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IFC Supports National Financial Inclusion Strategy to Boost Access to Financial Services in Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine, November 4, 2020 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced it will be working with the National Bank of Ukraine to develop a national financial inclusion strategy aimed at improving access to digital financial services, creating jobs and boosting the country’s economic growth.

In Ukraine, the share of digital, i.e. non-cash transactions—in total volume of transactions using payment cards—increased from 25 percent in 2014 to nearly 50 percent in late 2019, according to the National Bank of Ukraine . Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, internet banking has been on the rise in 2020, with around 60 percent of the country’s population able to access financial products and services via the digital identification system, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation . However, the quality of digital financial services in Ukraine requires further enhancements.

To drive the country’s progress in this area, the IFC Ukraine Financial Inclusion for Growth Program—in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the UK Government’s Good Governance Fund—will support the National Bank of Ukraine to create a national financial inclusion roadmap, expanding responsible access and usage of financial services.

"Our goal is to secure Ukraine’s citizens with maximum access to financial services and products. We have no right to leave anyone behind. Our joint efforts will impact the country we will live in the future: a comfortable, financially inclusive, and modern country or the one where the majority of population is outside the country's financial system," said Kyrylo Shevchenko, Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine.

Moving forward, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy will ensure the development of remote channels of financial services, including payments, digital financial services, access points, and others. It will further help expand a range of financial services and protect consumer rights. The process will involve discussions with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Digital Transformation, local financial institutions, payment providers, and other financial market players in order to support the design and development of an Action Plan for the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

“Implementation of a well-designed financial inclusion strategy will help Ukraine expand access to financial services. This is essential, particularly now given the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic,” said Jason Pellmar, IFC Regional Manager for Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. “This engagement is core to our strategic partnership with the National Bank of Ukraine and our shared objective to boost the resilience of the country’s financial system, inspiring confidence in the financial sector.”

In August 2020, IFC and the National Bank of Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding. In addition to developing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, this partnership will help create competitive market conditions for financial service providers and improve the credit reporting system. This will help decrease transaction costs for customers, thereby supporting business growth in digital financial services.

About IFC
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .

About SECO
SECO is Switzerland’s competence center for all core issues relating to economic policy. SECO’s economic development cooperation strives to achieve inclusive sustainable growth and poverty reduction in its partner countries. Its activities aim to create more and better jobs, to enhance trade and competitiveness, to support effective institutions and services , and to foster climate resilient economies. For more information, visit www.seco-cooperation.admin.ch or www.eda.admin.ch/kyiv .

About GGF
The UK Government’s Good Governance Fund (GGF) has a primary objective of building resilience in targeted countries by providing support for domestic reform agendas which reduce corruption , promote transparent and accountable institutions , and build open, inclusive economies and societies. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/ .

About the National Bank of Ukraine
Expanding financial inclusion is one of the priorities of the National Bank of Ukraine during the next five years according to the Strategy of Ukrainian Financial Sector Development until 2025. Among the tasks are enhancing the accessibility and level of financial services usage, enhancing the protection of consumer rights, and improving the financial literacy of the general public. This will contribute to the sustainable and inclusive development of Ukraine's economy and increase the welfare of citizens.