Partnership formed to advance digital inclusion in emerging and developing markets

Photo by Annushka Ahuja

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and World Economic Forum (the Forum) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on initiatives to advance digital inclusion through financial services, with the aim of reducing inequalities for people and smaller businesses in emerging and developing economies.

The partnership will focus on finding ways to better mobilise financing to make digital services more affordable and accessible for underserved individuals and communities, and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), with the support of financial institutions and FinTech companies.

This will include creating guidelines for digital financial inclusion financing instruments2 as well as efforts to promote the guidelines in the Asian market.

IFC, with its extensive network of financial institutions and financial-support mechanisms in emerging and developing markets, will drive the development of the guidelines, as a public knowledge piece, which may cover digital financial inclusion products, eligible assets, and measurement and reporting mechanisms.

MAS will explore synergies with its other initiatives such as the SME Financial Empowerment and Financial Transparency Corridor Programmes to improve financing access for MSMEs in emerging markets. The Forum will leverage its deep international network of government and private sector partners to promote and share these new solutions and learnings.

 “The challenge to improve digital inclusion for billions of people in emerging and developing markets is significant, and traditional financing mechanisms alone cannot address this challenge,” said Allen Forlemu, Regional Industry Director, Financial Institutions Group, Asia and the Pacific at IFC.

“We need innovative financial instruments and guidelines to mobilise the trillions of dollars needed to improve digital inclusion.”