After 18 months of deliberations, the UN Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (DFTF) released a report entitled ‘People's Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future’. The DFTF builds on the work of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation and the recently published UN Secretary-General’s Report on Digital Cooperation.
The report addresses the interplay between digital transformation, finance, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by tackling five ‘catalytic opportunities’ such as digitalisation of public financing and improved financing for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that could help secure funding for the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The document also explores some of the barriers and risks including lack of digital infrastructure, talent shortage, inadequate and insufficient regulatory frameworks, as well as data monopolisation that stand in the way of digital finance and provides a set of recommendations on how to overcome such challenges. Moreover, seven pathfinder initiatives i.e. examples of digital finance projects undertaken in Bangladesh, Kenya, the Gambia, and Zimbabwe, to name but a few, are provided as illustrations of how the recommendations can be best achieved.