What we do

Impact Summary

Empowering low-income communities for sustainable prosperity

SCBF leverages public and private sector resources to fund financially inclusive enterprises that enable low-income populations to live a resilient and dignified life

188+

Projects co-funded

19.8M

CHF grant funding invested in projects by SCBF and strategic partners

50

Countries

Geographical presence

SCBF has co-funded projects in 50 countries

Asia

Latin America

Mena

Sub-Saharan Africa

Project funding

Technical Assistance Grant

Repayable Grants

  • Funding technical assistance for innovative financial products, channels and services (no infrastructure)
  • Eligible countries as listed (except for projects focusing on smallholder farmers, which is all countries that receive ODA)
  • Minimum outreach to at least 4’000 new clients; low-income households, smallholder farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME)
  • Third-party contributions (desirable)
  • Mid- and end-of project financial report with mandatory audits of the grantee for projects equal to or greater than CHF
  • Mid- and end-of project financial report with mandatory audits of the grantee for projects equal to or greater than CHF 100’000 (SCBF contribution) by external / independent auditor, which will be financed by SCBF
  • Financial and institutional self-sufficiency is reached or on a clear path towards it
  • Proven social mission in serving low-income clients, notably women, preferably in rural areas
  •  Compliance with responsible finance practices and data / privacy standards
  • Involvement of FSP’s senior management
  • Mobilisation and development of local / regional competences through hiring of local consultants and by having international consultants spending at least 60% of their expert days in-country (desirable)

Our contribution

Every day, nearly 2 billion people encounter the deficiencies of the global financial system.

Recognizing that little to no progress has been made to close the protection gap, for instance in lower- and lower-middle income countries where the protection gap for natural catastrophes exists in excess of 95%, SCBF has fostered insurance innovations to help address this gap.

This includes low-income small business owners, smallholder farmers, and women, who bear the greatest impact of climate change, economic instability, and conflict. They lack secure places to save money, access to credit for business expansion, insurance against climate disasters, and other high-quality, affordable financial services that many of us may take for granted.

Despite significant gains in financial inclusion in the last decade, 1.4 billion people are still unbanked, either because they don’t have a stable income or live far away from financial institutions or because of other reasons such as lack of documents required for KYC.

Women make up 54% of the unbanked, highlighting the gender gap in finance. When people cannot access basic services such as banking or insurance, it means that smallholder farmers cannot always afford the seeds and fertilisers they need for agriculture, low-income parents cannot save for their child’s education, and vulnerable households have no safety net to protect them in case of emergencies, such as sudden illness or natural disasters.

According to the IFC, 65 million or 40% of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in developing countries, the engine that powers economic development, have unmet financing needs.

SCBF seeks to address the inclusive finance gap. SCBF enables financial sector partners’ access to the resources and expertise they need to develop and scale financial products, channels and services tailored to the needs of low-income clients, especially women, smallholder farmers, and small businesses as well as rural populations.

As a result, 62% of the lives our work has touched has been through insurance products, such as health or life or index-based agricultural insurance, enabling vulnerable households and communities to better manage risks without resorting to negative coping strategies.

Although the gender gap in access to financial services has fallen in the past decade, it still persists, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.

This is why SCBF prioritises projects that build the resilience of women and other vulnerable groups. So far, a majority (64%) of the clients accessing the products, services or channels supported through SCBF-funded projects are women.

SCBF and the SDGs

Financial inclusion leads to greater economic empowerment and directly impacts many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as gender equality, good health for all and climate action. Since the SDGs launched in 2016, SCBF’s financial inclusion projects globally have contributed to 12 of the 17 SDGs.

Insights from SCBF projects and partners

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Our partnerships foster economic empowerment for low-income populations

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