The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and MetLife Foundation have partnered to develop a more inclusive, efficient and interconnected digital finance sector to help low income households in Nepal. MetLife Foundation’s grant of $250,000 USD will go toward enhancing Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), a global financial inclusion programme for economically disadvantaged people.

The MM4P programme, in operation since 2012, is a UNCDF’s flagship initiative that provides digital financial services, including domestic money transfers, savings accounts and other services that can help increase economic security. Currently active in eight Least Developed Countries,1 MM4P is supported by UNCDF, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, and MetLife Foundation.

MM4P has identified key providers that have the potential to improve access to finance through mobile services. The $250,000 grant from MetLife Foundation will go toward providing technical and financial assistance to financial services providers and agent networks. The overall objective of the programme in Nepal is to have 10-15% of the adult population (2-3 million) as active customers of digital financial services in all forms by the end of 2019. MM4P will use the grant instrument primarily as a means to reach its target market - low income, women and rural customers - to demonstrate the value for this customer base.

UNCDF Executive Secretary Judith Karl praised MetLife Foundation for supporting UNCDF in its work to increase access to financial services. “We are honored and proud to work with MetLife Foundation to build a better ecosystem in Nepal with products and delivery mechanisms which are affordable, accessible and that reach the poor,” she said. “Digital financial services can help poor households save money and access much needed financial services that help them mitigate shocks and seize opportunities to get out and stay out of poverty.”

“We are amazed at the rapid pace of technology advancement in Nepal,” said Ala Uddin Ahmad, CEO of Nepal, MetLife. “This support from MetLife Foundation, to advance mobile technology enabled financial inclusion for the underserved communities in the region, is critical and important. We are proud to be working with UNDCF to advance the cause of financial inclusion in this part of the world,” he said.

For more information, please contact Tillman Bruett, UNCDF – mm4p@uncdf.org.

About UNCDF 
UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and small businesses by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. UNCDF provides seed capital – grants and loans – and technical support to help microfinance institutions reach more poor households and small businesses, and local governments finance the capital investments – water systems, feeder roads, schools, irrigation schemes – that will improve poor peoples’ lives. UNCDF programmes help to empower women, and are designed to catalyze larger capital flows from the private sector, national governments and development partners, for maximum impact toward the Millennium Development Goals.

About the MetLife Foundation 
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2014, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $650 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.

About MM4P 
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is a global programme funded by UN Capital Development Fund, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Australian Government, Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The programme provides support to branchless and mobile financial services in a select group of LDCs to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust branchless and mobile financial services ecosystem that reaches low income people in LDCs. For more information, visit http://www.uncdf.org/mm4p.

Benin, Lao PDR, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia.