Universal Postal Union (UPU) to expand access to digital financial services in Nigeria

By Universal Postal Union (UPU)
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12 November, Berne - The Universal Postal Union (UPU) will launch a new digital financial services project in Nigeria through its Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility (FITAF).

Speaking about the projects. UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein said, “The Post’s vast physical network has already made it an engine for financial inclusion, but there is potential to reach many more unbanked people through digital networks. The FITAF programme has already helped bridge this gap in countries selected in last year’s first call for projects – now it will do the same in the additional eight countries selected.”

According to the World Bank, 1.7 billion adults still lack access to formal financial services. With an infrastructure of more than 600,000 outlets globally, rolling out modern financial services through the postal network could be a boon for financial inclusion. Two billion people already access financial services through the Post.

NIPOST will implement a new digital money transfer service by introducing a mobile payment solution and prepaid cards with support received through FITAF. The service will make sending money more accessible and affordable for MSMEs and rural populations.

FITAF, a UPU-led initiative in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Visa Inc., focuses on advancing financial inclusion by providing technical assistance and financial resources to postal operators so that they can provide accessible and relevant digital financial services (DFS), primarily mobile payments, through their networks.

“Visa is proud of our partnership with the Universal Postal Union and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” states Amina Tirana, Policy and Measurement, Social Impact, Visa Inc. “Given the great reach of post offices, the digitization of their financial services offerings play a critical role in reaching the billions of people and small businesses, who remain unbanked or underserved, when those services are delivered with the customer at the centre.”

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Senior Program Officer for Global Partnerships Jamie Zimmerman said, “The postal network’s large footprint, especially in remote areas, means it is often present where other financial institutions are not. We see an incredible opportunity for the postal network to fill this gap and help drive inclusive access to financial services. Through FITAF, postal operators have access to the technical and financial support needed to leverage digital technologies to turn this opportunity into reality.”

Other countries selected in the programme’s second call for projects include Burkina Faso, Egypt, Grenada, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Morocco, and Tunisia.

The UPU has also launched its third call for FITAF projects. It will select new projects from postal operators towards the end of 2020. To learn more, please visit: www.upu.int/en/fitaf.