Ethiopia Calls for Digital Financial Services Boost in Africa

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia calls for Africa to promote digital financial services to boost women’s economic opportunities.

In a panel discussion of G-7 and African countries during the 75th UN General Assembly, Sate Minister of Finance Eyob Tekalign emphasized the importance of focusing on financial inclusion, which he said plays an eminent role in women’s and girls’ economic empowerment.

Although many African states are striving to harness digital technologies in bid to build more inclusive economies, much remains to be done to ensure women benefit from the digital advancements, especially those that live in rural and marginalized communities, he noted.

“Improving women’s access, use, and control over financial services enable them, especially the poorest women, to achieve the same status, power, and opportunities as men resulting in dramatic social changes that propel society forward,” he added.

The State Minister noted how the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of digital services encouraging the use of digital payment services.

In particular, he explained how for emerging economies, the challenges from the pandemic have brought more opportunities to promote financial inclusion objectives through the use of technology.

On the panel Eyob highlighted that though Ethiopia has achieved rapid growth in the financial sector, many households are still excluded from access to the necessary financial services.

The panel was concluded with a call for a more concerted global response in supporting the financial as the pandemic has greatly emphasized the need for greater and more inclusive digitization of financial services.

To address the challenges, various economic reforms have taken by the government to promote financial inclusion and serve the under-banked and underserved population, he pointed out.

Following the panel discussion, Eyob held a bilateral virtual meeting with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands during which he extended his gratitude to the Queen for her and her alliance support in mobilizing resources to support Ethiopia’s digitization of financial services to address concerns of financial inclusion.

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