By INNOCENT ODOH |
The Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) and hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed to financing digital financial inclusion in Africa with six grants totalling $ 6.95 million.
A statement issued by the Communications section of the French Embassy in Abuja at the weekend said “the commitments aim to reduce Africa’s existing gender gap in digital financial services.”
It said that in February 2021, the AfDB board of Directors approved a series of five grants from this blended finance vehicle, to the benefit of the following organisations: African Cybersecurity Resource Center (ACRC), EthSwitch Share Company, M-Kopa Kenya Limited, Pula Advisors Limited – Kenya, Sinitic Africa and the West African Monetary Agency.
Some of the grants include; $ 2 million grant to the African Cybersecurity Resource Center (ACRC), aiming at fighting cybercrime across the African continent while strengthening the resilience of digital financial ecosystems, as more and more transactions are made via mobile phones which raise new security concerns.
“The funding will target, among other beneficiaries, 20 to 25 million women over five years,” the statement said.
There is another grant of $ 2.33 million to EthSwitch Share Company dedicated to modernize the payment infrastructure of this initiative led by National Bank of Ethiopia. It focuses on providing simple, secure, effective and affordable digital payments infrastructure to the Ethiopian market.
Another grant $ 300,000 grant will allow Kenyan company M-Kopa, a financing platform offering underbanked customers access to products and services such as TV and internet, to conduct a research study to improve women’s access to digital financial services and financial literacy programs.
A grant of $1 million goes to agri-fintech firm Pula Advisors Limited, Kenya, a company dedicated to provide agricultural insurance for small-scale farmers to manage climate risk, weather shocks and outbreaks of pests and diseases. The funding will enable Pula Advisors to develop digital micro-insurance products for women farmers in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia and ultimately, to increase the income of farms managed by women by up to 30%.
“A USD 1.024 million grant will finance Sinitic Africa to develop an Artificial Intelligence based customer complaints management system for the use of the national banks of Ghana and Rwanda and the Consumer Protection Commission of Zambia.
“A final USD 320,000 grant will finance inclusion of gender by the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) in the main regulatory frameworks for digital financial services in ECOWAS,” the statement said.