Speech Delivered By Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt
Launch of Egypt Post's Yalla Application
February 21, 2022
As prepared for Delivery
Your Excellency Dr. Amr Talaat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology
Dr. Sherif Farouk, Chairman of Egypt Post
• It is a great pleasure to be here with you today to welcome an important new stage in Egypt’s digital financial inclusion.
• I would also like to begin by congratulating Egypt Post on its many remarkable accomplishments in serving society over many years.
• I would also like to congratulate H.E. Dr. Amr Talaat. UNDP is a proud partner to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. We have numerous joint projects supporting Egypt on its digital transformation journey.
• We are all especially grateful for the crucial role Egypt Post has played in helping the country respond rapidly and innovatively to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
• Throughout this crisis, Egypt Post has remained the primary channel for providing government support to vulnerable communities across the country.
• With over 155 financial, postal, governmental and social services, Egypt Post continues to undertake innovations to serve people better and to ensure that no one is left behind.
• These innovations have provided crucial support for the country’s bold vision of developing an inclusive economy and society in accordance with the government’s 2030 vision.
• Today we are celebrating the latest of these innovations – the new Yalla App.
• This app will significantly expand digital financial inclusion in Egypt, giving many more citizens a greater chance of leading a decent life.
• Financial inclusion has been shown to be an effective way to reduce extreme poverty and boost economic growth.
• In this way, financial inclusions can help boost the country’s progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the key SDG principle of leaving no one behind.
• As we all know, Egypt Post has already achieved financial inclusion for 25 million citizens through its saving accounts, providing digital financial services through electronic payment cards, ATM services, a mobile app, and other advanced digital services.
• UNDP has enjoyed a close partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Egypt Post for over 15 years.
• In this time, we have collaborated successfully on many fronts, building institutional capacity, modernizing delivery mechanisms, and enhancing the accessibility of services.
• In recent years, we have been especially delighted to cooperate with Egypt Post in its development of digital financial services, supporting this important transformation through UNDP’s global network and technical expertise.
• The future of development is digital.
• Digital technology will be a fundamental driver of change, reshaping economies, governments, and civil society – impacting almost every aspect of development.
• While digitalization opens up countless opportunities, it also comes with many challenges - including issues of data privacy, cybercrime, and misinformation disseminated through digital platforms.
• In addition, rapid change can be disruptive to governments and may further exacerbate inequalities.
• Taking all these factors into consideration, UNDP worldwide has launched its digital strategy for 2022–2025 with the primary aim of helping countries achieve the SDGs.
• At the same time, the Egyptian Government has been accelerating digital transformation and financial inclusion by creating opportunities to deliver more responsive and effective services to all citizens.
• And today with the launch of the Yalla App, Egypt Post is again supporting these efforts by serving as a crucial channel to ensure no one is left behind.
• Developing low-cost, innovative and customer-centred financial products is a key part of these efforts.
• The importance of providing and expanding these services can be seen from the statistics of the Central Bank of Egypt for financial inclusion rate. This rate reached 54% in the year 2021. With less than 40% of all Egyptians thus using the banking system, it is essential to expand access to financial products like savings accounts, loans, credit and insurance.
• These statistics further highlight the importance of supporting the expansion of financial literacy throughout the Egyptian population.
• Expanding financial literacy here means not only raising public awareness of financial services and products but also addressing the behavioural barriers that inhibit the uptake of financial services and hinder digital financial inclusion.
• There are strong grounds for hope in the transformation of finance worldwide and in Egypt. According to a recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute, digital finance alone could benefit billions of people by spurring inclusive growth that adds $3.7 trillion to the GDP of emerging economies within a decade.
• And according to a recent report on digital finance in the MENA region, Egypt was recognized as the country with the most dynamic digital finance services environment, enabled by political leadership in expanding financial inclusion.
• In 2020, digital finance services witnessed an annual growth of 30%. In addition, Egypt has prioritized financial inclusion for women in its national financial inclusion strategy.
• And here we are today to witness another milestone along this journey!
• Speaking on behalf of UNDP, I am happy to assure you that we fully share and support your commitment to achieving Egypt’s vision 2030.
• Once again: Congratulations to Your Excellency Dr. Amr Talaat! Congratulations to Dr. Sherif Farouk! And to the whole team who have helped make this latest innovation possible.
• Thank you!