The Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), Bishar A. Hussein, today approved the first round of grant fund disbursement from the Japan Fund for Postal Financial Inclusion.
Created in summer 2020, the Fund facilitates the expansion of financial inclusion products and services, through the purchase of essential hardware. The USD 600,000 grant fund currently supports postal operators in eight countries: Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mozambique, Paraguay, and Ukraine.
“Despite COVID-19’s global impact, the UPU continues to support posts in their efforts to ramp up their financial services to assist unserved and underbanked individuals. I thank the government of Japan for their generous support and their commitment to financial inclusion,” said Mr. Hussein.
Project are tailored to meet the needs of individual countries and are focused on providing inclusive financial services to unserved and underserved communities. Examples of support include purchases of point-of-sales (POS) terminals, internet connectivity, and associated equipment to help posts scale up their financial services to customers.
The projects leverage UPU’s broad experience supporting posts, but also draw on national ownership and sustainability that are the hallmarks of successful development projects.
“Inclusive financial services are not simply about customers, they allow governments to rapidly deploy welfare policies that benefit societies. These products can help save lives, families and communities,” said Mr. Hussein.
The “Japan Fund to Strengthen Postal Financial Inclusion” is the latest in a series of UPU projects and programmes supported by the Government of Japan and its Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Previous grants to the UPU focused on the environment and disaster risk management, among many other areas.
In addition to providing support for essential computer equipment, the Japan Fund has a strong focus on fostering innovations in postal financial services, and sponsors a study on the potential use of Distributed Ledger Technologies and blockchains in postal financial services and logistics.
Based on the World Bank’s statistics around 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked; 50 per cent of these individuals are unemployed women from poor households from rural areas.
Some 1.5 billion people worldwide are already using the financial services provided by posts, which is second only to banks in contributing to financial inclusion globally. The UPU offers extensive technical assistance and research to help its member countries develop inclusive and sustainable financial services.
The Universal Postal Union is a UN specialized agency with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne. Established in 1874, it is one of the world’s oldest international organizations and is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.
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