New Fintech Company Creates Tools to Help Communities Thrive
Social Enterprise Fintech for International Development aims to deliver digital solutions that can empower vulnerable communities; help to build local micro-economies
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Nov. 22, 2021)—Two leading international banks have teamed up with Save the Children to create a new Financial Technology company that will use digital solutions to help deliver rising amounts of humanitarian assistance to hard-to-reach communities, ensuring it reaches those most in need.
Standard Chartered, Barclays, and the world’s largest independent child rights’ organization have set up the social enterprise Fintech for International Development (F4ID) which aims to deliver digital solutions that can empower vulnerable communities and also help to build local micro-economies.
The first product, launching in early 2022, is a digital platform for cash and voucher programs that will let families select the goods and services they need from a wide network of local merchants and providers while ensuring those vendors are supplied promptly and paid on time.
The platform will solve a number of problems associated with cash and voucher programming—a form of humanitarian assistance totalling US$6.3 billion globally in 2020 that has more than doubled in the past five years—by delivering an efficient, low-cost safe and trusted digital tool that gives communities flexibility and choice, supports the local economy, and reduces fraud and aid diversion risk.
Natasha Benson, Chief Executive Officer at F4ID, said the company would work with ambitious, tech-driven development organizations to create and deliver safe, secure, and sustainable assistance programs.
“F4ID aims to tackle real world problems associated with the most marginalized global communities. This differentiated and sustainable approach will allow us to be bold in our vision and ecosystem, to create a future with healthier communities and stronger local economies,” said Benson.
The emergence of fintech for the humanitarian sector comes at a time of unprecedented need and is being driven by the convergence of several major technological advancements including widespread internet connectivity, cheap smartphones and other devices, cloud computing, mobile money platforms and biometric identification.
Data showed that in 2020, an estimated 243.8 million people living in 75 countries were assessed to be in need of humanitarian assistance. This is an additional 19 million people and 10 more countries compared with 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven countries had the equivalent of over half their populations in need.
Sam Sharpe, Chief Finance Officer at Save the Children, said:
“F4ID will develop better and safer ways of getting vital support to some of the world’s most vulnerable children. This exciting partnership between Save the Children, Standard Chartered, and Barclays highlights the huge opportunities for humanitarian agencies to collaborate with private sector partners in tackling the challenges facing children today.”
Steve Harvey, Founder and Head of Concept Design, at F4ID, said:
“Through innovation and technology, F4ID aims to alleviate hardship by helping grow self-sustaining micro economies and helping support social protection systems. F4ID does this is by bringing together humanitarian, technology, and finance sectors under one roof, to transform peoples’ lives for the long-term.”
Karby Leggett, Global Head, Public Sector Development Organisations at Standard Chartered, said:
“We’re very proud to partner with Save the Children and Barclays on a venture that applies recent technology solutions to a long-standing challenge in developing markets. We’re on the ground in many of those countries and we see solutions like this having a potentially significant positive impact in those communities.”
Nicki Thomson, Managing Director, Public Sector, at Barclays, said:
“This is an exciting opportunity backed by investment from three global leaders in the field to build a digital ecosystem for the delivery of humanitarian aid. This technology can materially improve the speed and efficiency of deployment of aid to ensure it is received by those most in need.”
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