Exploring Digital Finance’s Real Promises and Challenges for Development

Exploring Digital Finance’s Real Promises and Challenges for Development

Join the NGO Committee on Financing for Development on Wednesday, 27 April 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EDT for this official side event to the 2022 ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum.

Register here:


  • Ms. Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation of the Republic of Togo (TBC)
  • Dr. Purva Khera, Economist, International Monetary Fund
  • Mr. Johannes Ehrentraud, Senior Advisor, Financial Stability Institute, Bank for International Settlements
  • Ms. Sofie Blakstad, CEO of hiveonline and author of Fintech Revolution: Universal Inclusion in the New Financial Ecosystem
  • Ms. Anneleen Vos, Seionr Economic Policy Officer, International Rescue Committee
  • Mr. Prabhat Labh, CEO, Grameen Foundation India
  • Ms. Mercy Buku, Program Leader, Toronto Center

Moderator: Mx. Anita Thomas, Chair, NGO Committee on FfD, Representative to the UN, Women First International Fund

Co-sponsors: ManUp Campaign, Change Management Solutions, Sisters of Charity Foundation, African Development Interchange Network, IBVM


The UN Secretary General’s task force on digital finance in its report titled “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future,” spells out the transformational impact digital finance can have on sustainable development. Providing relief for millions around the world, supporting businesses, and protecting jobs and livelihoods, digital finance served as a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. A World Bank tally of policy responses to the pandemic finds that at least 58 governments in developing countries used digital payments to deliver COVID-19 relief, of which 36 countries made payments into fully transactional accounts that were being used for saving beyond simply withdrawing cash. According to the GSMA, international remittances processed via mobile money increased by 65 percent in 2020.

Proponents of digital finance highlight its strong capabilities to reduce transaction costs, the potential of Artificial Intelligence to provide fair and equitable treatment of credit applicants, and the scalability of cloud technology, through the use of blockchain technology, to allow consumers to transact remotely and seamlessly across multiple platforms.

While the experience of COVID-19 has proven that digitalization can transform economies and lives, it needs to be shaped with both its advantages and potential risks in mind in order to bring everyone into the digital age. For technology to benefit everyone, private sector innovation must be supported by the appropriate public goods such as the public provision of foundational infrastructure, access to electricity, mobile and internet coverage.

As in the case of any disruptive technology, without combining technological advances with sound policy measures, digital technology cannot deliver on its potential to meaningfully advance financial inclusion for everyone, including the more than 2 billion unbanked people globally. Delivering on promises to advance financial inclusion can only be considered meaningful when the account holder has a fully functional account that they utilize to save, make payments, obtain manageable credit, and mitigate economic risks and is simply not utilized to withdraw cash from cash transfers from the government, which is overwhelmingly the case at this time.

By examining successful strategies that maximize digital finance’s potential while minimizing risks to the financial sector, government revenues, and at-risk populations, attendees will gain a better understanding of how digital finance can sustainably advance development objectives.


CoNGO Notes: The NGO Committee on Financing for Development is a Substantive Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.

COVID-19 and the Increasing Risks of Substandard and Falsified Pharmaceutical Products in Africa

Dear CoNGO members,

I am delighted to get in touch with you for the first time since the Brazzaville Foundation’s membership in November 2020 to the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO).

On the occasion of the upcoming World Health Assembly and Africa Day, the Brazzaville Foundation is pleased to invite you to an online high-level roundtable on Tuesday 25th May to discuss “Covid-19 and the Increasing Risks of Substandard and Falsified Pharmaceutical Products in Africa: A public health and security issue”. High-level speakers are expected such as Prof. Moustafa Mijiyawa, Minister of Health of the Republic of Togo; Michel Sidibé, African Union Special Envoy for the African Medicines Agency (AMA) and Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

If you are interested in taking part in global health and security discussions, please register here: Simultaneous translation will be available in French/English.

We are eager to share this event with you and we look forward to collaborating together in the future.

Best regards,

Richard Amalvy, Chief Executive, The Brazzaville Foundation

À l’occasion de la 74e Assemblée mondiale de la Santé et de la Journée de l’Afrique, la Fondation Brazzaville réunira des intervenants de haut niveau pour discuter des enjeux de santé publique et de sécurité liés aux risques croissants des médicaments falsifiés et de qualité inférieure dans le contexte de la pandémie de la COVID-19. Traduction simultanée en français/anglais.

Background notes:

Poor-quality medicines can be both falsified and substandard:

  • Falsified medicines are deliberately fake medical products. Criminals manufacture, traffic and sell fake products to unsuspecting customers.
  • Substandard medicines can be the result of poor manufacturing and quality-control practices in the manufacture or distribution of the product.

Poor-quality medicines lead to death and illness:

  • Both fake and substandard medicines pose a threat to public health because they can lead to death, additional illness in individuals, the spread of disease within a community and antibiotic resistance.
  • The link between the traffic in falsified medicines and organised crime has been well established by intelligence services and law enforcement agencies. They are smuggled onto markets using the same routes and techniques as drug, weapon, or human trafficking.
  • Transnational organised crime also funds terrorism, destabilising countries and weakening state structures.


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Drugs-NY, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit