May 9, 2018
The business community in Fiji were part of the country’s first ideation workshop exploring the transition from cash payments to an increasingly more digital ecosystem that could see more Fijians being financially included.
The UN’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation presented the private sector with the benefits and opportunities of digital payments which remains an underdeveloped business tool. A shift to digital payments is the transformation of existing payment or payment streams from a paper-based or cash-based system leveraging electronic transfers to bank or other financial service accounts, including mobile money offerings.
Businesses will benefit from electronic or digital payments through increased efficiency, cost savings and leakage reductions, increased transparency and resulting audit trail. Electronic payments will also be beneficial to the recipients like their employees and suppliers who will also have added value in accessing financial services.
The workshop featured presentations from financial service providers in Fiji, the Ministry of Finance and Mobile Network Operators who are willing and able to work with the private sector on furthering digital payments. Attendees from the private sector were asked to discuss the types and nature of payments of their operations that could be digitized in the short to medium term.
Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas. It is at the core of innovation that PFIP has been pursuing through its financial innovation workstream. PFIP has set up Innovation Labs in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Solomon Islands aimed at encouraging the adoption and usage of mass market financial services by rural and low-income households in the Pacific.
The workshop will also engage the private sector in achieving a national priority area recognized by the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce under the Fiji National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016-2020. The 5 Year and 20 Year Strategic Development Plan is linked to Fiji’s national commitments under the Maya Declaration and the Better Than Cash Alliance. The Strategy calls for an increase of digital financial services.
The workshop aims to encourage businesses to commit to adopting a broader spectrum of digital financial services or payment infrastructures that will drive greater financial inclusion in Fiji.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped 1.8 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.
PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.
For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Erica Lee – Communications Associate