In early 2021, the EU’s European Commision (EC), the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) announced a program with a budget of EUR 15 million (USD 17.7 million) intended to utilize digital finance to improve financial inclusion and access to e-commerce for 600,000 women and youth in more than ten countries. One of these is Malawi, where UNCDF’s Digital Finance for Resilience program is working with the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Malawi to support digital finance providers in “managing or growing their agent networks to increase usage of and access to digital financial services and expand financial and digital literacy and innovative products and services that meet the customers’ needs.”
Iris Kissiti, who serves as Digital Finance Coordinator for Malawi at UNCDF said, “Digital transformation plays a key role in Malawi through its impact on improving governing efficiency, transforming the agriculture and energy sector, improving health and education, and addressing inequality. The pace and intensity of digital transformation, however, must ensure that people particularly the youth, women and marginalized groups are not excluded but empowered to use services in their daily lives that leverage innovation and technology and contribute to achieving the SDGs [UN Sustainable Development Goals].”
Created in 1975, the OACPS consists of 79 member nations, of which 48 are in Sub-Saharan Africa, 16 are in the Caribbean, and 15 are in the Pacific. The group’s main objective is to implement the SDGs and promote unity among its member states.
The European Commission, founded in 1951, is the executive body of the EU. It is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU’s treaties and the day-to-day running of the EU. EC has its headquarters in Belgium and also operates offices in Luxembourg as well as “representations” in all EU countries.
Established in 1996 and headquartered in the US city of New York, UNCDF endeavors to create opportunities for poor people and their businesses by increasing access to microfinance and other forms of investment capital. The organization operates in 47 low-income countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific with a particular focus on countries emerging from crises. For 2020, UNCDF had a budget of USD 75 million and supported initiatives providing financial services to 3 million unbanked and underbanked clients.
By Sophie Fiala, Research Associate
Sources and Additional Resources
Malawi Ministry of Finance homepage
Reserve Bank of Malawi homepage
European Commission webpage
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Previous MicroCapital brief on the European Commission
Previous MicroCapital brief on UNCDF
Did you know that MicroCapital publishes the MicroCapital Monitor newspaper each month? Find out more at https://www.microcapital.org/products-page/.