A consortium led by Nathan was commissioned to run the Management Unit of the $67m Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening Initiative (FIRST). FIRST is a multi-donor programme aimed at building strong and growth-oriented financial systems in low- and middle-income countries. It provided technical assistance grants to enable national policymaking and regulatory bodies to refine their policies and build their capacity to regulate, supervise, and develop the financial sector in their country.

In total, Nathan designed well over 200 technical assistance projects in 64 developing and transition countries, and prepared 150 project completion reports worldwide.

All told, we designed well over 200 technical assistance projects in 64 developing and transition countries and prepared 150 project completion reports. By region, projects numbered as follows:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa 96
  • Europe/ Central Asia 45
  • Latin America/Caribbean 40
  • East Asia and Pacific 25
  • South Asia 21
  • Middle East/North Africa 12
  • Global 6

Examples of FIRST projects include the following:


FIRST supported a project to improve access to capital markets by small and medium sized firms; supported the development of the financial sector’s regulatory framework and information and management systems and supported the design of investment products and training for lenders.
Colombia. FIRST projects helped make microfinance available for housing, in addition to simplifying risk management, application processes, regulatory frameworks, and guarantee structures.


FIRST assisted in financial sector development by advising on licensing and credit bureaus, assessing private pension and insurance scheme standards, and managing a capital market development project.

Southern Africa

FIRST supported a project to improve supervision of nonbank financial institutions, devised business and implementation plans and recommendations on legislative and regulatory changes.

FIRST was known for its professionalism, responsiveness, and a partnership approach that led to a multitude of highly successful projects. An independent evaluation commissioned by FIRST’s Governing Council confirmed that donors, country authorities, and international agencies all regarded FIRST as an important source of short-term technical assistance.

 All Projects