Team Europe Supports African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries to Access Finance Through Digital Technology

The European Commission, together with the Organization of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), has signed a new initiative of €14.5 million with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to unlock the potential of digital finance to benefit more than 600,000 women, youth and entrepreneurs across African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
“Today more than ever, digital technologies have a central role to increase access and usage of affordable financial products and services that meet people and business needs -as well as accelerate economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This is why, as reflected in our EU Strategy with Africa, we want to join forces with Africa to foster a digital transformation that also helps us close the digital gender divide,” said Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships. “If we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, digital solutions are key to create more jobs and improve basic services such as health and education.”

“Our work responding to COVID-19 in 2020 showed that access to digital finance and infrastructure was a major determinant of how resilient societies and businesses were in the face of the shocks caused by the pandemic”, said Henri Dommel, UNCDF Director of Financial Inclusion. “This partnership with the EU will boost the response to the pandemic and economic recovery of ACP countries using digital finance as a tool to reach the last mile.”

Mobile money is the provision of financial services through mobile technologies. It allows for the paying of bills and receiving money by the use of mobile apps. Mobile money also creates new opportunities for businesses and individuals as it grows in all regions of the world, both in urban and rural communities. Nevertheless, there is a long way to go as 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked, especially women and youth. This represents 46% of adults in the developing countries.

Thanks to this EU funded initiative, UNCDF will support key policy reforms for digital transformation as well as create inclusive financial services tailored to the needs of women and youth, including innovative savings products and credit.

The joint action will be implemented in different countries in Africa (Gabon, Niger, Malawi and Ethiopia) as well as in the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago and Eastern Caribbean States) and in the Pacific region (Vanuatu, Samoa, Timor Leste, Tonga and Fiji).

This initiative is fully in line with the recent launch of the new Digital 4 Development Hub, aimed at building strong ties across the globe to make the digital revolution an opportunity for everyone.

Contacts:

European Commission
Ana PISONERO HERNANDEZ (+32 2 295 43 20)
Gesine KNOLLE (+32 2 295 43 23)
For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
Karima WARDAK
Karima.Wardak@uncdf.org

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Background

The coronavirus global health crisis is severely harming livelihoods and sending hundreds of millions into poverty. Although economic recovery appears far off, the crisis has also encouraged incentives for economic transformation, demonstrating the immediate benefits of financial inclusion. In spite of the progress made in the past ten years, supporting digital finance remains critical for governments and individuals to create a conducive ecosystem for economic recovery and to provide a tangible response to coronavirus.

Although much is still unknown of the socioeconomic consequences of the coronavirus on women and youth, the disease is especially harmful to those who generally earn less, save less, hold more insecure jobs and, therefore, have less capacity to absorb economic shocks. The situation for women and youth in Least Developed Countries (LDC) is likely to deteriorate faster than in more developed countries.

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