UNCDF Welcomes New Zealand’s Pledge to Catalyse Inclusive Digital Economies Across the Pacific

Sheldon Chanel
Communications Officer, UNCDF/UNDP Pacific
Veima Bower
Communications Associate, UNCDF Pacific

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) warmly welcomes the Government of New Zealand’s pledge of $NZ6M ($US3.6M) in funding for the flagship Pacific Digital Economy Programme (PDEP) to support initiatives in 11 Pacific countries.

New Zealand’s support will enhance PDEP’s capacity to facilitate the development of inclusive digital economies across the Pacific (Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Solomon Islands) and enabling expansion into Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Expressing New Zealand’s support, the Deputy Secretary for the Pacific Development Group Ms. Bernadette Cavanagah from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand said: “New Zealand is proud to support the Pacific Digital Economy Programme (PDEP), recognising its vital role in advancing our priorities in the Pacific. PDEP’s focus on inclusive digital development aligns seamlessly with our commitment to equitable economic, social, and environmental well-being in the region,”

“Through our funding support, we believe PDEP will catalyse positive change, bridging the digital divide and promoting sustainable growth. Together, we are forging a path towards a more connected, empowered, and prosperous Pacific for all.”

PDEP aims to address critical challenges to financial inclusion such as the transition from cash to digital payments, improving access to banking services and finance, and facilitating access to markets.

The programme will work with partners to leverage digital technology to empower marginalised groups, including women, MSMEs, rural populations, youth, and seasonal or labour mobility workers.

UNCDF Lead for Asia and the Pacific, Maria Perdomo said: “UNCDF is grateful to New Zealand for their support, recognising it as pivotal for UNCDF’s impactful work in the Pacific region,”

“In a region experiencing increasing digital connectivity, PDEP has actively supported innovative solutions such as mobile money and e-commerce platforms, which hold promise in overcoming challenges in financial inclusion, market development, and economic empowerment.”

The new funding will provide a solid foundation for initiatives aimed at promoting access to and usage of inclusive and tailored digital services and solutions for improved quality of life, while enhancing digital and financial literacy and education.

Strengthening these areas will play a crucial role in narrowing the digital divide in the region by addressing the unique needs of last-mile communities, improving livelihoods, and creating new economic opportunities for Pacific Islanders.

PDEP is jointly administered by UNCDF, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with additional funding support from the Governments of Australia and the European Union.

About UNCDF:

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the United Nations’ flagship catalytic financing entity for the world’s 46 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). With its unique capital mandate and focus on the LDCs, UNCDF works to invest and catalyse capital to support these countries in achieving the sustainable growth and inclusiveness envisioned by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Doha Programme of Action for the least developed countries, 2022–2031.For more information visit https://www.uncdf.org

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