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World Bank Group Youth Summit 2017: Technology and Innovation for Impact

The World Bank Group two-day Youth Summit is held on the 4-5 December 2017 in Washington DC. This year’s summit seeks to provide youth with a forum to learn and discuss the challenges and opportunities created by technological shifts. Xiaochen Zhang was glad to join the panel to discuss the approach of promoting development and financial inclusion through digital technologies in the afternoon of December 4, along with Quang Tran (Director of Product Impact & Insights at Tala), Tahira Dosani (Managing Director of Accion Venture Lab at Accion), Maria Fernandez Vidal (Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP), and the moderator Anna Lerner (Senior Energy & ICT Policy Specialist, World Bank Group).

According to the panelists, the world is using a new approach of technology such as mobile-money to mitigate time, space dimensions, and constraints in financial transactions; and utilizing machine learning and distributed ledger technologies to mitigate costs and risks. Quang said, “digital infrastructure remains a huge barrier to inclusion, particularly for 1) money transfer and 2) ID verification. Mobile money has been amazing, but the reality is that it’s not that well-penetrated outside sub-Saharan Africa, so for companies like Tala who relies on partners/other platforms to send/receive money with our borrowers, this significantly hinders ability to reach large swaths of the global underserved. Similarly, with ID verification – it’s essential for legal requirements and fraud prevention. Yet many countries still do not have digital ID verification, making it quite a challenge to serve users in a frictionless, scalable way”. She was looking forward to seeing movement and innovation in these spaces.

Speaking about the way forward, Xiaochen was excited to share a couple of FinTech4Good’s upcoming programs which bring impact through technology and innovation. In 2018, FinTech4Good will launch the Global Blockchain Acceleration Program, aiming to incubate and accelerate fintech and blockchain startups and build a network for collaboration. In addition, our Global Inclusive Blockchain Digital Economy Curriculum, offered by world leading blockchain technology experts from both academia and industry, will deliver high-quality fintech educational courses to young professionals and students who don’t have equal access to blockchain. All these efforts by us are intended to facilitate the process of resource sharing, and creating exciting jobs and opportunities for youth in the future.

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