Uganda: Digital Financial Service Ecosystems in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement

Source: DanChurchAid
Country: South Sudan, Uganda

1.1 Project Background

World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have made a strategic decision to transition from material aid support to refugees to cash based transfers. This is driven by the increasing cost of delivering food and material aid. Close to US$12,000,000 is spent monthly on food distribution. The decision is supported by research that shows that beneficiaries make smart spending decisions that mitigate against food insecurity.

It is upon this background that implementing partners DanChurchAid (DCA), Mercy Corps (MC) and World Vision (WV) are actively pursuing payments digitization implementation.

This document consists of a mapping of the six pillars of the DFS ecosystem in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement and Host Community. The objectives of the Digital Financial Services (DFS) mapping in Bidibidi were as follows.

1.2 Research Objectives

• To establish the financial lives of refugees and host community: what is their cash mobility ecosystem like and what are their financial coping mechanisms like?

• To establish if there are there financial products and services that would accelerate transition to sustainable livelihoods/income generation.

• To establish if there is a trust in the existing delivery of DFS by Financial Service Providers (FSPs). Are FSPs delivering the right products to the community? And what are the opportunities that exist for the private sector either as providers of financial services, produce off takers and other services.

• To establish the key barriers to accessing financial services channels at affordable costs and link them to broader financial services. Also, establish if any additional research and data is needed in the country to address the key barriers to financial services.

• To establish the type of capacity building at the regulatory level that is needed to engage with the policymakers to address the barriers.

• To establish the type of payment and financial infrastructure is needed to support digital payment innovation in Bidibidi Settlement and surrounding host community.

• To identify projects that can piloted to enhance digital payments.