Refugees and Their Money: The Business Case for Providing Financial Services to Refugees (Rwanda)

Year Ended:

Key Partners/Clients:
Financial Services Deepening Africa (FSDA), The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR)

Area of Work:
Digital Financial Services, Refugee Finance


BFA Global, supported by FSD Africa, carried out a macro- and micro- analysis to build a better understanding of the financial needs of displaced populations in Rwanda. The study had two objectives: first, to provide market intelligence to build a sound business case for financial institutions to profitably serve the forcibly displaced persons (FDPs) population; and second, to better understand the financial needs of the FDP population in Rwanda to enable financial service providers (FSPs) to effectively target the segment.

The BFA Global team engaged with FSPs to better understand the risks and barriers in offering financial services to displaced people. Through a market sizing exercise, a segmentation matrix was developed using existing data sets. With insights from the financial institutions, we conducted fieldwork with FDPs to understand the need for formal financial services. The fieldwork sought to understand the access to and usage of commercially provided financial services. The results of the research and the business case were then shared with the financial service providers. Five FSPs were then selected to go through a three-day design sprint where they developed a paper prototype and tested it out with FDPs in one of the camps. Our team led the design sprint. The team in collaboration with FSDA, UNHCR, and AFR developed a communications plan that ensured the results would be disseminated to different financial services providers in the region.