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Moldova: First ever international remittance transfer through a Saving and Credit Association

GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Dates

2019

Type of practice

Project/Programme

Latest content

Regions:

Sub Regions:

Summary

Almost one quarter of Moldovans do not live in Moldova. For some time now, it has been difficult to find well-paid work in Moldova. Most of the good jobs available are concentrated in the cities, resulting in significant migration out of the country’s rural areas. Nationwide, unemployment rates have been surging, especially among youth. Many Moldovans, especially young Moldovans, have thus left the country entirely, and many of their loved ones are dependent on the remittances they send home. These remittance flows made up a full 15 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2020, making Moldova the most remittance-reliant country in Europe. But for many who live in remote areas, accessing these remittance transfers is not easy. Most of the formal access points are concentrated in big cities, and those who live and work in the countryside – especially those involved in agriculture – often cannot afford to take enough time off work to access them. In light of these challenges, IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe (NEN) Division and its Financing Facility for Remittances, in partnership with Moldova’s National Commission for Financial Markets, have begun a project designed to strengthen the country’s Savings and Credit Associations (SCAs) so that they can manage remittance transfers. For over 20 years, SCAs have been Moldova’s main network of local grassroots financial service providers. They are well distributed throughout the country, and in some rural areas are the only financial service providers available. Because of their long history and localized nature, SCAs are considered trustworthy. The project was designed to complement the ongoing IFAD-financed Rural Resilience Project (RRP) active in the area, an effort to provide credit for small and medium enterprises and youth entrepreneurs. It expects that enabling SCAs to process international remittance transfers will enhance the competition among existing service providers and give rural families a reliable alternative to formal access points, such as the cash-based money transfer operators. It also hopes that channelling remittances through localized financial institutions like the SCAs, which can offer services tailored to the specific rural populations they serve, will inspire participants to save some of the money they receive and use it for income-generating activities and longer-term investments. Linking remittances with affordable financial services in this way should allow development activities in the area to reach an even greater potential.

Collaborators

Main Implementer

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Partners

National Commission for Financial Markets

Benefit and Impact

Many people living in rural Moldova have benefited from the new remittance services being offered through the SCAs. It represented an easier and closer way to allow rural people to access these flows, often times being the only financial service provider available in the area. A household survey was carried out to identify the dependency of these families on remittances. The survey revealed that these flows account for at least half of the total household income. Giving the option to receive them close to their home could spur their ability to save, have further access to credit, and access financial services for the benefit of their family members.
The positive effects of this project will continue beyond its completion, as the SCAs are vital part of the rural communities and are now empowered to reap the results of having such tools.

Key Lessons

The key challenge was related to the need to avoid contact while scouting for SCAs and designing the project. This was during the initial period of the pandemic, when the situation was unstable and the future unclear. But the people's collaboration was crucial, which supported the first phase of project implementation.
The project relied on strong and committed partners, and the will to work towards a common goal: to provide remittances in rural areas, unlocking opportunities for rural communities. To date, the National Commission for Financial Markets (NCFM) of the Republic of Moldova remains a great partner of IFAD's, and we share their story when we have the opportunity. Lastly, at the eGFRID organized by IFAD on 26 January.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

- Build relationships with your trusted partner
- Know the target community and become entrusted
- Rely on local institutions who know the people
- Show the potential for mainstreaming and upscaling if the project is successful

Innovation

For the first time, the Savings and Credit Associations (SCAs) in the Republic of Moldova have acquired the right tools to manage remittance transfers, thus giving the opportunity to the rural population to access remittances and credit.

There are about 230 SCAs throughout Moldova, 64 of which are able to process deposits for 86 per cent of the entire SCA network’s assets. Out of these, 35 SCAs were selected to pilot this initiative. The project then helped qualifying SCAs become licensed as official remittance transfer agents by the National Bank of Moldova.

On the International Day of Family Remittances (16 June 2020), the project reached its first milestone: the first international transfer was successfully channelled through an SCA. Vangheli Ludmila, a schoolteacher in the rural northern town of Ștefănești, received a transfer from her son Mihai, who works in the United States as a truck driver.

With international remittance transfers under way, the project plans to help all 35 participating SCAs adapt their existing credit and savings products to the needs of remittance recipients. They hope to focus their efforts on products for young people, particularly returning migrants and their families, as they are the most likely customers to apply for financing to launch a new venture.

In total, the project is expected to benefit 4,000 new remittance users and to see savings account balances increase by 10 per cent annually. This would help these families feel more included in local and regional economies – and help increase their incomes and improve their day-to-day lives.

The project is scalable, to include more SCAs throughout the country, and can include additional rural areas of Moldova. This practice is also sustainable, as the project empowered SCAs which have acquired resources and tool to receive remittances in addition to the more traditional services. This goes beyond the project lifeline and ensures uptake by the partner institutions and beneficiaries.

Assessment on eligible SCAs for the pilot initiative was performed remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the survey on Moldovan households was carried out virtually. However, results were drawn and the pilot phase was successfully launched despite the global situation.

