#DFS4What—Building inclusive digital economies

October 16, 2018

Over the past decade, UNCDF has invested in projects that use technologies to accelerate the access to and usage of financial services. With multiple projects spread over 40 countries, UNCDF has taken part in many success stories and meanwhile built expertise in and knowledge of digital financial services and other innovative digital solutions. In order to share its experience, UNCDF is organizing a knowledge-sharing event that will take place 68 November 2018 in Dakar, Senegal.

UNCDF expects over 170 participants, representing digital finance and digital innovation projects being implemented now across Asia and the Pacific as well as sub-Saharan Africa. Invitees are mainly private sector actors such as mobile network operators (Airtel, Axiata, MTN, Orange, Vodafone Fiji, etc.), financial service providers (CAURIE-MF, Equity Bank, Stanbic Bank, etc.), insurance companies (AXA, BIMA, FijiCare) and other non-bank providers (Alibaba, IME, JD Finance, Kazang, PEAS, SunFarmer, Tootle, WeBank, Zoona). In addition to these stakeholders, UNCDF will invite other UN bodies that are currently exploring the digitization of their payments (UNHCR, WFP). Government representatives from Senegal will also be invited, as they are engaged in high volume payment projects and policy changes.

The three-day event will not only provide an opportunity to share lessons learned from UNCDF projects but also discuss use cases of new entrants from Asia such as Alibaba, Grab and WeBank.

The theme of the event is empowering vulnerable people (farmers, youth, women, refugees, migrants, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises) to lead healthy, productive lives by using the power of digital technologies in various sectors (finance, agriculture, education, health, water and sanitation, energy, transport).

The agenda will specifically focus on data, examining how data can help stakeholders better understand customer needs as well as adapt business models for new services and of course measure the impact of those services on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A field visit on the second day will illustrate the benefits of data usage for product development and targeting/increasing adoption and use.

The main objectives of the 2018 event are the following:

  • Creating an opportunity for relationship-building and in-person knowledge-sharing inside and outside partners’ practice areas (i.e., bridging the learning gap between practitioners from diverse origins and countries, such as microfinance institutions meeting with telco operators and banks meeting with tech companies).
  • Exposing participants to the Senegalese digital finance market and to leading African and Asian players in digital services.
  • Reinforcing the community of practice among project partners, which will have the potential to last beyond the programme.
  • Learning from UNCDF research partners (Caribou Digital, CGAP, GSMA, IFC, etc.) and disseminating findings among participants and beyond those present at the workshop.
  • Increasing capacity among project partners to use data as well as to apply research findings from different sources.



Participation will be invitation only and limited to a maximum of 170 participants (this number includes UNCDF, donors and speakers).


The event will be moderated and facilitated by UNCDF.