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Media »New financial sector research finds strong growth in Myanmar financial inclusion

June 21, 2018

Nay Pyi Taw, MYANMAR: Research presented today as part of the nationwide Making Access Possible (MAP) financial inclusion study shows that Myanmar has seen a significant increase in the numbers of adults with access to at least one formal financial services product. The research showed that access to formal financial services had increased between 2013 and 2018 by almost two thirds, an increase of over 6 million adults, exceeding the financial inclusion targeted set in 2014.


These results were presented today to representatives from the government, private sector, and international development stakeholders as part of the findings of the nationwide financial inclusion  assessment, Making Access Possible (MAP).


MAP operates through a partnership between the DaNa Facility (funded by DFID), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Myanmar, and the MoPF Financial Regulatory Department (FRD). The financial diagnostic provides a composite profile of the access to and use of financial services nationwide, based on a comprehensive survey of 5,500 rural and urban households.


The study found a significant increase in financial inclusion from the MAP 2013 findings. Adults with access to at least one formal financial product increased from 30% in 2013 to 48% in 2018, an almost two thirds increase in financial inclusion, against a target set in 2014 of 40%. Meaning over 6 million more adults have access to formal financial services now than in 2013. While adults with more than one formal financial product also increased to 17%. A key driver fuelling this growth was strong expansion within the microfinance and cooperative sectors.


In delivering the proceedings opening remarks, MoPF Deputy Minister, U Maung Maung Win highlighted that the growth in formal financial inclusion was encouraging but stressed the need for the public and private sectors to strengthen financial literacy enabling further use of financial services in the years to come.


Gail Marzetti, Head of DFID Myanmar speaking about the results said:


“This increase in access to formal financial services is really encouraging. It means that people across Myanmar are increasingly able to save, invest and prosper through their use of formal finance services.


“It also demonstrates that we still have a lot of work to do as we strive to increase access to formal financial services and ensure that people around the country have the financial means and tools they need to improve the lives of their families and communities.”


Mr. Paul Luchtenburg, UNCDF Country Coordinator in Myanmar, was upbeat about the promising findings saying:


“MAP’s 2018 findings confirm the multi-faceted developments in Myanmar’s financial sector and offer promise for continued financial inclusion expansion as the financial industry gains traction with digital financial services.


“MAP 2018 findings are scheduled for final release later this year with a companion Financial Inclusion Roadmap framework to guide Myanmar’s financial sector development in the coming years.”


Notes to editors:

Making Access Possible (MAP) nationwide financial sector assessment key findings:

The full findings of the MAP will be released later in 2018. The initial key findings from the research are:


  • A further 6.4 million adults have formal financial access in 2018 (from 30% in 2013 to 48% in 2018). Largely driven by increased Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) and Cooperative expansion, significantly more adults use formal services for borrowing, payments and savings.
  • While there is evidence of lower poverty symptoms from 2013, nearly half of adults experienced difficulties in keeping up with financial commitments.  A large segment of adults do not plan (83%) for their expenditure. This is linked to a large population (66%) earning that receives low (under $75 a month) and irregular income thereby contributing to budgeting and cash flow challenges to service expenses.
  • Broad formal finance access shifts from 2013 are highlighted by an increase in bank depositors and payment transactions.
  • Low, but meaningful, adult uptake (2% registered) on mobile money with rising potential to expand financial services to rural, remote, and disparate households.
  • Although half of the adult population in 2018 and 2013 used informal financial services, fewer adults are dependent solely on informal financial services to cover sudden household and livelihood financial shortfalls in 2018. “Informal service only” access fell by 30% from 10 million to about 7 million adults in 2018 and 2013, respectively.
  • Significant increase in rural uptake of formal services outside of banking was mainly driven by credit and savings with MFIs and cooperatives showing a double increase in this category of formal financial products.
  • Formal financial services are mainly employed for livelihood investments, education and living expenses. Informal financial services are primarily applied toward living expenses, coping strategies for unforeseen events (e.g. health issues) education, and livelihood investments. Money lenders maintain a leading position among informal financial service providers.
  • Financial services (both formal and informal) are most commonly applied for consumption smoothing (living expenses), medical expenses, education and business investment.


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