We have heard, it has been said and we have said it, the world is becoming a global village. In simple terms it means the entire world is struck by digital transformation and is becoming more interconnected by the day using digital technologies. The questions that we have often asked ourselves as an association are;
- How can we be part of the global village when our own villages are not yet part of the digital Zimbabwe?
- What about those without national identity cards or any form of national registration?
- How can we be part of the global financial village when citizens can not send money across financial services providers?
- When we are still using static identity data to know your customer registrations?
- How can we be part when our financial service providers are still competing where they must complement e.g., fraud monitoring and reporting systems.
These are some of the questions that we ask ourselves as an association.
Shortened the Digital Transformation Journey
For shortened the journey of Digital Transformation, we are looking to work with all stakeholders in the country. This would make us ready to join the rest of the world digitally without getting into risk of exporting and importing. African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), COMESA Business Council and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are working on solutions to ensure instant and inclusive retail payments. Again, we ask, are our Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) ready to trade regionally and be paid instantly? Can regional interoperability work before local interoperability?
Digital Finance Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe (DFPAZ), is a member-based association of like-minded people from across the intellectual and career divide. We have members who studied African languages as computer scientists. What brings us together is the passion for digital transformations. We are working on ensuring that we accommodate scholars from early childhood learning to university all with the aim to Zimbabwe’s digital transformation.
We are passionate about transforming the villages in Zimbabwe to be part of the national economy, to becoming participants in the global village – not just spectators. Our aim is to ensure that digital finance is sustainable. We also aim to ensure that we magnify the impact of digital finance on the community as well as on economic development to ensure that policy makers are well aware so they make informed decisions.
As an association, we are concerned about the number of citizens that lack of micro-insurance and micro-pension products are affecting due to old age poverty. We are worried about our citizens who are financially illiterate and are left out in the greater scheme of financial services. We promote financial sector deepening thus making markets work for the poor.
DFPAZ is affiliated to the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) and Africa Fintech Network (AFN). We started off as a Community of Practice (CoP) for DFI enrolled students since 2017. Each of our members is either a student, alumni with the DFI or they are just members of the public who are passionate about digital financial inclusion in particular and digital transformation in general. Our secretariat includes leaders in different sectors who are passionate about positive change in Zimbabwe and are biased towards digital solutions as the new standard in terms of efficiency in economies. We have leaders in the following sectors within our membership; Fintech and Techfin, Regtech and Suptech, Edutech, Alternative finance, Agtech, healthtech and Insutech.
Structures and Targets
We track our journey and progress in these sectors by following set structures and targets. Which have set for ourselves, from reading research articles to hosting webinars. We also critically look at events happening in our environment and analyze them. With a special focus on their impact on Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) – short term and long term. We appreciate that digital transformation and financial inclusion is of national interest. It highlighted in the recent Monetary Policy Statement’s “measures to address deficiencies in mobile banking”. Given the complexities and misconceptions around the regulatory pronouncements. We appreciate the role the media plays in informing the public about the digital financial inclusion space and the economy.
Role of Digital Banker Africa
We appreciate the role that the Digital Banker Africa plays in changing the structural imbalances in financial services and digital transformation of the region. They’re ensuring that CEOs appreciate the new developments in this market. The poor are bankable but it takes innovative CEOs to appreciate this. To achieve the global village agenda, we cannot afford tech-phobic CEOs or leaders.
Our students are well equipped when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, but not much is known about Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship & Career Education (FLEC) subjects. We intend to engage with the relevant ministries as well as digital solution providers to ensure this gap is closed.
In general, our association has a vested interest in development economics across all sectors. However we put more effort on the unbanked under-banked and unhappily banked at the BoP.
Due to the covid 19 pandemic our travelling has been limited and we have continued to advocate for digital financial inclusion through webinars, some of our webinars has attracted audience from as far as china and Russia and the USA and these are mostly Zimbabweans in the diaspora who feel there is now need for a digital Zimbabwe project.
We have celebrated women in Zimbabwe who have spent time and effort in for ensuring Zimbabwe’s financial inclusion. We have celebrated women who have ensured that the MSMEs still have access to financial services especially through the pandemic. Because of the pandemic MSMEs were facing challenges in accessing credit, insurance savings and pension products. But there are innovative women that have come up with affordable solutions to assist the MSMEs. We have celebrated them to magnify the importance of their work in the digital economy.
We are convinced that financial inclusion is the oil in the economic development engine. Without it economy will not perform.
Interactions – Digital Transformation
We are young, innovative and disruptive. We intend to unite digital transformation advocates, leaders, organizations and stakeholders. These will exchange information and ideas, promote and support creation of innovative technologies and deployment across and beyond Zimbabwe. The association also serves as a platform for advocacy and coordinated regulatory interactions.
Our Vision is to create an efficient economy. Through digital financial inclusion, financial literacy and financial deepening for every Zimbabwean home and beyond.
Our Mission is to promote the development of a digital economy. To empower and impart knowledge to our people. Thus we can realize our financial capabilities and freedoms through innovative, convenient and disruptive localized solutions.