The UNCDF strategy ‘Leaving no one behind in the digital era’ is based on over a decade of experience in digital financial inclusion in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. UNCDF leverages digital finance in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve the vision of promoting inclusive digital economies.
Over the past decade, mobile money and agent banking have reached scale due, in no small part, to initiatives led by the Financial Inclusion team at UNCDF in emerging and developing economies. With its growing body of knowledge and expertise in the sector, it has become clear to UNCDF that digital finance is the primary route to financial inclusion. However, financial inclusion is not the end goal; it is a means to multiple ends. Meaningful digital financial inclusion has to provide outlets for low-income accountholders to engage in the economy in order to meet their daily needs and to improve their skills, productivity and marketability in the digital-economy age. To do so, we must strive to make sure no one is left with just basic voice, messaging and mobile money services; everyone should be able to access, use and benefit from a broad range of meaningful services built on digital platforms. Digital financial services are foundational, in that they enable local entrants to innovate in markets, provide sustainability to new services, and create marketplaces for a wide range of products and services—both digital and non-digital.
Digital financial inclusion is directly contributing to the emergence of digital economies, and vice versa.
The goal of UNCDF is to empower millions of people by 2024 to use services daily that leverage innovation and technology and contribute to the SDGs. To achieve this vision UNCDF uses a market development approach and continuously seeks to address underlying market dysfunctions that exclude people living in the last mile.
UNCDF provides capital and technical support through Inclusive Digital Economy programmes to ensure that more households and small businesses gain access to services that expand opportunities and reduce vulnerabilities. The ability of UNCDF to provide risk capital directly to the private sector is helping bring new products and services to under-served and hard to reach markets and spurring innovations. Through flexible grant and loan instruments UNCDF supports a wide range of products and services in various sectors ranging from finance to agriculture, education, health and transportation. This entails working with the public and the private sector to ensure that the services match in particular the needs of key segments such as youth, women, migrants, refugees, and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
For more on our strategy “Leaving no one behind in the digital era” please download our brochure.