Click here to learn more about the Impact Organisation
In Myanmar, 58% of adults have irregular daily incomes, and resort to loans to meet essential daily expenses such as food and healthcare. Informal moneylenders charge predatory interest rates (typically 10-150% per month), leaving poor families caught in debt traps. Studies have shown that the psychological pressure that accompanies debt traps cause people to think short term and reduces their cognitive abilities, which further reduces their ability to escape from debt. Debt has dire consequences such as modern slavery (which affects 515,000 people in Myanmar), which includes debt bondage, forced labour, human trafficking, forced marriage and child slavery. With their labour-intensive lending practices, Myanmar’s regulated lenders (banks, microfinance institutions) fail to meet the needs of the economically vulnerable, leaving 6 million people to borrow from informal moneylenders.
ZigWay has created a mobile application and full back office that gives people direct access to affordable Nano Loans via their phones. These are cheap, flexible loans between 5,000ks and 200,000ks that help the economically vulnerable bridge income gaps. Our software is also interoperable, allowing any formal lender or any mobile money provider to connect with low income families. By making Nano Loans readily available, we can change the power dynamic between the poor and powerbrokers who exploit them, and help stop people from falling into debt traps. Our software also transforms the poor into cost-effective customers for formal lenders. Our target segment are women aged 18-60 whose households earn up to $300/month. As these women are low adopters of technology, ZigWay has built a hybrid Super-User distribution model. Super-Users are borrowers who are smart phone savvy and can help people sign up for loans and takes care of loan disbursements and repayments via mobile money. Our partners include Yoma Bank, Population Services International and Wave Money.