FIRST’s technical assistance (TA) supports the broader development agenda of a country, including to promote inclusive growth and help alleviate poverty, and to promote greater financial stability.
FIRST operates through two "windows":
- Catalytic: FIRST funds small-scale projects (with average size of $250,000), implemented over 6 to 24 months, to tackle targeted, short-term needs, and based on country demand.
- Programmatic: FIRST funds larger programmatic technical assistance engagements aiming at long-term targets for longer-term reforms in effective prudential supervision in banking and insurance, financial inclusion and market development. Programs will average in size of $2 million, with an average implementation period of 3 years. These programs will provide funding across multiple projects connected through a well-structured typically, multi-year reform program.
Areas eligible for funding
Target areas include the following although some sub-sectoral exclusions apply:
Eligible applicants are government agencies, regulatory bodies, policy makers, and —under limited circumstances— quasi-public institutions such as self-regulatory organizations and industry associations.
FIRST gives preference to projects with the following characteristics:
- Show client ownership and are demand driven
- Likelihood of achieving the stated project objectives, and of successful implementation
- Show strong elements of additionality (the absence of overlap and conflict with other sources of funding)
- Are catalytic; that is, show a capacity to lead to further financial sector strengthening
- Short- to medium-term nature (6-18 months)
Main themes of assistance
- Financial sector reform strategy and policy advice (in particular, financial sector development plans following FSAP*)
- Advisory services to strengthen legal, regulatory and supervisory frameworks
- Financial sector market and product development
- Institution and capacity building
*Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) is a joint program of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that identifies financial system vulnerabilities and develops appropriate policy responses for participating countries.
Areas excluded from funding
- Technical assistance cannot be provided for the purpose of strengthening single private or public sector entities, with the exception of financial regulators
- FIRST cannot provide "core funding", sole or primary source of funding of a start-up or an up and running organization
- FIRST does not fund stand-alone training that is not part of a wider implementation related project
- FIRST does not provide information technology advice, software or hardware
How to apply
FIRST encourages country authorities to apply for funding through FIRST web-site www.firstinitiative.org.
As a first step, an applicant sends to FIRST an inquiry with a brief project description. FIRST reviews the inquiry to determine whether the proposal is generally eligible for funding. If deemed eligible, FIRST assists the recipient to develop and submit a project proposal.
The inquiry forms are available for downloading:
The proposal forms are available for downloading: