Task Force Inaugural Meeting, 23 January 2019
The full Task Force met in person for the first time at Davos (several members unable to attend in person participated remotely from New York, Washington, and Singapore). Several themes came through loudly and clearly:
Cooperation is paramount. The Task Force wants to focus efforts on strengthening collaborations between groups who may not normally interact: policymakers, fintech entrepreneurs, regulators, capital markets, investors.
We are all committed to catalyzing action. The Task Force is a platform to crowd in innovation and ideas, and to catalyze action. It will focus on what’s achievable, what’s not already being done by other players. Its work will be both ambitious and prescriptive.
A “citizens first” focus. Human capital and human needs are often overlooked or underestimated in discussions about technology. The Task Force will also keep a strong focus on women in particular as drivers of change at all levels.
Domestic solutions. Although the theme of Davos was Globalization 4.0, the Task Force agreed that regional contexts and local solutions must not be overlooked. Mobilizing domestic savings and longer-term financing locally will be critical to achieving the SDGs. it was noted that between 75 to 80 percent of apps are developed in the US or in Europe at the moment. We must ensure that financing technologies are appropriate to local experiences and priorities, and that ownership is localized.
The Task Force was honored by a visit from Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
Other Davos Events
Welcoming Dinner, Tuesday 22 January 2019
UNCDF executive secretary Judith Karl hosted the welcoming dinner on Tuesday night for Task Force members Aurélie Zoumarou, Natalie Jabangwe, and Ambareen Musa at the Hotel Meisser outside Davos. Among other invited guests was His Excellency Eloi Laourou, the ambassador to Switzerland from Benin, home country of Aurélie Zoumarou, which she serves as minister of the digital economy and communications.
MIT Breakfast, 23 January 2019
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, UNCDF, and the Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance jointly sponsored a sold-out breakfast meeting to explore how the value of big data could potentially be assetized and securitized in ways that both honor privacy concerns and maximize commercial value.
Accenture Deep Dive, 23 January 2019
Accenture Development Partnerships carried out a series of discovery interviews with Task Force members as well as extensive research on the global state of digitalization of finance. High-level findings were presented during the Inaugural Meeting. The “deep dive” immediately following gave Task Force members a more thorough briefing about the research and a chance to discuss its implications for the Task Force’s next steps.
Tillman Bruett Interview with Sustainable Impact Hub, 25 January 2019
Task Force secretariat director Tillman Bruett was interviewed by Eric Berseth, executive director of Philanthropy Advisors, as part of the Sustainable Impact Hub, a group of 16 partners (including multiple UN agencies) working on sustainable development. Tillman spoke about what it takes to create and sustain effective partnerships. He noted the temptation many practitioners feel to go with “the usual suspects” and encouraged listeners instead to do proper due diligence and not jump to conclusions about who the best partners might be. He also stressed that partnerships have to be managed from start to finish, and that this usually requires a dedicated relationship manager. Key takeaway: “A partnership is not just words in a contract. It requires trust.”