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Bill Gates backs financial inclusion in Tanzania

By , ITWeb
Tanzania , 15 Aug 2017

Bill Gates backs financial inclusion in Tanzania

As reported by CIO East Africa, Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), has reiterated his support for Tanzania's financial inclusion agenda.

According to CIO, the co-founder of Microsoft joined leaders from government, financial service providers, mobile network operators and digital financial service providers to discuss potential contribution of digital financial services in improving livelihoods and enterprise productivity across the country.

As an active supporter of financial inclusion, Bill Gates also reviewed the progress of projects supported by BMGF, particularly those geared towards financial inclusion.

Under its Financial Services for the Poor programme, the Foundation says it aims to "help people in the world's poorest regions improve their lives and build sustainable futures by connecting them with digitally-based financial tools and services."

CIO reports that innovation and investment in technology aimed towards digital financial services, together with government and regulatory support, have made a significant impact on financial inclusion in Tanzania over recent years.

"Over half of the Tanzanian adult population now has access to financial services due to the introduction of mobile money which can facilitate transactions even in the most remote areas of the country. Widespread adoption of digital financial services has grown rapidly contributing to financial inclusion to a significant extent. In 2009 the level of exclusion was 55.4%, which decreased to 27.4% in 2013," reports CIO.

In the roundtable, Gates said, "Part of the reason we value our work in Tanzania, is that it is such an important country but also because there is a lot of leadership activity on shared infrastructure including interoperability and national identification."

He then talked about the potential for merchants to receive electronic payments and of how interoperability could reach across the region. He also discussed how he could support Tanzania in achieving joined-up systems for IDs and government payments.

According to Reuters, Gates has committed to spending over US$300 million in Tanzania in 2017 through his Foundation, on public health and poverty reduction programs.

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