Equitable access to the digital economy key to building resilience – News


Access expands opportunities for those who start businesses, strengthen communities, and create jobs along the way.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have always been about access. Access to drinking water and sanitation, access to sustainable cities and communities among 14 other objectives. By designing a path for local actions that translate into global progress, the UN has ensured that actors build on their strengths through partnerships. In this regard, SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals – opens up access to young people, women and artisans.

This ambitious program, derailed by the pandemic, aims to enable prosperity for more through coalitions of public, private and civil society organizations. Speaking recently at the SDG Moment, held ahead of the 76th UN General Assembly – on the theme “Building Resilience through Hope,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the importance – and increased relevance – of the SDGs today, describing them as a “path to recovery” for a world that is “challenged like never before”.

It is therefore important to design partnerships that build resilience through access. Access expands opportunities for those who start businesses, strengthen communities, and create jobs along the way. One of those partnerships in action is a woman-run company, Native Nosi, which has preserved the legacy of its family honey while embracing affordable digital payments with Yoco. Mokgadi Mabela has built her resilience through her skills with the invisible hand of regulations that allow fintech to make her receive payments for the goods her husband ships.

In Egypt, paynas leveraged its agent banking license to offer micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMBs) and entrepreneurs in Egypt a platform that combines human resource management tools and flexible financial solutions at largest segment of the Egyptian population – those employed in MSMB. This solution enables companies to overcome their workforce management challenges, as well as benefit from financial offers and other benefits for their employees. This partnership will ensure equal access to finance and insurance for Egyptian companies which employ more than 75 percent of the workforce.

Yet obstacles remain in terms of access to quality education as well as decent work and economic growth. In trying to remove these barriers, STEM Power is also leveraging the strengths of financial education to enable young Ethiopians to thrive in the digital world. In doing so, the skills acquired become the common thread that weaves innovation and entrepreneurship into employment opportunities.

In Indonesia, the pandemic enabled Gojek to train 950,000 heads of micro, small and medium enterprises. By leveraging Visa’s financial education tools, MPSM’s skills on key business tools, knowledge and ideas to maintain and grow their businesses have been enhanced. By engaging youth and PMEMBs, we can move towards a more equitable society where financially educated communities thrive in the digital world.

Solidarity is an important element in dealing with the consequences of the pandemic. Governments around the world have sought to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the most vulnerable. In Guatemala, Nancy Gomez took advantage of the government Bono Familia assistance program to keep the family alive as she had to shut down her business due to physical distancing measures that limited her activity.

From Indonesia to Guatemala to South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia, access remains the most critical catalyst for human progress. The SDGs were built on the premise that cooperation would open access to more across all SDGs. As a trusted network that drives commerce forward, at Visa we are moving forward and will continue to empower individuals, communities and businesses to be more resilient by expanding their ability to increase their access to the digital economy through financial education.

The writer is a Vice President of Social Impact Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the policies of this newspaper.

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