Digital payment platform in North Sri Lanka

Digital payment platform in North Sri Lanka

Round 2 Sri Lanka ICT/Financial Inclusion Completed

60%

40%

Partner contribution

$ 732,570

DFAT contribution

$ 500,000

Icon Total Funds

Total Value

$ 1,232,570


Start: December 2017 - End: May 2020

Partners

Dialog Axiata PLC

Dialog Axiata PLC is a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad and operates Sri Lanka’s largest and fastest growing mobile telecommunications network. The company delivers advanced mobile telephone and high speed broadband services to a subscriber base in excess of 10 million Sri Lankans. Dialog is a founding member of the UN Global Compact Local Network in Sri Lanka.

About this partnership

This partnership promotes economic growth through financial inclusion by providing mobile savings and payment technology to people in North Sri Lanka. This initiative aims to enable remote, hard-to-reach communities to access a digital payment retail system that reduces inward remittance costs, travel time and costs for consumers, and develop financial and digital literacy for consumers to facilitate a more sophisticated approach to household savings, new financial products, and enable a more secure cash-handling environment through the localisation of financial services.

Development in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province has been hampered by a history of armed conflict. Deficits in electronic financial infrastructure have stalled local economic growth and resulted in 1.1 million unbanked and underserved people in terms of financial and digital services.

Dialog is rolling out an inclusive digital payment platform across 200 rural villages in Northern Province. The platform incorporates eZ Cash (mobile money), ATMs and point of sale (POS) terminals to provide access to savings account, loans and payment systems.

Dialog leads and manages most aspects of this initiative. DFAT provides critical co-investment and assistance in the development of a culturally appropriate pilot, with expertise in development and measuring social impact. EY play a central role in bringing together the design and implementation aspects of the business model.

This partnership creates shared value by reconceiving products and markets and enabling local cluster development. Dialog is extending their Sri Lankan digital transaction platform to underserved regions, expanding their customer base and revenue from additional business offerings. Customers benefit by gaining access to financial and digital services including savings, loans and digital payment mechanisms. By working with small retailers, Dialog supports the creation of a cohort of around 200 digital entrepreneurs.

The inclusive digital financial platform lays the foundation for the delivery of further impact driven digital services in health, education and government services. The platform will support the creation of a growing ecosystem of broader service provision and opportunities for local small business who can take advantage of the new services. The integration infrastructure connects customer mobile wallets to ATMs and POS devices such as using an ATM to withdraw eZ Cash on mobile phones.

Gender

This initiative promotes women’s economic empowerment through supporting women retailers to adopt eZ Cash ATM or POS and receive commission from this service, and by enabling women and men to access lower cost remittances, savings and loans services, reducing risks associated with travelling and carrying large amounts of cash.

eZ Cash will use existing networks in Northern Province to inform women and ensure at least 20 per cent of the acquired new retailer base are women. This initiative empowers female entrepreneurs, provides training and employment to female retailers and increases access to financial services, increasing income and boosting financial capability. Female retailers encourage other women to use the service, reducing cultural barriers and financial exclusion.

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