Riley, Thyra Anita

South Asia Finance and Markets Global Practice
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Fields of Specialization
Economics and finance, Microfinance, Financial inclusion
South Asia Finance and Markets Global Practice
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Thyra Riley, now retired, served in several Management, Knowledge Management, and Lead Financial Specialist positions during her 30 year career at the World Bank. The focus of her work was to develop and publish knowledge “based on real experiences with real development impact” and to implement projects that mainstreamed access by the poor to financial services through innovative means including traditional microfinance and digitally enabled financial services. The majority of her career was spent in the Africa Region where as a Lead Financial Sector Specialist her professional responsibilities focused on private sector development, micro and small enterprise finance including investment and business environment reform and establishing investment promotion agencies that promote foreign direct investment that employ the poor in “good jobs”.  As Manager of the Finance, Strategy and Systems group of the General Services Department, Thyra implemented a Renewal Program that off-shored most of GSD’s financial and payment transactions to her team in Chennai India to allow productivity and efficiency gains – a process that relied heavily on digital platforms.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Development of Micro, Small Enterprises and Rural Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa : The World Bank's Strategy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998-03) Riley, Thyra A. ; Steel, William F.
    African governments place high priority on developing their indigenous private sector to participate in and lead future growth. This goal is constrained, in part, by the absence of a diversified financial sector capable of meeting the full range of the private sector's legitimate demand for financial services, especially among small and informal businesses. A related and equally pressing issue is the ability of the self-employed and rural poor to sustain the economic activities essential to their survival. Internationally, a variety of financial institutions have found ways to make lending to the poor sustainable and profitable and to take advantage of the lesson that even the poor self-employed repay their loans and seek savings opportunities. The challenge in Africa is to build capacity in the financial sector drawing on the lessons learned from international best-practice institutions. This strategy is an integral part of the Africa Region Finance Strategy. The principal pillars of the Finance Strategy are an initial focus on achieving a healthy fundamental policy and regulatory environment and concentration on building sound institutions through human resource and systems development. These themes are reflected in this strategy statement, whose chief objective is to support deepening and diversification of financial markets to serve the broad spectrum of entrepreneurs found in African countries, including the self-employed poor.
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    Lesotho’s Garment Exports : Attracting Foreign Direct Investment
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998-01) Riley, Thyra
    Lesotho has built a small but significant manufacturing sector, representing about 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). During the past decade, the sector has increased 14-fold, an exceptional achievement by African standards. This growth was due largely to an export boom of ready-made garments and footwear fueled by foreign investors coming principally from the Republic of South Africa and Asia. Lesotho's success in attracting export oriented foreign direct investment was due primarily to Lesotho's comparative advantage with respect to productive labor and favorable trade arrangements. These advantages were supported and enhanced by a World Bank project which reduced the costs and risks of investment through a policy reform package, the financing of industrial infrastructure, and the establishment of an investment promotion institution and strategy to market the country as an attractive investment site.
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    South Africa : Reducing Financial Constraints to Emerging Enterprises
    ( 1995-09) Riley, Thyra A.
    South Africa's black enterprise sector is a residual employer with an important role to play in improving welfare and alleviating poverty. It is also a source of dynamic and potentially dynamic firms that create wealth and generate employment. The challenge facing South Africa is to design an institutional framework that accords black enterprises much broader access to financial services, training, and technical assistance. That framework is contained in the government's policy paper, National Strategy for the Development and Promotion of Small Business in South Africa. Details of the institutional framework to increase access to financial services by emerging enterprises are discussed here. Like South Africa, many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America face severe unemployment, a stagnant formal economy and a burgeoning informal economy made up of small enterprises which constitute the only means of livelihood for a substantial share of the population. South Africa's efforts to develop its formal financial sector's capacity to serve the needs of small, new businesses offers potentially interesting lessons for other countries.
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    Bringing E-Money to the Poor: Successes and Failures
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017-08-22) Riley, Thyra A. ; Kulathunga, Anoma
    Moving toward universal access to financial services is within reach, thanks to new technologies, transformative business models, and ambitious reforms. Instruments such as e-money accounts and mobile accounts, along with debit cards and low-cost traditional bank accounts, can significantly increase financial access for those who are excluded. Bringing e-Money to the Poor: Successes and Failures examines the lessons of success from four country case studies of “gazelles”―Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand―that leapt from limitation to innovation by successfully enabling the deployment of e-money technology. These countries have thereby transformed the landscape of financial access to their poor. In addition, two country case studies (Maldives and the Philippines) yield lessons learned from constraints that stalled e-money deployments. Because technology is not a silver bullet, the case studies also explore other strategic elements that need to be in place for a country to expand access to financial services through digital technology.