The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia and the Pacific, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. It provides seed capital grants and loans and technical support to help microfinance institutions reach more poor households and small businesses, and local governments finance the capital investments – water systems, feeder roads, schools, irrigation schemes – that will improve poor peoples’ lives.
Recently, UNCDF has formulated its strategy ‘Leaving no one behind in the digital era’ based on over a decade of experience in digital finance in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. UNCDF recognizes that reaching the full potential of digital financial inclusion in support of the Sustainable Development Goals aligns with the vision of promoting digital economies that leave no one behind. The vision of UNCDF is to empower millions of people by 2024 to use services daily that leverage innovation and technology and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Please refer to the link for further information: https://www.uncdf.org/article/4931/global-strategy-leaving-no-onebehind-in-the-digital-era.
UNCDF in Uganda
UNCDF applies a market development approach. This approach aims to understand and intervene in selected market systems to address underlying market dysfunctions that lead to improved efficiencies, effectiveness and sustainability. The approach leverages and supports current players in the market and strengthens the systems and relationships among the various market and sector actors, while recognizing the dynamic and complex nature of markets.
Digital Uganda Vision and the Third National Development Plan
The Digital Uganda Vision is an overarching 20-year ICT development framework that is aligned to the Uganda Vision 2040. Its aim is to guide and harmonize Uganda’s Digital Transformation investments, policies, strategies and other governance frameworks to facilitate the realization of the national development aspirations. The implementation of the digital Uganda vision is within the Comprehensive National Development Planning Framework (CNDPF) as adopted by Government in 2007. The key objectives of the NDP III and interventions were therefore derived from the DUV.
The Inclusive Digital Economy Scorecard (IDES)
The IDES is a policy tool, it supports governments in setting priorities that drive digital transformation while reducing the digital divide. The IDES is a central tool of UNCDF’s “Leaving no One behind in the Digital Era” strategy.
The objective is to provide a tool for easily measuring and tracking the level of development of an inclusive digital economy at the country level.
The tool identifies the key market constraints hindering the development of an inclusive digital economy and helps set the right priorities with public and private stakeholders in each country to foster a digital economy that leaves no one behind.
The IDES has three main components:
- The Digital Economy Score shows the status of the overall digital economy and its components (enabling policy environment, mobile infrastructure and digital payments, innovation ecosystem and customers skills).
- The Digital Inclusiveness Score measures the level of inclusion in the digital economy for key customer segments, such as women, youth, refugees, migrants, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and rural inhabitants.
- The Digital Divide Score is the difference between the Digital Economy Score and the Digital Inclusiveness Score. It shows the extent the digital economy is exclusive of key customer segments.
UNCDF supported the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance (MoICT&NG) to implement the IDES within the Government of Uganda in line with the National Development Plan and the Digital Uganda Vision through trainings to relevant stakeholders and convening working sessions with the Digital Transformation working group. In this process, recommendations were made for the Ministry of ICT to disseminate the IDES agenda, they require technical assistance to come up with policies that would ease the process of aligning the digitization of the NDP3 in order achieve the goals of the NDP3.