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Increasing Access to Responsible Financial Services in Haiti

Program Development Objective (PDO)

The main objective of this project is to achieve greater access to responsible and affordable financial services by underserved populations in Haiti, specifically by supporting the implementation of Haiti’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). The project will support the NFIS by (a) helping to create an enabling environment for financial services, (b) promoting financial capability, and (c) establishing an adequate consumer protection framework. 

Background

The Central Bank of Haiti and the Haitian Ministry of Economy and Finance have started extensive reforms in recent years, including implementation of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). The NFIS aims to improve the supply of financial services to underserved people and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). 

The Central Bank of Haiti has requested support through this FIRST (Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening) Initiative program, which fully aligns with the NFIS and which will support the implementation of a number of priority actions listed in the strategy document. The program aims to increase levels of financial inclusion in Haiti by coordinating actions of public and private stakeholders in the pursuit of shared goals. 

Activities

The technical assistance program will consist of following activities:

1.  Payment systems: Assist in modernizing payment systems to improve safety, access, efficiency,
     and inclusiveness, and to promote competition, transparency, and efficiency in the remittance
     market. This assistance will focus on (a) developing a strategy for a national payment system,
     (b) strengthening the legal and regulatory frameworks for oversight of this system, and 
     (c) developing a roadmap for improvement of remittances in Haiti.

2.  Consumer protection: Strengthen the legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks for
     protection of financial consumers.

3.  Financial education: Improve financial capability and education in Haiti by preparing the 
     National Financial Education Strategy, assessing results, mapping potential solutions,
     consulting with stakeholders, and disseminating information.

4.  Microfinance: Promote a well-regulated microfinance institution (MFI) and financial cooperative
    (FC) sector through technical assistance in regulation and supervision. 

5.  NFIS implementation: Support establishment of (a) a steering committee to define NFIS policies
     and (b) a secretariat at the Bank of the Republic of Haiti to drive day-to-day implementation 
     of the NFIS.

Expected Outcomes

The overall program expects to achieve the following:  

1.  Increasing access to and use of affordable and regulated financial services 

2.  Reducing remittance costs 

3.  Defining NFIS policies and coordinating efforts and monitoring implementation of the NFIS

4.  Modernizing the payment system and improving efficiency and transparency in the remittances
     market

5.  Developing an adequate legal framework for consumer protection, establishing adequate
     supervisory capacity for consumer protection, and improving financial capability and education
     in Haiti

6.  Establishing adequate supervision of financial cooperatives and enabling viable MFIs to operate
     within the formal financial system