An exciting project to connect mobile banking to the coconut industry was launched today by the Australian Government, Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP) and ANZ.
The SBD 5 million dollar program (US650,000) will connect rural coconut oil producers, laborers, buyers and transport operators with digital finance as the coconut industry in Solomon Islands expands.
At the moment, most people working in the coconut industry live in rural areas, far from existing banking services. Payments are conducted almost exclusively in cash, and this creates significant challenges for both buyers and sellers.
"Through this project, thousands of rural Solomon Islanders will find it easier to manage, save, and grow their incomes better by having access to simple, fast payments and transfers," Acting Deputy Australian High Commissioner and Minister Counsellor Dr. Jasmine Cernovs said at the launch.
"Australia is pleased to support new opportunities for improving access to finance to people and small businesses in rural Solomon Islands.
This partnership between Australia, PFIP and ANZ will allow the unbanked rural population of Solomon Islands to access formal financial services such as savings, credit and payment services delivered to customers through their mobile phones for the first time.
"If the project is successful, we hope to replicate the solution in other sectors, potentially simplifying payments for thousands of people living in remote areas," Dr. Cernovs said.
To boost mobile banking usage in the coconut industry, ANZ will employ 60 community producers from Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands as goMoney cash merchants and create mobile banking accounts for 900 people.
"With these clusters and early adopters, the project’s target is then to attract a further 24,000 new customers from 60 Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands communities and surrounding villages over the next two years," PFIP Financial Inclusion Specialist Krishnan Narasimhan said.
The Australian Government contributed 60 per cent of the project costs (US $395,000) through PFIP with the remaining balance of US255,000 co-funded by ANZ.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping low-income households gain access to financial services and financial education. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.
PFIP partners have added more than one million Pacific Islanders to the formal financial sector by supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, innovation with financial services, and delivery channels, conducting market research, and by strengthening financial competencies and consumer empowerment.
PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.
About ANZ goMoney
ANZ goMoney™ is a mobile banking service that allows customers to access their ANZ accounts securely from their mobile phone.
ANZ has rolled out the goMoney digital channel + cash merchant network in PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, signing up nearly 150,000 customers between 2013 and the end of 2015. The mobile technology enables customers to make cash deposits and withdrawals with their bank accounts at cash merchants and conduct transactions directly on their mobile phones.
For more information or media inquiries please contact:
In Solomon Islands: Krishnan Narasimhan - email@example.com
In Fiji - Erica Lee – Communications Associate;
Tel: +679 322 7538; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: h