Digital Finance, Financial Inclusion and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 

PI: Prof. Douglas Arner, HKU
Co-Is: Dr. Giulian Castellan, HKU
Prof. Ross P. Buckley, UNSW, Australia
Prof. Dirk A. Zetzsche, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Project Abstract: 

In a recent paper, we argue financial technology (FinTech) is the key driver for financial inclusion, which in turn underlies sustainable balanced development, as embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The full potential of FinTech to support the SDGs may be realized with a progressive approach to the development of underlying infrastructure to support digital financial transformation.  Our research suggests that the best way to think about such a strategy is to focus on four primary pillars.  The first pillar requires the building of digital identity, simplified account opening and e-KYC systems, supported by the second pillar of open interoperable electronic payments systems.  The third pillar involves using the infrastructure of the first and second pillars to underpin electronic provision of government services and payments.  The fourth pillar – design of digital financial markets and systems – supports broader access to finance and investment. Implementing the four pillars is a major journey for any economy, but one which has tremendous potential to transform not only finance but economies and societies, through FinTech, financial inclusion and sustainable balanced development.  This project will monitor the implementation and impact of this strategy.