FDP Finance


A quarter of the world’s 65 million forcibly displaced people (FDPs) live in sub-Saharan Africa. This includes 4.4 million refugees (who have been forced to flee their own countries) and 10.7 million internally displaced people. Large refugee populations exist in many countries in which the FSD Network has a presence, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zambia and D.R. Congo.

The number of FDPs is growing every year and displacements are also lasting for longer. A total of 42% of refugees have been displaced for five or more years. Increasingly forcibly displaced populations tend to be geographically stable, urban, connected and economically active. However, they remain excluded from financial services that play a key role in their survival and livelihood strategies.

The FSD Africa approach

The FSD Africa approach aims to challenge the status quo of aid delivery to the FDP population in Africa. By energising financial markets to deliver welfare-enhancing outcomes for FDPs, we hope to complement the traditional direct delivery of relief. We believe, with the right rules and incentives, the market could deliver to certain segments within the FDP population efficiently, at scale, and on a lasting basis. To learn more about the FSD Africa approach, take a look at our latest blog on the topic.

What is FSD Africa doing?

FSD Africa is working in partnership with The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), national governments and the FSD Network to support the development of market-based solutions to the financial needs of forcibly displaced people and their host communities.

The first phase of FSD Africa’s FDP work has focused on Rwanda with plans to expand to Uganda and beyond. This work was launched in June 2017, the day before World Refugee Day, in partnership with the Government of Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR)UNHCRAccess to Finance Rwanda (AFR). To maintain momentum, FSD Africa has three major initiatives: an Innovation Challenge, Research report and Design Sprint.

In December 2017, and to maintain momentum following the Design Sprint, FSDA and AFR will award £10,000 to up to 4 financial service providers with the most promising refugee finance product concepts. After this initial round of grant support, up to 3 will be awarded up to £150,000 of investment each by FSDA and AFR to develop and launch the product at scale in 2018.

  • Research report

In partnership with Bankable Frontier Associates, FSD Africa is producing market intelligence on ‘Refugees and their Money.’ This will generate data from across Africa which will determine the business case for serving displaced people and their communities. The data and associated tools will bring together macro-level information on the scope of the opportunity across Africa with micro-level research on financial behaviours of certain groups of refugees in Rwanda. Early findings were shared at the end of October at a breakfast meeting in Rwanda with over 40 financial service providers. This research will be launched in full soon but you can see an initial brief: Refugees and their Money.

  • FDP Design Sprint

From the 1st-3rd of November, FSD Africa brought two worlds together by inviting 5 financial service providers into the Gihembe refugee community in Rwanda to participate in a Product Design Sprint. This involved rapid learning, ideation, prototyping and testing of innovative new products based on the specific needs of a refugee community.

NB. FSD Africa reserves the right to make final decisions during all stages of this process.

For any questions, please contact Howard Miller, howard@fsdafrica.org.