IFC Partners With KIF, Australia to Launch First Mobile Banking Service in Timor Leste

JAKARTA, KalderaNews.com – IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, announced plans to work with Kaebauk Investimentu no Finansas (KIF), Timor-Leste’s first non-bank financial institution to pioneer a mobile banking service in the country, aiming to reach more than 50,000 Timorese people.

More than 70 percent of Timor-Leste’s people live in rural areas, many of these do not have  access to basic financial services to save, send, or receive money. IFC, which has pioneered mobile banking opportunities in emerging markets around the world, is working with KIF to increase access to finance for unbanked Timorese people, helping to drive development in the Southeast Asian country.

The partnership will enable KIF to launch mobile and branchless banking operations and introduce “Kaebauk Osan” a savings product intended to provide financial services to poor rural and urban populations, with a special focus on women and growing Timor Leste’s agri business with finance opportunities for 10,000 rural farmers.

“Through fostering the development of mobile banking and women-friendly agribusiness products, Timor-Leste can ramp-up the diversification of its economy,” said Azam Khan, IFC Country Manager for Indonesia, Malaysia and Timor-Leste. “Timor has a very young population—more than 50 percent of the population is under 20-years-old—many of whom will be entering the labor market in the coming years. This project offers a way for all Timorese people to better manage money and can act as a gateway to other financial services, ultimately helping grow the economy.”

Almost 65 percent of the population is involved in agriculture, and it is a growing source of jobs in rural areas.

“KIF’s is committed to drive financial inclusion in remote places of the country for livelihood promotion,” said by Angelo Soares, the CEO of KIF to KalderaNews.

“We know that people in rural areas want access to savings products and want to be able to access financial services more readily.”

KIF was launched in 2001 to provide financial products to poor rural and urban populations to improve their quality of life and empower women. KIF operates around 20 branches across the country with 12,462 loan clients and an outstanding loan portfolio of $15 million. (FA

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