The long-standing changes caused by COVID-19 continue to reverberate throughout the world, and many communities in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic of Congo (DRC) are struggling to adapt. The reliance on widespread mobile banking has greatly increased during the pandemic, rising as much as 85 per cent in the United States alone, and the need to encourage fintech inclusion by enhancing financial technologies in impoverished regions has never been more important.
In response to this global trend of digitization, FINCA Canada, in cooperation with the Government of Canada, is enabling financial products to be accessible to people in Haiti and DRC. Despite poor living conditions and challenges surrounding financial access, especially for women, half of FINCA Canada’s clients have access to a smart phone or another device that is able to access the internet. FINCA Canada has also created a completely virtual branch in Haiti, allowing prospective and current clients to access micro-loans and other critical services that are provided to help bridge the poverty gap and forge a pathway to financial freedom.
Digital innovation providing crucial support
By establishing the groundwork of digital innovation prior to the pandemic through pre-existing mobile banking initiatives, FINCA Canada is able to help its clients stay safe and comply with social distancing measures. This enables them to maintain the safety of their communities while conducting important and necessary transactions.
As a result of these measures, FINCA Canada’s clients are now making 60 per cent of their banking transactions digitally, helping them avoid public spaces and handling potentially unhygienic cash during the pandemic. FINCA Canada’s touch-tech service is another tool that focuses on financial innovation with a human-centric approach. By consistently implementing new digital solutions, clients are able to take advantage of the best tools available to them at the lowest possible cost.
Time efficiency is key
In the areas where FINCA Canada operates, such as the DRC, barriers to banking, including less than 35 kilometers of paved roads for every million inhabitants, severely restrict access to financial inclusion. This lack of physical infrastructure leads to a lack of access for broader economic activities and physical safety that contribute to overall wellness and clients’ ability to thrive.
By providing the option of agency banking and new digital capabilities, FINCA Canada is spearheading the creation of innovative options for those who cannot afford to travel such distances to complete financial transactions. By creating accessible options, FINCA Canada is giving back time to those who undertake long journeys to complete transactions with ease and get back to their lives. FINCA Canada agents are serving those within their own communities via Xpress agencies, which allow clients with difficulty accessing digital services to be able to complete transactions directly.
The importance of continuously evolving
FINCA Canada is constantly looking to expand the digital support we offer our beneficiaries in impoverished regions, as accelerating opportunities for financial freedom and independence remain top priorities. By increasing our focus on digital offerings in countries such as Haiti and the DRC, we are able to drive forward our commitment to improving the lives of the people we serve and being the best partners possible.
FINCA Canada is grateful to the Government of Canada for their partnership and to Canadian donors for their generous support. Click here to learn more about FINCA Canada’s work in Haiti and the DRC.