Financial Inclusion and Digital Cash Payments 2019 - Implementation Report: Oruchinga Refugee Settlement

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 11 Feb 2019 View Original

1.1 Background

Financial Inclusion is one of UNHCR Uganda’s key operational priorities under its protection and solutions strategy. Financial inclusion contributes to promoting self-reliance among refugees as well as stimulating economic activity at local level. In Uganda, the ongoing strategy to scale-up cash transfers and deliver assistance in a dignified and accountable manner coupled with the vision of promoting economic inclusion of refugees and host communities implies that financial inclusion is a country office priority. One method of achieving financial inclusion for refugees is by ensuring that refugees own bank accounts which will not only promote the growth of cash transfers but also contribute to selfreliance and local economic activity by opening up channels for cash flows.

In 2019, UNHCR Uganda plans to open bank accounts for 154,358 refugee households in seven settlements. These are Oruchinga, Imvepi, Palabek, Bidibidi , Palorinya , Rhino camp and Kampala.

The first phase of this initiative was implemented in Oruchinga refugee settlement where all households living in the settlement were assisted to open bank accounts using Equity Bank. Equity Bank uses the agent banking model a banking solution that was introduced by the government of Uganda to promote financial inclusion and improve access to banking services in areas with poor banking infrastructure particularly in rural areas. Given that the majority of refugee settlements are located in rural areas with no banking infrastructure, the introduction of agent banking was timely as a solution that can be utilised to extend banking services closer to refugees and hence facilitate their financial inclusion.

In addition, assisting refugees to open bank accounts will enable UNHCR expand multipurpose cash transfers to refugees to meet basic needs e.g. in shelter, education, hygiene, energy. The detailed number of households targeted for this initiative is presented in the map below;