African Postal Financial Services Initiative
The African Postal Financial Services Initiative (APFSI)
The African Postal Financial Services Initiative (APFSI) was a unique broad-based partnership led by IFAD’s Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR), and bringing together the World Bank, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). It was co-financed by the European Union (EU).
The joint goal of this regional programme was to enhance competition in the African remittance marketplace through supporting and enabling African post offices in offering financial services. More specifically, it aimed at promoting a cheaper, faster, more convenient and more client-friendly transfer of remittances, particularly to rural areas, while fostering dialogue among stakeholders, regulators and policymakers.
APFSI rolled out a large technical assistance programme involving private-sector stakeholders, regulators and policymakers in four countries: Benin, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal. This programme supported the national postal operators (NPOs) to enhance their impact in the remittance market, with the ultimate objective of increasing access to finance for rural populations through post offices. Coordinated efforts among all of the programme’s partner international organizations and NPOs of the four countries resulted in the provision of extensive technical assistance on a broad range of components. These included assessment of legislative and regulatory frameworks, assistance for financial-sector compliance, development of effective business and financial management plans and marketing strategies, and the provision of equipment, among others.
On the basis of the results obtained in the four selected countries, and following an in-depth analysis of the situation in seven additional countries, APFSI – in coordination with these four countries’ NPOs – developed medium-term road maps designed to be used as guides for modernization of the existing postal networks and for broadening of their range of remittances and financial services.