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Digital Finance for a Fairer Post-Pandemic World

Digitalization provides a historic opportunity to reset private and public finance in order to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And the COVID-19 crisis is the ideal moment to seize it.

JOHANNESBURG/NEW YORK – Today’s unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has prompted billions of people to work, socialize, and consume digitally. This shift creates a historic opportunity to unlock the potential of digitalization to finance more inclusive, sustainable development.

Digitalization is transforming every aspect of finance. More than one billion people worldwide now use mobile payment platforms, which have turned mobile phones into financial tools. Digital finance is leveraging big data and artificial intelligence to underpin advances in cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, and online marketplaces. Algorithms are silencing noisy stock-exchange floors, with many equity trades in the United States now executed in the absence of any human input.

Investment in financial technology (fintech) is powering this transformation. In 2018, fintech attracted a record $120 billion in venture-capital funding, or one-third of the global total. And financial investors are pouring tens of billions more dollars annually into enabling digital technology.