Financial inclusion in Côte d'Ivoire
Submitted by: Alpha Diallo, Admin/Finance Officer, UNHCR Cote d’Ivoire Innovation fellow
Email: [email protected]
Article about the project launch available on ivoirematin.com (in French only).
Introduction to the project
October 2018 – Dec 2019
- To allow returning refugees (or Protection staff depending on household dynamics and protection risks) to choose their preferred modality of receiving the assistance – e.g. cash in an envelope or through mobile money, to the head of household or different household members, as a lump sum or several payments, at the transit centre or upon return.
- To serve as a single remittance mechanism for return assistance from multiple stakeholders (WFP: monetized food, UNICEF: monetized school kits, etc.)
Connectivity for refugees Innovation fund complemented by UNHCR CIV OPS and ABOD resources
- UNHCR Cote d’Ivoire
- UNHCR Liberia
- UNHCR Guinea
- UNHCR Ghana
- DAARA – main government partner
- WFP – UN agency
- MTN – telecommunication and mobile money company
- ARTCI – telecommunications regulatory body
How challenges were overcome
The main challenges were as follows:
- The lack of documentation (a regulatory requirement) is a major hindrance to receiving a SIM card.
- A very bureaucratic internal systems (LAS, Procurement, etc.) that is resistant to change.
- Relatively low organizational capacity with regards to Cash-Based Interventions.
These challenges were addressed with leadership, a facilitative protection environment, and advocacy with the national identification body. Some challenges are still being overcome.
Results of the Good Practice
- More choice and less risk for returnees, resulting in a sense of security and dignity enhanced during voluntary repatriation
- Bringing in non-traditional private partners -> partnership base expanded to telecommunications companies
- Revisiting the UNHCR mind-set to perceive commercial stakeholders as partners, not just vendors
- Saving resources: by spending less on contracts (common procurement) or by advocating that telecommunications companies waive fees (for all or a part of the caseload – appeal to corporate social responsibility)