Media

MOLDOVA The Importance of Remittances

Date submitted:

01 February 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.

 

 

Moldova: First ever international remittance transfer through a Saving and Credit Association

GCM Objectives

Dates:

2019

Type of practice:

Project/Programme

Latest content

Regions:

Sub Regions:

Summary

Almost one quarter of Moldovans do not live in Moldova. For some time now, it has been difficult to find well-paid work in Moldova. Most of the good jobs available are concentrated in the cities, resulting in significant migration out of the country’s rural areas. Nationwide, unemployment rates have been surging, especially among youth. Many Moldovans, especially young Moldovans, have thus left the country entirely, and many of their loved ones are dependent on the remittances they send home. These remittance flows made up a full 15 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2020, making Moldova the most remittance-reliant country in Europe. But for many who live in remote areas, accessing these remittance transfers is not easy. Most of the formal access points are concentrated in big cities, and those who live and work in the countryside – especially those involved in agriculture – often cannot afford to take enough time off work to access them. In light of these challenges, IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe (NEN) Division and its Financing Facility for Remittances, in partnership with Moldova’s National Commission for Financial Markets, have begun a project designed to strengthen the country’s Savings and Credit Associations (SCAs) so that they can manage remittance transfers. For over 20 years, SCAs have been Moldova’s main network of local grassroots financial service providers. They are well distributed throughout the country, and in some rural areas are the only financial service providers available. Because of their long history and localized nature, SCAs are considered trustworthy. The project was designed to complement the ongoing IFAD-financed Rural Resilience Project (RRP) active in the area, an effort to provide credit for small and medium enterprises and youth entrepreneurs. It expects that enabling SCAs to process international remittance transfers will enhance the competition among existing service providers and give rural families a reliable alternative to formal access points, such as the cash-based money transfer operators. It also hopes that channelling remittances through localized financial institutions like the SCAs, which can offer services tailored to the specific rural populations they serve, will inspire participants to save some of the money they receive and use it for income-generating activities and longer-term investments. Linking remittances with affordable financial services in this way should allow development activities in the area to reach an even greater potential.

Collaborators

Main Implementer:

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Partners:

National Commission for Financial Markets

Benefit and Impact

Many people living in rural Moldova have benefited from the new remittance services being offered through the SCAs. It represented an easier and closer way to allow rural people to access these flows, often times being the only financial service provider available in the area. A household survey was carried out to identify the dependency of these families on remittances. The survey revealed that these flows account for at least half of the total household income. Giving the option to receive them close to their home could spur their ability to save, have further access to credit, and access financial services for the benefit of their family members.
The positive effects of this project will continue beyond its completion, as the SCAs are vital part of the rural communities and are now empowered to reap the results of having such tools.

Key Lessons

The key challenge was related to the need to avoid contact while scouting for SCAs and designing the project. This was during the initial period of the pandemic, when the situation was unstable and the future unclear. But the people's collaboration was crucial, which supported the first phase of project implementation.
The project relied on strong and committed partners, and the will to work towards a common goal: to provide remittances in rural areas, unlocking opportunities for rural communities. To date, the National Commission for Financial Markets (NCFM) of the Republic of Moldova remains a great partner of IFAD's, and we share their story when we have the opportunity. Lastly, at the eGFRID organized by IFAD on 26 January.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

- Build relationships with your trusted partner
- Know the target community and become entrusted
- Rely on local institutions who know the people
- Show the potential for mainstreaming and upscaling if the project is successful

MOLDOVA The Importance of Remittances

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Innovation

For the first time, the Savings and Credit Associations (SCAs) in the Republic of Moldova have acquired the right tools to manage remittance transfers, thus giving the opportunity to the rural population to access remittances and credit.

There are about 230 SCAs throughout Moldova, 64 of which are able to process deposits for 86 per cent of the entire SCA network’s assets. Out of these, 35 SCAs were selected to pilot this initiative. The project then helped qualifying SCAs become licensed as official remittance transfer agents by the National Bank of Moldova.

On the International Day of Family Remittances (16 June 2020), the project reached its first milestone: the first international transfer was successfully channelled through an SCA. Vangheli Ludmila, a schoolteacher in the rural northern town of Ștefănești, received a transfer from her son Mihai, who works in the United States as a truck driver.

With international remittance transfers under way, the project plans to help all 35 participating SCAs adapt their existing credit and savings products to the needs of remittance recipients. They hope to focus their efforts on products for young people, particularly returning migrants and their families, as they are the most likely customers to apply for financing to launch a new venture.

In total, the project is expected to benefit 4,000 new remittance users and to see savings account balances increase by 10 per cent annually. This would help these families feel more included in local and regional economies – and help increase their incomes and improve their day-to-day lives.

The project is scalable, to include more SCAs throughout the country, and can include additional rural areas of Moldova. This practice is also sustainable, as the project empowered SCAs which have acquired resources and tool to receive remittances in addition to the more traditional services. This goes beyond the project lifeline and ensures uptake by the partner institutions and beneficiaries.

Assessment on eligible SCAs for the pilot initiative was performed remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the survey on Moldovan households was carried out virtually. However, results were drawn and the pilot phase was successfully launched despite the global situation.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Date submitted:

01 February 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.

 

 

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).