By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- It was launch at the Bank’s Annual meetings in Malabo Equatorial Guinea, support by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Agence Francaise Development (AFD) and the Government of Luxembourg as initial contributions.
AFDB’S Vice President, Pierre Guislain, Private Sector Infrastructure and Industrialization, said the result the Bank is attempting to achieve is that, at least 320 million more Africans of which nearly, 60% are women, have access to digital financial services.
The fund will deploy $100 million in grants and $300 million in the form of debt from the Bank’s ordinary capital resources by 2030, to scale up electronic financial services for low income communities.
“We believe that with the right investments in innovation and smart digital growth, the obstacles to achieving financial inclusion and greater economic opportunity for all will be overcome”, African Development Bank President Akinwunmi Adesina said.
The interventions will be bisected to four pillars; infrastructure, including digital and payments system; digital products and innovations; policy and regulatory reform and harmonization; and capacity building. It will help to close the transaction gender gap between men and women.
Africa saw double digit growth in mobile phone ownership in the first half of the decade, triggering a surge in innovative digital tools and services across the continent. Yet, the benefits are not shared equally. It is estimated that, only 43% of adult across Africa have a banking account.
“With ADFI, we are convinced that our joint efforts can contribute efficiently to bring down the barriers that still undermine the full potential of digital finance in Africa. It will enhance the delivery of quality and responsible digital financial services to the underserved, a cornerstone to inclusive and sustainable financial systems,” said se’bastien minet, AFD’S Deputy Head for Africa.
“AFD welcomes the specific attention that will be given to women’s digital financial inclusion in the evaluation of the projects to be supported”.
ADFI will work with banks and non-bank financial institutions, mobile network operators, remittance and payment service provides fintech companies, government Ministries, regulatory bodies as well as regional economic organizations.
“Luxembourg believes that poverty reduction and social cohesion go hand in hand with economic empowerment and financial inclusion. ADFI provides an excellent platform for Luxembourg to combine its focus on economic inclusion with its Fintech orientation for the benefit of Africa’s poor,” said Georges Heine, Alternate Governor for the African Development Bank from the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance.
Three members panel inclusively Bank Vice President Pierre Guislan, Private sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization discussed modalities, expected challenges and policy requirements that must be in place to enable the fund achieve.
For New Africa Business News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent