International Conference on Financing for Development

Department of Public Information - News and Media Services Division - New York
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
18-22 March 2002

19 March 2002




The head of electronic finance (E-Finance) for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva briefed journalists in Monterrey today on the just-concluded side event entitled "E-Finance for Development". He also drew attention to the draft recommendations addressed to the Conference.

Rouben Indijikian said the ambitious side event was designed to draw the international community's attention to the emerging world of e-finance as part of the new economy, which was also referred to as the network or information economy. E-commerce had started in the United States and spread rapidly to other regions. At the core of the subject was the digital divide. In fact, the pace of growth of e-commerce and e-finance was now higher in developing countries than in the developed ones, but the former naturally started from a very low base.

He said that an expert panel, including representatives from both developed and developing countries, had discussed a number of topics in Monterrey. Among them were the local experiences for developing e-finance structures in transition economies. Indeed, the series of agreed recommendations addressed to the Conference stakeholders were geared towards facilitating e-finance in transitional economies.

[Mr. Indijikian distributed the draft recommendations to journalists in the briefing room. The paper explains electronic finance as having the potential to replace traditional financial intermediation.]

Due to its higher speed, lower costs and networking effects, e-finance was steady reshaping the world financial landscape and making inroads into the developing countries and transition economies, the document states.

The participants of the UNCTAD e-finance side event called on the public and private sectors of developing and transition economies to ensure that they improve Internet connectivity in conjunction with the creation of e-commerce-compatible legal and institutional frameworks, and sound risk management practices and knowledge bases. Also according to the paper, they appealed to the international development community to encourage the introduction of e-finance by financial service providers from developing and transition economies, permitting them to tap into e-finance related efficiency gains.

Among other agreements, participants encouraged the international financial institutions and development agencies to continue systematic research on various online financial services and their impact on economic development, and on opportunities opened up for enterprises to improve access to e-finance, the paper states. They recommended to UNCTAD and other development agencies specializing in technical assistance that they organize regular forums to sensitize governments, central banks and financial regulators, financial service providers and the corporate sector in developing and transition countries to the advantages of e-commerce and e-finance at the local, regional and global levels.

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