Myanmar language version of this press release here.