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Fellow appointed to UN digital task force


2017 Fellow Natalie Jabangwe has been appointed to the global Task Force on Digital Financing by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres.  It caps a headline year for Natalie, who is the head of the company she founded, EcoCash.  In 2018, she was an AABLA Young Business Leader finalist, was selected as one of  four Tutu Fellows on the Choiseul 2018 list, and was also selected as a World Economic Forum 2018 Young Global Leader

She has also just listed CassavaSmarTech on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, which brings together a mobile money operator, a bank, and various smart tech services under one banner.  The digital task force to which she has been appointed will recommend strategies to harness the potential of financial technology in advancing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

The task force, which was announced on 29 November 2018, will be co-chaired by ABSA chief executive, Maria Ramos, and a UN Administrator, Achim Steiner.  Other members of the task force, all of whom are serving in their personal capacities, include experts from the banking and investment communities, government, civil society, and innovators in areas such as digital payments.  UN Secretary-General Guterres said the impact of technology in achieving financial inclusion cannot be underestimated and that it has expanded inclusion by more than a billion people in just six years. Natalie's company, EcoCash, is Zimbabwe’s leading and fastest-growing mobile money service in Africa.

Taskforce co-chair Steiner pointed to promising examples of fintech-driven solutions that advance sustainability, saying that domestic savings in most countries are still not channeled effectively into the larger-scale financing needed for sustainable development. He said that an understanding was needed of how to harness digitalization to direct flows of capital to vital work linked to sustainable development goals, biodiversity and connecting rural economies with global market opportunities.

The Task Force on Digital Financing will meet in Davos in January and is expected to present its preliminary report of recommendations to the Secretary-General in September of 2019.

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