The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is partnering with Ant Financial (Ant) and International Financial Corporation (IFC) to promote digital financial inclusion in Africa using investments and technical capacity building.
Vera Songwe, ECA Executive Secretary, led Ant Financial’s CEO, Eric Jing, and IFC’s VP and Treasurer, Jingdong Hua, to a meeting with President Mulatu Teshome of Ethiopia.
Addressing a group of journalists right after the meeting, Ms. Songwe said “Essentially, we were talking (with the president) about IT and the power of IT for financial, social and political inclusion.”
The Executive Secretary 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.”
Ms. Songwe added that “We have an opportunity to leapfrog technology for social, financial and political inclusion,” adding “today, we are bringing Ant Financial, which has the largest platform for financial inclusion and assists people with very small financial capacity to be involved in the society.”
Ant CEO, Eric Jing, said the company reaches over 650 million people on a daily basis. He stated that “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.”
Ms. Songwe also explained the importance of digital IDs, noting that “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. So we are trying to see how we can go from getting identities to getting financial and social inclusion particularly for youth and women.”