Colombia—Equitable Finance Activity

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2022-2027

Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

Country: Colombia

Solutions: Economic Growth

Colombia is a financial inclusion and innovation leader in Latin America and, at the national level, boasts financial access rates comparable to many developed economies. However, there remains a stark divide between prosperous urban centers and rural municipalities. Decades of armed conflict have devastated the economy of rural Colombia, and rural municipalities remain on the fringe of financial sector innovation, separated by poor physical infrastructure, limited connectivity, and pervasive security challenges.

The Colombia Equitable Finance Activity partners with these underserved populations, the financial services sector, and the Government of Colombia to address the demand, supply, and enabling environment constraints that limit access to formal financial services for rural and conflict-affected Colombians.

On the demand side, the project improves the financial and digital capabilities of individuals and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to bolster economic activity and social stability, drive financial product uptake and customer performance, and increase household income and assets.

On the supply side, it partners with the full range of Colombian financial services providers to design and deploy conventional and digital formal financial services that cater to the specific requirements of underserved communities.

For the enabling environment, the team works to enhance the availability of actionable data on the financial lives of underserved communities and on the broader regulatory environment for financial inclusion.

In line with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Regional Integration Strategy, EFA prioritizes five economic corridors of Programas de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial (PDET) municipalities, representing areas most affected by the conflict and home to 3 million Colombians, with 203 municipalities covered, thanks to more than 20 partnerships signed between private and public financial sector.

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Sample Activities

  • Support the Government of Colombia to identify and address the barriers hindering the operationalization of the National Financial Inclusion and Economic and Financial Education Policy by convening stakeholders in the market system from the national to the municipal level to co-create solutions.
  • Strengthen, contextualize, and scale the existing array of business development services in Colombia to meet the needs of underserved MSMEs.
  • Provide technical assistance to financial services providers to accelerate the development, testing, and scaling of traditional and digital-first financial products tailored to the needs of populations and primary value chains in the priority municipalities.
  • Establish financial observatories that increase the availability of public, actionable data on the financial lives of underserved populations.
  • Design instruments to raise private capital for firms—including MSMEs—and projects in sectors and regions prioritized by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Government of Colombia, and assist the Government in increasing and maximizing the impact of its investments and de-risking mechanisms.


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