Digital payment platform in North Sri Lanka

This partnership promotes economic growth through financial inclusion by providing mobile savings and payment technology to people in North Sri Lanka.

Development in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province has been hampered by a history of armed conflict. Deficits in electronic financial infrastructure have stalled local economic growth and resulted in 1.1 million unbanked and underserved people in terms of financial and digital services.

Dialog is rolling out an inclusive digital payment platform across 200 rural villages in the Northern Province. The platform incorporates eZ Cash (mobile money), ATMs and point of sale (POS) terminals to provide access to savings account, loans and payment systems.

DFAT provide critical co-investment, and assist in the development of a culturally appropriate pilot, with expertise in development and measuring social impact.

Ernst & Young (EY) play a central role in bringing together the design and implementation aspects of the business model.

Location of partnership

Partnership aims

  • Enable remote, hard-to-reach communities to access a digital payment retail system that reduces inward remittance costs, travel time and costs for consumers.
  • Develop financial and digital literacy for consumers to facilitate a more sophisticated approach to household savings, new financial products, and enable a more secure cash-handling environment through the localisation of financial services.
  • Provide necessary community training and capacity building to enable entrepreneurs to operate, and a new source of income for small retailers.
  • Encourage new business opportunities for small retailers providing new financial services.
  • Grow an ecosystem of broader service provision stimulating entrepreneurial activity.

Key facts




Gender equality

This initiative promotes gender equality by:

  • Promoting women’s economic empowerment through supporting women retailers to adopt eZ Cash ATM or POS and receive commission from this service.
  • Enabling women and men to access lower cost remittances, savings and loans services, and reduce risks associated with travelling and carrying large amounts of cash.

eZ Cash will use existing networks in the Northern Province to inform women, and ensure at least 20 per cent of the acquired new retailer base are women. The initiative directly empowers women entrepreneurs by increasing income and boosting financial capability. Female retailers encourage other women to use the service, reducing cultural barriers and financial exclusion. 

Shared value

This partnership creates shared value by:

  • reconceiving products and markets
  • enabling local cluster development.

It enables Dialog to extend their Sri Lankan digital transaction platform to underserviced regions. This helps Dialog expand their customer base and revenue from additional business offerings. Customers benefit by gaining access to financial and digital services including savings, loans and digital payment mechanisms.

By working with small retailers, Dialog supports the creation of a cohort of around 200 digital entrepreneurs. This initiative benefits women by empowering female entrepreneurs, providing training and employment to female retailers and increasing access to financial services.

The inclusive digital financial platform lays the foundation for the delivery of further impact driven digital services in health, education and government services.  The platform will support the creation of a growing ecosystem of broader service provision and opportunities for local small business who can take advantage of the new services. The integration infrastructure connects customer mobile wallets to ATMs and POS devices, i.e. using an ATM to withdraw eZ Cash on mobile phones.

What is shared value?

Shared value is defined as policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of companies while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions where they operate. To qualify as shared value, there must be an identifiable economic benefit to the company as well as measurable impact on a social or environmental issue. The BPP is helping businesses partner with the Australian aid program in achieving shared value – advancing both social and economic objectives. These partnerships are primarily being created in one or more of the following ways:

  • Reconceiving products and markets
  • Redefining productivity in the value chain
  • Enabling local cluster development

Partner information

Dialog Axiata

Dialog Axiata PLC is a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad and operates Sri Lanka’s largest and fastest growing mobile telecommunications network. The company delivers advanced mobile telephone and high speed broadband services to a subscriber base in excess of 10 million Sri Lankans.

Dialog is a founding member of the UN Global Compact Local Network in Sri Lanka. As activities are directly related to their core business, Dialog lead and manage most aspects of this initiative.

Dialog logo  

Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young (EY) is one of the world’s largest professional services firms, offering assurance, tax, consulting and advisory services in 150 countries.

EY contribute social impact advisory expertise, contacts from the digital and ICT and financial services spaces, and access to their Global Entrepreneurship Program and Women’s Advancement Practice.

EY logo  

Last Updated: 20 October 2017