IFC Helps Advance Digital Finance in Central Asia

1 March, 2018

Original source: IFC

Almaty, Kazakhstan, February 28, 2018—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is hosting today a regional conference to promote digital financial services, including e-money, Internet and mobile banking in Central Asia. The event is part of a larger World Bank Group effort to help people and small businesses access financial services, which is key to combating poverty and driving economic growth.

The event, titled Electronic and Digital Financial Services:  A Joint Path to Success, will bring together over 130 executives from regional financial institutions, technology companies and financial technology firms. It will provide a platform to discuss innovations, challenges, and opportunities in the digital finance industry. Across Central Asia, many people and small businesses are currently shut out of the formal financial system because they are often far from financial institutions which are concentrated in urban centers. Digital financial services are key to helping them pay bills, open savings accounts, and secure loans.

“IFC supports the development of innovative and sustainable financial services,” said Rolf Behrndt, Practice Manager with the World Bank Group’s Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation Global Practice. “With mobile technology and new business models for the distribution of financial services, large numbers of low-income people, micro-entrepreneurs, small-scale businesses, and rural residents can gain access to crucial financial services. Over the long term, this will help create jobs, reduce poverty and drive economic growth.” 

The demand for digital services is expected to rise in the coming years. As the costs of smartphones fall, 60 percent of people in developing countries are expected to access the internet over their mobiles by 2020, up from 44 percent in 2015. The conference will focus on how financial institutions can leverage digital services to expand their customer base and how countries can support financial inclusion by encouraging the development of digital financial services.

The event is part of IFC’s Electronic and Digital Financial Services Project implemented in Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan. The project is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland.

About the World Bank Group 

The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.orgwww.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

About SECO

SECO is Switzerland’s competence center for all core issues relating to economic policy. SECO’s economic development cooperation strives to achieve inclusive sustainable growth and poverty reduction. Its activities aim to create more and better jobs, to enhance trade and competitiveness, to support effective institutions and services and to foster climate resilient economies. For more information, visit www.seco-cooperation.ch

About DFID 

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. We are tackling the global challenges of our time including poverty and disease, mass migration, insecurity and conflict. Our work is building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK too. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-development


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