Ideas & Updates

Better Than Cash Alliance Recognized As Example for Effective Development

On April 15-16, 2014 the Better Than Cash Alliance presented at the First High Level Meeting for Effective Development Cooperation in Mexico City, Mexico. The meeting was organized by the Mexican government with support of the OECD and UNDP. Tidhar Wald, Government and Corporate Relations Specialist shares insights from the event.

Better Than Cash Alliance Recognized As Example for Effective Development
Enthusiasm and inspiration prevailed as 1,500 leaders from the global development community left the Banamex Convention Center in Mexico City on April 16th 2014. The First High Level Meeting for Effective Development Cooperation, building on ten years of Aid Effectiveness fora (Rome, Accra, Paris, Busan), focused on reviewing effective development models and identifying actions that global leaders should take to escalate progress – a highly ambitious agenda that could easily have been lost in the minutiae of the world’s diverse development challenges. But after two long days of intense debates and exchange of ideas, participants converged around agreed pillars for the post-2015 development agenda… and The Better Than Cash Alliance, was recognized as a timely example for an effective partnership for development in the 21st century – one that not only brings all relevant actors together, but integrates private sector into development work together with foundations and governments and that is looking to create inclusive in-country systems that target those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Principles for the Future of International Development

The views represented at the High Level Meeting were diverse: more than 100 ministers from various developed and developing countries were joined by leaders of multilateral, bilateral development and financial institutions, private sector entities, foundations and civil society organizations. Many speakers, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Nigerian Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spoke of the importance of finding new and innovative solutions for domestic resource mobilization (DRM). From these discussions and debates, four clear principles emerged to define the nature of the 21st century international development, each of them validating the work of the Better Than Cash Alliance:

  • Importance of partnerships for effective cooperation;
  • Role of the private sector in development;
  • Necessity to mobilize domestic resources in developing countries; and
  • Need for an inclusive approach for development.

Better Than Cash Alliance Recognized as Effective Example

The Better Than Cash Alliance was invited to showcase its experience as a cutting-edge partnership of governments, development organizations, foundations and private sector working together for development results, in particular for its work around financial inclusion, transparency and accountability. Throughout the event, the Alliance was recognized as an initiative that followed these four principles. A few examples of the discussions include:

  • At the panel focusing on the role of the private sector for development Impact, Bob Annibale, Citi’s Global Director for Community Development and Microfinance, emphasized that the Alliance, as a partnership between governments, development organizations, private sector and foundations, was a model for “how to bring out the best of private sector for development impact.” He then explained how the digitization of payments had the potential to not only increase transparency and reduce corruption, but also provide an on-ramp for financial inclusion.
  • At a session focusing on the role of foundations, Tony Pipa, International Policy Adviser to the Administrator at USAID, described how the Alliance represented a successful example for how foundations can effectively work with governments and development organizations in development.
  • Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Alliance, at a session on Domestic Resource Mobilization, presented a recently published case study on how the Mexican Government was able to save more than one billion dollars annually by digitizing and centralizing payments. Dr. Goodwin-Groen showed how the cost savings induced by the digitization of payments can help unblock domestic resources that can be used for development and concluded that “focusing on digitizing could deliver benefits and efficiency for other governments and can begin immediately.”

The many activities at the High Level Meeting for Effective Development Cooperation continued to reinforce the mission and model of the Alliance, and it was thrilling to hear so many leaders from around the globe come together around principles that we can collectively address. In her closing speech, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark emphasized that ‘inclusion’ would be a guiding principle of the post-2015 development process. The final communique endorsed by all participants also called for the “development of innovative public-private finance mechanisms…that enhance financial inclusion”. This focus resonates with the Alliance’s mission in emerging and developing economies, to bring together all relevant actors and build inclusive payment systems to expand the benefits of financial inclusion and savings for the poor. We are proud to share in this effort with our dedicated members and partners, and look forward to contributing to the post-2015 development agenda with the many leaders we met at the meetings in Mexico City.