December 4, 2018
GSMA Director General Mats Granryd has been appointed as a member of a new United Nations Task Force dedicated to harnessing the potential of technology and digital financing to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The appointment underlines the key role the mobile industry is playing in driving digital and financial inclusion across the world.
The new Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals brings together leading figures from a range of sectors, including experts from the investment community, capital markets, government and civil society, as well as leading banks and innovators in digital payments.
“Rapid developments in digital financial services mean we now have a great opportunity to expand financial inclusion to many hundreds of millions more people, and I am honoured to be part of a Task Force dedicated to accelerating progress in this area, as well as financing the SDGs more broadly,” said Granryd. “Mobile’s unprecedented global scale provides a platform to bring secure digital payment and financing services to people in all corners of the world, helping to reduce poverty and inequality.”
The Task Force will convene at the World Economic Forum in Davos next month and is expected to present its report of initial recommendations to UN Secretary-General António Guterres later in 2019. The Task Force is co-chaired by Maria Ramos, Chief Executive Officer of the Absa Group Ltd. (South Africa) and Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.
Mobile Connectivity, Mobile Money and the SDGs
In 2016, the mobile industry became the first sector in the world to commit to delivery of the SDGs and is increasing its contribution against all 17 Goals year-on-year1.
Mobile-enabled financial services (‘mobile money’) is a key enabler of digital and financial inclusion, and directly contributes to 13 of the 17 Goals. Mobile money positively impacts the SDGs in several ways, for example, by providing financial services to individuals and small businesses that would otherwise be financially excluded; enabling access to electricity, water and sanitation (e.g. via mobile pay-as-you-go solutions); by facilitating access to low-cost remittances; by providing means for parents to pay school fees; and by facilitating cash transfers during humanitarian crises, emergencies and disasters. The total number of mobile money accounts stood at almost 700 million at the end of 20172.
As part of its commitment to ensuring a secure and trusted mobile money ecosystem, the GSMA runs a Mobile Money Certification scheme, which ensures that providers meet the highest standards with regards to issues such as protecting the rights of consumers3. The GSMA and its members have also made commitments to reducing the gender gap in financial inclusion through the Connected Women Commitment Initiative.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.