28 May 2021, Geneva, Switzerland - The new course, entitled Harnessing Digital Financial Technologies for Sustainable Development, places two of the world’s megatrends into focus that all of us experience on a daily basis: digital revolution and sustainable development. The financial services sector is estimated at about one-fifth of the total global economy: a significant and rapidly growing sector that has been experiencing the most disruption by the new digital technologies but also taking the lead and becoming the most innovative among all sectors. In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, digital inequalities increase, threatening previous efforts for financial inclusion. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “Digital technologies which are revolutionizing financial markets can be a game changer in meeting our shared objectives.” 

This course aims at contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “our shared objectives”, by providing the digital and financial knowledge and practical skills needed to thrive in this turbulent 21st century. It invites innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups, government representatives, regulatory authority officials, and development experts to join and learn about new digital financial tools for increased financial inclusion in their area of work. While listening and interacting with international experts during the course, participants can explore the SDGs and the different digital financial innovations (FinTech, blockchain, cashless payments, etc.), as tools to apply in their area of work. Participants can learn from inspiring business cases, regulatory examples, and development projects how to use FinTech when prioritizing sustainability and financial inclusion. 

During the 4-week course, participants will explore four modules. The first one will focus on the connection between the concept of sustainable development as a goal to achieve and digital financial technological innovations (FinTech) as tools to be applied. The second module will analyze cases from the business sector with special focus on Green FinTech and evaluate existing business models by showcasing cases about, among others, renewable energy investments and financing, international shipping, global supply chains. The third module will evaluate the challenges regulatory authorities and the public sector face with the rapid evolution of digitalization, including the financial sector, and showcase best e-government practices from ‘highly digitalized’ governments and authorities to motivate all participants to turn challenges into opportunities. The fourth module will analyze existing development projects that implement digital financial technologies for creating sustainable and inclusive economies and societies, including among others the use of mobile cashless payments by small-scale traders to harness their business.  

The modules will be delivered in live lectures and discussion forums, in the form of reading materials, case studies in written and video format. In order to ensure the best possible outreach, the course will be delivered through e-learning via UNITAR’s online platform. The course concludes with a written assignment of a brief project plan applying a chosen digital financial technology in the participants’ own area of work for contributing to one or more of the SDGs. All participants will receive feedback from experts in the area, and leave with essential knowledge and hands-on experience to create a digital and sustainable environment.

For more information

Harnessing Digital Financial Innovations for Sustainable Development

Course starting date: October 25 to November 26, 2021 (6 weeks, fully delivered online, Expert-moderated)

Course information and registration: https://www.unitar.org/event/full-catalog/harnessing-digital-financial-innovations-sustainable-development

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