Australia’s Market Development Facility (MDF) and micro-finance partner MiBank is assisting farmers, exporters and everyone in between by establishing more efficient banking services, that are tailored for rural farmers.
In the southern-most part of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville lies Buin where there is just one rural banking service that is often out of money.
The partnership saw a small team conduct a five day awareness activity in Buin to encourage new customers and provide information about the benefits of using their financial products.
About 108 new accounts were opened during the awareness activity, 89 of which were men whilst 19 of the new account holders were women.
Essentially, customers can access their funds easier through a mobile banking system without the use of a bank card or without the hassle of standing in long queues at the bank.
However, all new customers are issued with bank cards that can be used at any BSP ATM machine.
Account holders who wish to withdraw money can go to local agents within their areas with their phones or bank cards where they can withdraw cash, deposit funds or manage their accounts.
There are around 80 MiBank agents within 13 provinces in the country that operate established and trusted businesses.
These agents are issued with smartphones that are used to facilitate their MiBank operations such as opening new accounts that can be done in a matter of minutes via Whatsapp messenger to the MiBank head office.
According to Market Development Facility’s website, 75 per cent of PNG’s population is unbanked, of which 90 per cent are women.
As such it is necessary for more efficient banking systems to be established for people in rural areas as it is quite costly to access banking services from remote villages.
Furthermore, the security risks and additional expenses one can incur, conventional banking systems do not adequately cater to a majority of Papua New Guinean’s.
By creating more options for rural farmers, access to banking services can solve everyday cash flow problems, encourage a savings and lending culture, and assist in sustaining business activity in PNG’s outer centres.
Read more about what MDF and MiBank are doing, here.