Since MM4P launched in Nepal in 2013, the country has moved from a restrictive to enabling environment, which in 2017 has allowed payment service providers to become licensed and offer digital accounts with more flexible agency banking requirements.
MM4P has been the primary support to the development of a digital finance ecosystem, notably in fostering an enabling regulatory environment and awareness raising in the country. Despite significant MM4P support, Nepal’s mobile network operators have not yet been licensed for digital accounts. However, MM4P in partnership with the UNNATI Access to Finance programme is actively supporting two of the largest remittance companies to enter the market with digital wallets using their substantial distribution networks. The strong engagement with the Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank, and MoFALD, a partner of UNNATI Access to Finance and the UNCDF local development finance team, resulted in the former beginning to digitize government payments, starting first with education stipends to low-income families and more recently, social security payments. In the wake of the earthquake, the central bank embraced the need for accurate geo-spatial data on payment outlets. With MM4P’s assistance, they are developing a “RegTech” solution that combines service-point mapping and information reporting to get a comprehensive picture of account activity. MM4P is also working to improve usage of digital wallets and payments for agriculture, working with agricultural cooperatives and companies to offer farmers the services that they need.
MM4P is generously supported by DFAT, Government of Denmark, the MetLife Foundation, Sida, and USAID for its work in Nepal.