Launched in 2021, the concept for the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations (the Alliance) came from our in-country Digital Finance Association (DFA) members. Through their formation, and gaining credibility on a local level, the Associations identified the common desire to belong to a larger global entity. This entity, as well as being the unified voice of the associations and providing credibility, would also provide them with the opportunity to connect, share and learn between local associations. These discussions back in 2019 shaped what is now the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations.
One of the unique aspects of the Alliance is how these DFA’s were involved in the creation of its constitution and vision. Representatives from the DFA’s discussed and debated and reflected on the type of organisation the Alliance would be, the value it would provide and how it would be structured. The Alliance’s first interim board (Steering Committee) was staffed with representatives from DFA’s, who were forming, and going to be first members of the Alliance.
The key values of the Alliance are representation, diversity, and inclusion. The aim of the Alliance is to represent the digital finance ecosystem, from banks to financial regulators, microfinance institutions and FinTech’s and beyond, and to specifically focus on financial inclusion. For the running of the Alliance, that focus means our membership base consists of DFA’s with diverse and inclusive membership, and those that support the development of the inclusive digital finance profession, particularly in developing countries.
The concepts of representation, diversity and inclusion carry over into the Alliance Board. It was identified that the Board would require individuals with experience in start-up environments and running membership-based organisations, and with skills such as fundraising, stakeholder management, business acumen. We also acknowledged that these board members, where possible, should come from our local membership base and to be representative of the digital finance ecosystem and provide a global context.
With this criterion in mind we are delighted to announce the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations:
- Md Ashraful Alam – Advisor to Digital Finance Forum Bangladesh and Director at Bangladesh Bank
- Sarah Corley – CEO of the Alliance and Divisional Director at Digital Frontiers
- João Gaspar – President of Mozambique FinTech Association and Founder & CEO of PayTek
- Rob Ashley Madziva – Board member at Association of Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP) Tanzania and Executive Director at Digital Mobile Africa
- Lito Villanueva – Chair of Fintech Alliance Philippines and Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer of RCBC
- Diana Akullu Wanyama – Chair of Digital Frontiers Association Uganda and Manager Contact Centre at DFCU Bank
Our Board members bring a wealth of experience from the digital finance profession, across industries, sectors, and geographies. We are currently seeking Non-Executive Directors, external to our membership base, to further compliment the skills and knowledge of our Board and help shape the future of the Alliance. Read more about our Board here.
As the CEO of the Alliance, I am extremely proud of the progress we have made to date and the stature of Board Members speak to the confidence they have in us being able to deliver on our strategy and commitments to furthering important agendas affecting the DFS profession. In the Alliance’s constitution we have included a focus on women’s financial inclusion – at a consumer and marketplace level – and importantly, a lens on gender equity within organisations, as we know women are under-represented at leadership level in the industry. Our new Board is a reflection of the current ratio (33% female representation) in the digital finance sector, however our vision is a Board and leadership team that is equal and diverse.
We are delighted that many of our local DFA members have been founded by and are led by women. We look forward to seeing more of these women progress and hopefully join our Board in the future. To help make this a reality, one of the first projects we will initiate at the Alliance will be to understand what the barriers are for women transitioning into board and leadership positions, and to put a plan in place to address this. An indicator for success of this project would be 50-50 Alliance Board at next election.
As a Board we are extremely excited to being our work of adding value, through projects such as he one mentioned above, and building trust in the Digital Financial Services community, becoming a credible voice for the DFS profession globally.