Money transfers without borders

Project description

Title: Improving access to remittances and other financial services through digital solutions (Digi#ances)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the special initiative “Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement, Reintegrating Refugees“
Country: Jordan
Lead executing agency: Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ)
Overall term: 2015 to 2021

male users

Context

At present, it is difficult for Syrian refugees to open a bank account in Jordan. At the same time only 42 per cent of Jordanian adults have a bank account. For this reason, most payments from abroad as well as within Jordan are made in cash. Digital financial services can help minimise the risks and costs involved when money is transferred through operators or via informal channels. Inbound Cross-border remittances have been a major source of income for Jordan’s economy for a long time: valued at 4.4 billion US dollars, it accounted for more than 10 per cent of Jordan’s gross domestic product in 2018.

Objective

Conditions for using digital services for cross-border remittances are created for refugees and Jordanian households.

Female users

Approach

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) are jointly implementing the Improving Access to Remittances and other Financial Services through Digital Solutions Project:Digi#ances, which is part of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) special initiative “Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement, Reintegrating Refugees”.

Digi#ances aims to increase the use of digital financial services, including cross-border remittances, by unbanked Jordanians refugees - women in particular - mostly in the 3 northern governorates. To accomplish this, the project employs several approaches:

  • Piloting of needs-based mobile money services, including remittances, in collaboration with stakeholders from the private and nongovernmental sectors. 
  • Enhancing the regulatory and supervisory framework for digital financial services, including cross-border remittances via e-wallet.
  • Conducting campaigns and training courses tailored to the target groups promoting the responsible use of digital financial services.

Apart from that the project signed a co-financing agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) intending to improve financial inclusion and resilience of migrant workers in Jordan by piloting an outbound cross-border remittances corridor. The intention is to transfer the existing methodological approach of Digi#ances to a new target group, mainly Bangladeshi workers in the garment sector in Jordan.

Results

Digi#ances contributed to fine-tuning the regulatory framework for mobile payment services in Jordan, including digital cross-border remittances, by conducting studies and providing technical assistance in areas of oversight and supervision, consumer protection and AML/CFT. 

Digi#ances also launched the Digital Financial Services (DFS) Council as a consultative body for DFS related reforms in 2016. Overall, 13 high level DFS Council meetings have been conducted. Since 2017, 11 DFS “Dialogues” and knowledge exchanges have been organised to cover emerging topics.

Furthermore, through a Development Partnership with the payment service provider (PSP) Dinarak built a greater agent network and thereby facilitated the uptake and usage of digital services by unbanked refugees and Jordanians. 

Also, Digi#ances provided support for developing a network of agents by conducting agent management trainings for PSPs. Despite the progress that has been made, the agent network remains a challenge in the mobile payment ecosystem.

Digital Financial Literacy aims to familiarise unbanked refugees and Jordanians with the use of digital financial services. Thus, broad-based awareness campaigns are expected to reach 20,000 refugees and 30,000 Jordanians and targeted training programmes should be provided to 10,000 refugees and 10,000 Jordanians, of whom 50 per cent will be women. So far, 5,250 Jordanians and 3,200 Syrian refugees were trained, while the awareness campaigns reached 13,900 Jordanians and 16,250 Syrian refugees.

Moreover, “Roadmap on Digital Financial Services Literacy” was formally launched in 2017 by singing MoUs with 20 stakeholders from the financial sector, non-profit sector and donor agencies. The Roadmap provides framework and tools to reach potential clients of digital financial services in a cost-efficient and unbiased way.