Driving Systems Change with Big Data

Pictured above: Ariel Henry, Prime Minister of Haiti

Waterloo, ON– MEDA and USAID launch a critical financial survey to strengthen Haiti’s business ecosystem. MEDA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently launched an important survey that will provide policymakers, service providers, donors, and NGOs with much-needed data to inform how best to facilitate systems change in Haiti’s micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) ecosystem. The FinScope Haiti MSME Survey 2021 was unveiled at The FinScope MPSE Survey, Haiti 2022: Towards a more resilient economic recovery forum. FinMark Trust (FMT), a South-Africa based non-profit trust organization, is conducting the survey.

A lack of timely, reliable knowledge on specific industries has made it difficult to establish data-driven policies that support the growth of Haiti’s MSMEs. The 2021 FinScope survey will fill this gap by generating pertinent information on the specific needs of different MSME industry sectors. The data will allow Haitian government and market actors to better define and understand different categories of MSMEs, by income, by challenges, by their market behavior and how they respond to shocks.

The FinScope MSME survey is being conducted within a challenging socio-political and security context in Haiti, explains Claude Clodomir, MEDA’s Chief of Party in Haiti. The timing of the survey is critical for the development of a responsive Haitian National Financial Inclusion Strategy (SNIF) and Haiti’s National Financial Education Plan (PNEF). “The survey’s findings can have a positive impact on Haitian businesses,” he adds. “Haitian legislators, regulators, social planners, researchers, and the financial services and business advisory services sector need a credible baseline to make data-driven decisions and policies that target the MSME sector.”

The survey results will help to develop a clearer and more precise picture of the country’s MSME ecosystem in order to identify the best leverage points to create longer-term change for a more inclusive financial ecosystem for MSMEs. Systems change is difficult to achieve without data.

To provide technical guidance to the survey initiative, MEDA has established a seventeen-member Steering Committee. “We strongly believe that local ownership and collective effort is essential to sustain the results of donor-funded programs and create lasting systems change,” Clodomir explains. “The committee represents key government ministries, the national statistics institute, the tax directorate, research universities, chambers of commerce, banks, credit unions, microfinance institutions, and mobile payment providers.”

The foundation for the FinScope 2021 Survey was established in 2021 when MEDA and the Central Bank of Haiti signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on research initiatives. These include surveys and various assessments that contribute to Haiti’s existing data platforms and help to inform policy. FinScope 2021 is a follow-up to FinScope 2018, which included highlights such as that 46% of the Haitian population does not have a financial service, and only 11% have a bank account. Among this financially-excluded group are women and youth. The 2021 survey will target these groups and provide a report that addresses their needs.

This survey aligns with the three principles that guide MEDA’s work: Agri-food market systems, partnership for systems-level impact, and North-South equilibrium. In line with these three principles, MEDA is helping build robust market systems and create partnerships with local organizations for systems-level impact. It is further helping transfer power by providing MSMEs with the tools to create more substantial businesses and a more inclusive financial ecosystem. Overall, the survey will contribute to MEDA’s overarching goal of creating or sustaining decent work for half a million people by 2030. To date, FinScope surveys have been conducted in 34 countries. Further details on these surveys are available from www.finmark.org.za.

About MEDA’s ATTEINDRE project:

ATTEINDRE (ATTAIN in English) a four-year activity funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by MEDA. In partnership with local partners, MEDA will impact 30,000 MSMEs through enhanced productivity, greater access to inclusive financial products and services (including digital payments), and indirectly by increasing the incomes of women, men, young people, and families through resilient business growth and job creation.

Find out more by visiting meda.org/atteindre.

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