Based at the United Nations, the Better Than Cash Alliance is a partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to responsible digital payments to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals


Examples of how our partnership is taking action on the SDGs through responsible digital payments.

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Digital wages boost women’s economic participation

At the Digital Wages Summit convened by the Alliance, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) committed to digitizing 90% of payments made to garment workers by 2021. Around 60% of Bangladesh’s 4 million garment workers are women. Leading brands Gap Inc., H&M, Inditex, and Marks & Spencer also endorsed the call to move away from cash, in alignment with the goals of the Government of Bangladesh to create a cashless society.

“We are dedicating our services to coordinate, support and test innovative solutions to digitalize payroll in order to empower garment workers, particularly women.”

— Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister for Information and communications technology (ICT), Bangladesh

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Peer learning expands social protection

The Government of India, in collaboration with the Alliance, hosted a peer exchange to share lessons on digitizing social protection payments. The event was attended by a high-level delegation from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, including Minister Véronique Mewanou from Benin and Minister Maritou Koné from Ivory Coast. As a result of the peer exchange, Alliance members Benin and Senegal signed agreements with the Indian government for further collaboration on promoting digital payments.

“To fight extreme poverty in rural areas, Ivory Coast is promoting digital payments to reach target populations.”

— Pr. Mariatou Koné, Minister of Solidarity, Social Cohesion and the Fight against Poverty, Ivory Coast


Improving humanitarian assistance

Collectively, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP) delivered more than $2 billion in global humanitarian cash-based assistance in 2017. This was more than half of all global humanitarian cash assistance, 80% of which is directed to 10 countries. In a joint report with the Alliance, steps were identified to improve collaboration across UN agencies and partners on digitization of cash transfers.

“This report offers a good menu of options to enhance digitization and financial inclusion, for faster, safer, and higher value cash transfers. Right now it is the time to harness the power of technology and speed up collaboration across UN agencies on humanitarian cash transfers.”

— Rosario Buendía, Treasurer, UNICEF

“At a time when over 68 million people have been forced to leave their homes, and over 25 million are refugees, how effectively we deliver assistance can be a matter of life and death. This report identifies the opportunities for collaboration among UN agencies and our partners that are needed to bring the highest benefit to those we protect. And the good news is that we have already started!”

— Carmen Hett, Treasurer, UNHCR

“815 million people are food insecure, together we can change that. Sharing each other’s innovative technologies, enhancing interoperability levels and fostering the use of unified cash transfer mechanisms are the tools and actions that we are committed to taking forward to save and change lives. This report supports the recent statement from the principals of UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP to provide humanitarian assistance through a common cash system and provides valuable insights on how to make this collaboration happen.”

— Robert van der Zee, Director, Finance and Treasury, World Food Programme

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Prioritizing payment digitization on global agendas

All G20 countries have formally recognized the crucial role of digital payments in achieving growth and financial inclusion. Under the Argentinian Presidency of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) in 2018, the Alliance report on developing inclusive digital payments ecosystems was endorsed by G20 finance ministers. The guidance note outlines practical actions for government and payments officials.

“Open and inclusive digital payments infrastructures can help drive financial inclusion which contributes to economy growth, while bringing those previously included into the formal financial system.”

— Gabriel R. Bizama, Director of Financial Inclusion G20 Division, Ministry of Treasury and Finance of Argentina