#DFS4What

Building Inclusive Digital Economies

Dakar, Senegal - 6 to 8 November 2018

#DFS4What

Building Inclusive Digital Economies

Dakar, Senegal - 6 to 8 November 2018

#DFS4What

Building Inclusive Digital Economies

Dakar, Senegal - 6 to 8 November 2018

#DFS4What

Building Inclusive Digital Economies

Dakar, Senegal - 6 to 8 November 2018

#DFS4What

Building Inclusive Digital Economies

Dakar, Senegal - 6 to 8 November 2018

#DFS4WHAT

Digital Financial Services for What?

Over the past decade, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has invested in projects that use technology to accelerate the access to and usage of financial services. With multiple projects in over 40 countries, UNCDF has been part of many success stories and has built expertise in digital financial services (DFS) that reach the last mile. Launched in 2012, UNCDF MM4P is one of these initiatives.

UNCDF MM4P is leading the organization of a knowledge-sharing event that will bring together partners from multiple initiatives in the digital finance field at UNCDF, such as CleanStart, Jobs, Skills and Finance, Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme and YouthStart.

The event will take place 6–8 November 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. DFS stakeholders from Asia and the Pacific as well as sub-Saharan Africa are invited to participate, in order to share best practices as well as to learn from experts and their peers.

The focus of the event will be on the opportunities that the access to financial services via mobile phones and cards presents in terms of increasing access to a range of services in agriculture, energy, health, education and transportation along with improving the productivity of smallholder farmers as well as the employment of women and youth.

The ‘red thread’ of the 2018 event will be building inclusive digital economies that serve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Financial inclusion via digital solutions is mentioned across the SDGs.

The main objectives will be to expose participants to initiatives in digital finance and digital services as well as to offer a platform to network and explore new business opportunities that can impact the lives of low- and middle-income people and, as a result, to contribute to achievement of the SDGs.

This learning event will provide participants with a forum to discuss key questions: What can data say about clients? How can data analysis influence business development and product design? How can DFS providers and small- and medium enterprises benefit from the data riding on their platforms? And how can these data help measure the contribution of these services to the SDGs?

The theme of the event is empowering vulnerable people (farmers, youth, women, refugees, migrants, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises) to lead healthy, productive lives by using the power of digital technologies in various sectors (finance, agriculture, education, health, water and sanitation, energy, transport).

Why DFS4What?

Mobile phone ownership is increasing in the least developed countries, with some nations, like Senegal, achieving a 90% ownership rate. Internet usage is also growing at a fast pace, reaching 25% per year in developing economies.

According to the World Bank 2017 Global Findex database, the combination of these two factors is driving the rapid growth of DFS in sub-Saharan Africa, where 21% of the adult population has a mobile money account. In Senegal, mobile money account ownership is at 33% and more people now have a mobile money account than a financial institution account.

Despite the progress achieved in DFS outreach, many countries have yet to see the benefits envisioned from a digital economy: “McKinsey Global Institute has estimated that Internet access alone could account for 10% of Africa’s total GDP by 2025, creating 10 million new jobs and generating $70 billion in gains in education, $188 billion in health and $3 billion in agriculture.”*

Mobile wallets, or any other digital payment methods for that matter, offer limited value to low- and middle-income customers if the only benefit is to safely store value. Security is important to people with few resources; however, if the cost associated with storing value in a mobile wallet or a card exceeds that benefit, cash will remain their preferred choice. In other words, if customers cannot perceive the convenience and relevance of a mobile money account, DFS will remain underused.

Diversifying the mobile payment opportunities for women, youth and smallholder farmers is essential to making DFS attractive to customers and to creating a new area of business for DFS incumbents.

*United States Agency for International Development, ‘2017 Digital Download’ (n.p., n.d.). Available from https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/15396/2017-DigitalDownload.pd

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