6 December 2018
UN Launches Task Force to Harness Financial Technology for SDGs
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A new Task Force on Digital Financing launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres aims to leverage the potential of new technologies to expand financial inclusion.

The Task Force will meet in January 2019 in Davos, Switzerland, and produce a preliminary report of recommendations by September 2019.

29 November 2018: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the Task Force on Digital Financing, which aims to leverage the potential of new technologies to expand financial inclusion and leverage financial technologies (“fintech”) to accelerate progress on the SDGs. Co-chair Achim Steiner, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, said existing fintech solutions must work together to realize their potential benefits.

The task force, also co-chaired by Maria Ramos, CEO of the Absa Group Ltd., will meet in January 2019, in Davos, Switzerland. From there, it will produce a preliminary report of recommendations on strategies for “large-scale digital finance flows” for the Secretary-General, to be presented in September 2019.

Ramos emphasized that digitization not only yields faster data processing within institutions and across the financial system, but also in greater volumes, enabling people to be put at the center.

Steiner noted during the launch that there are already “promising examples of fintech-driven solutions that advance sustainability.” Such examples, he said, include channeling individuals’ personal savings into long-term investments such as government bonds, using blockchain and other emerging technologies to support renewable energy development, and directing capital towards work that links to the SDGs. However, Steiner emphasized that many of these initiatives to date are “standalone solutions” and must work in tandem to realize the benefits of the “fintech revolution.”

Other members of the Task Force, all of whom are serving in their personal capacities, include experts from the banking and investment communities, government, civil society, and innovators in areas such as digital payments. [UN Press Release] [UNDP Press Release] [GSMA Press Release]

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