Digitisation of government payments task force benefits from digital money training

Harry Mwangi (R) receiving his certificate from Stephen Mwaura (L), the Head of National Payment Systems at the Central Bank of Kenya during the graduation ceremony in Nairobi

Thursday  14th  July 2016, Nairobi — Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSDK), in partnership with FSD Africa and the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), held a graduation ceremony at the Serena Hotel for the Digitisation of Government Payments Task Force, who successfully completed the 12-week ‘Certificate in Digital Money’  programme.

Commenting on the programme, Victor Malu, Head of Future Financial Systems at FSD Kenya who also participated in the programme said: “This has been a very exciting 12 weeks. One of the really great aspects of this programme is the sharing of knowledge and experiences both among the participants in Kenya as well those from other countries across the world.”

The certified programme offered by DFI in partnership with the Fletcher School at Tufts University aims at equipping 1,500 digital finance professionals within the next two years with the technical knowledge, vision and skills to drive inclusive innovation in digital finance.

It is estimated that more than a third of the world’s adult population does not have access to basic financial services. In Africa, close to 200 million adults still have no bank accounts to enable them receive loans, send children to school or insure against illness. The training, mentoring and peer networking of DFI’s professional development programme is part of the strategic response to fill the financial inclusion capacity gap in underserved markets over the next five years.

The first cohort of the course, which is delivered using a highly interactive on-line platform, was attended by 125 applicants from 34 countries across six continents, including 21 people from Kenya.  Of this cohort, 31% were female while 69% were male, with 45% coming from private sector organisations, 22% from the development sector, 21% from government and 12% from the education sector. 87% of all participants passed the course successfully, with a commendable 100% pass rate from the Digitisation of Government Payments Task Force, who achieved some of the highest marks overall.

Vincent Mutai at the ceremony

Vincent Mutai from the Task Force, who attained the highest mark of the cohort overall said: “The rich discussions on a range on topics in digital financial services throughout the 12 weeks greatly helped fill my knowledge gaps. Now, I have deeper understanding of how various elements within the digital payments ecosystem interrelate. I also feel more confident engaging in conversations on matters concerning digital financial services.”

Nzomo Mutuku, the Acting Director, Financial and Sectoral Affairs at the National Treasury commented: “This programme was extremely timely as it came at time when the [Kenyan] Government is working to fully digitize government payments and to enhance service delivery. The team from the Government Digital Payments Programme, including myself, who are graduating today will use the knowledge gained to not only accelerate digitisation, but also enhance financial inclusion which remains a key objective of the Government.”

FSD Africa has invested US$1.5 million into DFI, part of which is going towards the provision of scholarships and the convening of in-country “Communities of Practice” in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. It is expected that these convenings, together with other networking activities, will help to strengthen the learning experience of the students participating in the course.

Commenting on the graduation, Juliet Munro, Director of Inclusive Programmes at FSD Africa said: “This marks a key step forward in building the skills and professional networks required to accelerate the growth and adoption of innovative digital solutions which, in turn, will contribute towards financial inclusion in Africa.”

The second cohort of the course began in July 2016 and is being attended by 180 participants. As demand for the training continues to grow, DFI’s focus will remain on equipping a new cadre of digital finance professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to engage in building digital economies in developing countries across the world.