Expanding Ethiopia’s Agent Networks Through Innovative Digital Solutions
Agent networks play a critical role in the uptake of digital financial services. They make financial transactions easier as they improve accessibility and offer convenience. Consequently, agent networks have expanded financial inclusion to underserved and marginalized groups such as women, youth, and rural communities.
Supporting digital transformation in Malawi
The Malawi Digital Economy Strategy clearly states that digital technologies have the possibility to radically transform the economy and if correctly leveraged, will forge new pathways to inclusive growth. However, there are challenges in coordination between and within government departments, private sector and development partners. Lack of coordination and the shortage of technical skills in the country may lead to imperfect distribution in digitization investments and increase the likelihood of failed projects, and further foster inequality.
Effective Regulation for Fintech Innovations in the Pacific
As more innovative technologies are introduced to solve key financial services challenges in Pacific and global financial markets, regulators and policymakers must adapt with agile policy responses to harness the benefits.
The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) recently supported Sateki Seau and Pateli Vailea from the Reserve Bank of Tonga (RBT), and Fatima dos Reis and Ivonia Pereira Amaral from Banco Central De Timor Leste, to be part of the Cambridge FinTech and Regulatory Innovation Course (CFTRI). The course explores how digitalisation and technology-enabled business models have re-shaped financial services, such as sending, receiving and storing money, globally and have moved from the exclusive domains of banks to non-bank actors and FinTechs.
Accelerating digital financial inclusion across selected Eastern Caribbean Islands.
Since the launch of OACPS-EU the Digital Finance Inclusion programme in February 2022, the UNCDF has worked to provide technical assistance to multiple government agencies across the Eastern Caribbean in the areas of – policy acceleration, training and technical support around financial technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion. David Mogollon, European Union Head of Cooperation to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS, and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, stated: “This partnership is launched with the intention to grow the digital economy and reduce financial vulnerability in Trinidad and Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean. It is important to ensure adults have affordable and convenient options to send and receive money when in need, use low-cost digital payment services, and access different forms of finance to increase their financial resilience.”
In 2023, the UNCDF aims to work in close collaboration with government partners and private sector stakeholders to support activities that promote an enabling environment for e-money and FinTech, establish financial inclusion initiatives, and deploy grants to scale-up promising innovations for financial inclusion. The UNCDF’s Regional Digital Finance Specialist for the Eastern Caribbean, Ms. Helen Gradstein, said: “We are encouraged by the commitment of Trinidad and Tobago and Eastern Caribbean policymakers in accelerating digital financial inclusion. Understanding the unique financial needs of individuals is a first step to achieving a financially inclusive society. Recent efforts to establish key initiatives including conducting surveys, establishing Innovation Hubs and working to strengthen payment infrastructures will all be good practices to accelerate financial inclusion across the region.”
New partnership with Zamani Telecom, for the distribution of digital financial services in Niger
On June 30, 2022, UNCDF signed an agreement with Zamani Telecom SA. This partnership will allow the operator to multiply its points of sale in order to make Digital Financial Services (DFS) accessible to 100,000 Nigeriens.
Vast territory with an area of 1,266,491 km², the coverage of GSM networks in Niger is concentrated in urban areas. As a result, the use of mobile financial services is unevenly distributed across the country. However, in the unserved localities, the populations wish the development of these inexpensive, secure local services which require less contact.
On this occasion, Alassane Diene, CEO of Zamani Telecom, explained: “Zamani Telecom wants to be a responsible corporate citizen at the service of the entire community. This is why we are constantly looking for solutions likely to facilitate the lives and professional activities of our fellow citizens in order to contribute to the development of society”. UNCDF’s action also aims to contribute to Niger’s economic recovery, especially when the country’s economic growth fell from 3.4% in 2020 to 1.3% in 2021. This new partnership with Zamani Telecom is part of the program “Leveraging digital finance to increase resilience in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries” also called DFS4Resilience.
Niger is the first West African country to benefit from the DFS4Resilience program, which is funded by the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).