EcoCash boss appointed into UN secretary general’s advisory team

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By Alois Vinga

ECOCASH chief executive, Natalie Jabangwe has been appointed into the inaugural global Task Force on Digital Financing by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

The taskforce will recommend strategies to harness the potential of financial technology in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.

It will be co-chaired by ABSA chief executive, Maria Ramos and United Nations Administrator Achim Steiner.

Guterres said the impact of technology in achieving financial inclusion cannot be underestimated.

“We have already seen how technology has helped expand financial inclusion -itself an important goal – by 1.2 billion people in just six years.

“But we have only just begun to tap the potential of digital finance and investment to meet the broader agenda set forth in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change,” he said.

Jabangwe is the youngest chief executive to run a mobile money business in Africa and is a computer engineer by profession who holds an Executive MBA at the world-renowned Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

She has a traceable history of excellence in academics with specialty in financial technology.

While taking studies in 2004 at Middlesex University, UK, Jabangwe received the Mayor of London’s Leadership Exchange scholarship after coming as the top excelling female student, a scholarship which earned her a place at Spelman College in Atlanta, one of the best female African American institutions in the United States.

The scholarship came with an opportunity to intern in the mayor of Atlanta’s office, serving directly in Shirley Franklin’s office – Atlanta’s first female mayor.

At the age of 21, Jabangwe was responsible for developing the city of Atlanta’s first information technology security policies.

Taskforce co-chair Achim Steiner pointed to promising examples of fintech-driven solutions that advance sustainability, from channeling personal savings into long-term investment vehicles such as government bonds to using blockchain and tokenization to support renewable energy developments.

“Domestic savings in most countries are still not channeled effectively into the larger-scale financing needed for sustainable development. We need to understand how to harness digitalization to direct the flows of capital to vital work linked to the SDGs, including areas from biodiversity to connecting rural economies with global market opportunities and which, to date, remain largely untouched by the fintech revolution,” he said.

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.