Pacific to Get Better Banking Services

Aug 2010
Melbourne, Australia, August, 26 2010 - Australia is providing $9.5 million towards an initiative that aims to improve access to basic financial services in the Pacific Islands region.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, says the $US11.3 million ($A12.3 million) four-year initiative will help improve financial services for women, rural households and enterprises in Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Pacific Islands.

Estimates suggest than fewer than 20 per cent of adults in the Pacific have access to financial services, the IFC said.

"Together with the Australian government, IFC will help expand loans, savings, and other basic financial services in the Pacific," IFC director for East Asia and Pacific Karin Finkelston said in a statement.

"The goal is to allow households and businesses to transition from every day survival to establishing businesses that are sustainable in the long term."

IFC will provide performance-based grants and business advice to financial service providers so that they can better reach communities in isolated areas.

It will also help participating providers, including banking and microfinance institutions, non-governmental organisations and non-traditional financial service partners - such as mobile phone and agribusiness companies - develop business plans with measurable expansion targets.

Source : THE AGE

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