UNCDF works in Zambia to promote accessible digital economies focused on how innovation and technology can increase access to critical services for the underserved and vulnerable groups for sustainable and inclusive local development. Key segments include youth, women, MSMEs and refugees.
UNCDF works with public and private sector to meet the Sustainable Development Goals through the creation of a Digital Economy.
UNCDF is implementing the Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Economy 2019 – 2024 Strategy, with the goal to build digital economies that support women, youth, refugees, migrants and MSMEs to enhance their market participation, resulting in poverty reduction, improved livelihoods and economic growth.
Working in sectors such as agriculture, health, energy among others, UNCDF in Zambia relies on a market development approach, which will address market constraints to accelerate the development of digital economies at the country level with the government, private sector and academia with specific attention placed on the development of the right services to reduce the digital divide and promote sustainable solutions.
The approach is organized into 4 key workstreams:
- Enabling Policy: Working with government to develop policies that support and incubate an inclusive digital economy;
- Open Payment Ecosystem: Understanding the importance of digital payments as the basis for economically impactful digital services;
- Inclusive Innovation: Supporting entrepreneurs and MSMEs to build inclusive services for the digital economy that improve livelihoods;
- Empowered Customers: Recognizing the need for users to acquire the necessary skills (digital and financial) to adopt new digital services.
To implement this robust and results-driven strategy, UNCDF has received funding support from Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), as well as collaborating with key local entities that can shape and drive the development of an inclusive digital economy.
One example of this work involves a partnership between UNCDF and the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), funded by the India-UN Partnership Fund, to digitalize utility payments and thus drive digital and financial inclusion for many of Zambia’s underserved customers. Both UNCDF and UNOSSC aim to work with Zambia’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) to increase the availability and usage of utilities for women and youth, in particular.