The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has officially rolled out a digital financial services project that is set to reach as many as 800,000 people and businesses across Africa, Asia and the Pacific under its Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility (FITAF) in 2019.
On Thursday, 13 December 2018 UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein announced that the Posts of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kiribati, Nauru, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tonga and Viet Nam would be the first to benefit from the programme, which focuses on advancing financial inclusion and the digitization of postal financial services.
Speaking at a panel session titled “Boosting financial inclusion through mobile money” during UNCTAD’s Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi, Mr Hussein said the UPU was “acting concretely to develop digital finance through the Post on the ground to the benefits of the underserved populations and businesses.”
“We are building partnerships with international donors and the private sector to support the Posts in their digital journey,” added the Director General.
According to the World Bank, 1.7 billion adults still lack access to formal financial services. One billion of those excluded are women. With more than 670,000 outlets reaching some of the world’s remotest areas, the Post is a perfect partner for expanding financial inclusion.
FITAF helps Posts build capacity to offer the digital financial services that can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, giving citizens a safe place to keep their money and enabling small businesses to access the financing they need to grow and contribute to the economy. The programme also contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by leveraging the Post’s role as a public services provider.
The projects announced will help four postal operators set up mobile financial solutions for payments, savings and insurance services, and five others to understand and explore the opportunities in digital finance.
Through FITAF, the UPU aims to implement 20 innovative digital postal financial services projects by the end of 2020. A second call for projects was also announced during the meeting.