Today, the European Union (EU), Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) formally announce their partnership to accelerate digital financial inclusion across selected Eastern Caribbean Islands. The Digital Financial Inclusion Programme is a four-year joint initiative signed by the OACPS, funded by the EU and implemented by the UNCDF, with Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) states eligible for services.
Financial inclusion, that is access to a range of appropriately designed financial services (digital payments, credit, insurance, wealth management, etc.) delivered responsibly to underserved individuals and businesses, is an essential tool for eradicating poverty, boosting resilience, and fostering inclusive economic growth.
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. "
Since the launch of the 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.
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.”
The EU, OACPS and UNCDF are delighted to have the opportunity to support government agencies across the Eastern Caribbean in their efforts to improve digital financial access and inclusion. For more information or to contact with inquiry please contact Eastern.Caribbean@uncdf.org.