ECA promotes technology to enhance Africa’s financial inclusion

vera 7Vera Songwe is the executive secretary of ECA. (Image source: ECA)The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is collaborating with the International Financial Corporation (IFC) and Ant Financial (Ant) to promote digital financial inclusion in Africa, through investment and technical capacity building

ECA executive secretary, Vera Songwe, led Ant Financial’s CEO, Eric Jing, and IFC’s vice-president and treasurer, Jingdong Hua, to a meeting with President Mulatu Teshome of Ethiopia.

Addressing a group of journalists right after the meeting, Songwe said, “Essentially, we were talking (with the president) about IT and the power of IT for financial, social and political inclusion.”

She further noted, “Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 say we should leave no one behind, and many people have been asking what happens to SMEs with the AfCFTA. So we are thinking about what platforms we can put together to ensure that not only big companies take advantage of the AFCTA but also small companies.”

“Today, we are bringing Ant Financial, which has the largest platform for financial inclusion and assists people with small financial capacity to be involved in the society,” she further added.

Ant serves more than 650mn people on a daily basis. Eric Jing noted, “we have expanded well beyond China and are recording tremendous success in our effort to bridge the gap between the reach and the poor in many other countries such as India, the Philippines and more.”

The delegations from IFC and Ant Financial also met with some senior staff of the ECA and expressed their willingness to collaborate with the commission to foster inclusive growth on the continent. They were also briefed on what ECA does in line with IT and digital inclusion.

Songwe further highlighted the importance of digital IDs and noted, “We have many displaced people and refugees on the continent without proper official identity. We know that without an identity you are not a complete citizen and life can be challenging.”

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