On February 7, 2019, USAID celebrated the launching of its award with Nudge Lebanon, a local NGO focusing on low cost interventions that improve lives through better decision making. This new partnership will enable greater access to the financial system of Lebanon with a focus on women. The event was held at the Bristol Hotel in the presence of USAID Economic Growth Office Director Dr. William Butterfield and an assembly of economists, academics, Banque Du Liban Representatives, and representatives from international development organizations.
This initiative will facilitate at least 1,500 new bank accounts for previously unbanked women. It will test how small interventions, or “nudges,” can be effective at encouraging saving and achieve greater financial stability for their households and/or businesses.
During the event, Nudge Lebanon founder Dr. Fadi Makki introduced the concept of behavioral change through nudging, focusing on increasing access to, and use of, financial services by unbanked women. Dr. Makki went on to state: “We look forward to working with partners and stakeholders in the financial inclusion value chain, from policymaking to implementation, to facilitate access to finance for women.”
Dr. Butterfield highlighted the major challenges faced by working and non-working women in Lebanon and emphasized the U.S. government support in addressing these challenges through committed partners such as Nudge Lebanon. Dr. Butterfield continued “This USAID project will work closely with Banque Du Liban (BDL), commercial banks, and microfinance institutions, to implement simple, low cost measures that will improve access to financial services and savings for women.”
This $223,000 award represents part of USAID’s five-year Lebanon Livelihoods and Inclusive Finance Expansion (LIFE) project to strengthen livelihoods, advance financial inclusion, and improve Lebanese small businesses in order to improve economic opportunities for under-served entrepreneurs and recipients of microfinance services. Since 2007, the U.S. government has provided nearly $5 billion dollars in assistance to Lebanon, more than $1.2 billion dollars in economic assistance to the Lebanese people. This includes U.S. government funded programs that support inclusive economic growth and education, and are aimed at reducing poverty and improving the provision of public services.