In a significant move to boost digital inclusivity in emerging and developing economies, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding. This tripartite partnership aims to reduce inequalities through enhanced digital access in financial services.
The collaboration focuses on mobilizing financing to make digital services more accessible and affordable for underserved communities and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). One of the primary goals is to create and promote guidelines for digital financial inclusion financing instruments, particularly in the Asian market.
IFC, leveraging its vast network in financial institutions, will spearhead the development of these guidelines, which are expected to cover a range of topics from eligible digital financial inclusion products to reporting mechanisms. MAS plans to align these efforts with its existing initiatives, such as SME Financial Empowerment and Financial Transparency Corridor Programmes, to further enhance financing access for MSMEs in emerging markets. Meanwhile, WEF will utilize its extensive international network of government and private sector partners to promote and disseminate these innovative solutions.
“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. IFC is honoured to partner with MAS and the World Economic Forum to help address this challenge, which will ultimately benefit underserved people and businesses in countries that need it most.”
Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer at MAS, highlighted the partnership’s potential to enable previously underserved individuals and MSMEs to access digital services affordably and consistently. He said, “MAS is proud to partner the International Finance Corporation and the World Economic Forum to collaborate in research for digital inclusion, which could allow previously underserved individuals and MSMEs to access digital information, services, and products consistently and affordably. Through this partnership, we hope to promote developments in emerging markets, support quality education, and reduce inequalities,”