UPU selects first countries to benefit from new financial inclusion program

The UPU has announced it is set to roll out digital financial services projects in countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, reaching as many as 800,000 people and businesses. UPU director general Bishar A Hussein revealed the plans during a panel session titled ‘Boosting financial inclusion through mobile money’ during the UNCTAD Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi.

The first operators to benefit from the UPU’s Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility (FITAF) program in 2019 will be the posts of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Rwanda in Africa; Kiribati and Nauru in Micronesia; Pakistan and Vietnam in Asia; and Tonga in Polynesia. The FITAF program focuses on advancing financial inclusion and the digitization of postal financial services.

Speaking during the panel session, 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”. He continued: “We are building partnerships with international donors and the private sector to support the posts in their digital journey.”

FITAF helps posts build capacity to offer 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 program also contributes to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by leveraging the post’s role as a public services provider.

The projects announced will help four posts 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.