On May 27, the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) in partnership with UNCDF launched a joint new initiative of €14.5 million to unlock the potential of digital finance to benefit more than 600,000 women, youth and entrepreneurs across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
During the launch event, H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary-General of the OACPS declared that “through the implementation of this initiative, and by adopting a macro/meso/micro approach, accessible, affordable, responsible, reliable, and appropriate digital financial services and digital solutions will be developed and deployed.” The Secretary-General also recalled that this initiative is in line with the third pillar of the Joint ACP-EU Private Sector development Strategy adopted in 2014, which seeks to foster financial inclusion.
As we all know, Covid-19 has changed the way many of us live our lives. The pandemic is being especially harmful to those who generally earn less, save less, hold more insecure jobs and, therefore, have less capacity to absorb economic shocks – these are the most vulnerable people, mostly women and youth.
Digital finance allows for payments, deposits and credit by making use of mobile or digital applications. Digital finance also creates new opportunities for businesses and individuals in all regions of the world, both in urban and rural communities.
While working with OACPS partners in each region, the programme will enhance capacities of policy-makers and regulators, and provide support for key policy reforms in digital transformation and digital finance regulations. In addition, the programme will improve the early response to emergencies, ensure improved decision-making and market oversight to accelerate economic recovery and promote long term resilience. Furthermore, it will create and strengthen digital finance ecosystems, including innovative financial services, building the rails for digital payments, credits, insurance and supporting the design, test and scale up of innovations, to support low-income individuals, such as women and youth. It will also assist micro-small and medium enterprises in mitigating immediate external shocks or emergencies, and seizing economic opportunities linked to crowdfunding and digital microfinance.
This initiative is in line with the EU’s Digital 4 Development Hub, aimed at building strong ties across the globe to make the digital revolution an opportunity for everyone.