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How Digital Finance is Bringing Change to Peoples’ Lives

In 2014, Mastercard Foundation and UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) formed a partnership to try to replicate and scale a model that had found success in the Pacific region – taking a market development approach to increasing digital financial inclusion. Through the partnership, UNCDF was able to expand the Mobile Money for the Poor programme (MM4P) and test frameworks created in the Pacific in markets that were not yet “on the map.” In 2014, all eyes were still on East Africa, particularly Kenya and Tanzania. To enlarge opportunities, the Mastercard Foundation and UNCDF chose to work in three other countries in West and Southern Africa – Benin, Senegal, and Zambia – all with very low digital financial services (DFS) usage rates.

What happened? The numbers tell a story of great success: Benin has seen DFS usage rates increase from 2% to 40%, Senegal from 13% to 29%, and Zambia from 4% to 44%. But lift under the “hood” of the numbers and you will see the lives of millions of people who are now financially included that weren’t five years ago. To learn more read the reports “Growing digital financial inclusion in Benin”“Growing digital financial inclusion in Senegal” and “Growing digital financial inclusion in Zambia”.

The UN Capital Development Fund makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.

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