DigiFI Africa: A pillar of the G7 Partnership for Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa

Woman uses mobile phone to make cash transfer in front of fruit stand
Woman uses mobile phone to digitally transfer money
Photo: Intersect

Africa is undergoing a digital revolution. Double-digit growth in mobile phone ownership in the first half of this decade has triggered a surge of innovative digital tools and services across the continent. These innovations have increased access to financial services in sub-Saharan Africa. But the benefits are not being shared equally. An estimated 400 million people on the continent still remain unbanked, most of whom are women living in poor and marginalized communities. 

In 2019, the G7 Partnership for Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa was launched to address gender inequality in the financial sector on the continent. J-PAL Africa’s Digital Identification and Finance Initiative (DigiFI Africa) is honored and excited to be one of the pillars of this G7 partnership. 

This partnership aims to support African governments, banks, and financial institutions in establishing more sustainable and equitable digital financial systems. To advance digital financial inclusion of women, the G7 partnership identified five key issues:

  1. Interoperability
  2. Digital identification
  3. Regulation
  4. Assessment of digital readiness
  5. Gender-specific research 

J-PAL Africa will focus on supporting gender-specific research to ensure that digital innovations promote the economic empowerment of women through DigiFI. Through DigiFI, J-PAL Africa plans to:

  • Generate robust evidence on the gender effects of digital identification and payment reforms in priority countries,
  • Build local capacity by supporting African and non-resident African Scholars, and
  • Establish strong government relationships to generate and disseminate policy-relevant research, as well as strengthen institutional cultures of evidence-based policy.

You can read more about DigiFI’s research agenda. We are also excited to launch a new blog series that discusses the various aspects of our research and policy interests and why they are highly relevant in this digital age. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual convening of the G7 Partnership for Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa will be a closed event and take place virtually on September 23, 2020. This event aims to share the latest findings on the gender effects of digital technologies during the pandemic, accelerate advocacy for women’s digital financial inclusion, encourage donors and African governments to incorporate investments in digital financial inclusion as they rebuild following the pandemic, and highlight the work of all implementing partners. We will share more details on the outcomes of the event and next steps for our shared research and policy agenda in a forthcoming blog post shortly after the event.