Meridian International Center Launches New Economic Growth Initiative on Digital Financial Services

October 21, 2016

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Washington, D.C.: On October 21, 2016, Meridian International Center announced the launch of a new initiative which will equip leaders in Washington, DC with information that is critical for the development of digital financial services that will pull people in their countries out of poverty. This innovative digital financial services initiative will also raise awareness within influential sectors in Washington, DC on how digital financial services can be used for boosting economic growth around the world. This initiative is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The initiative will be officially launched at the Meridian Global Leadership Summit on October 14, 2016, and will be comprised of several convening programs from November 2016 to April 2017. A key component is the award of inclusive digital finance scholarships to select convening participants for further training and study in the industry, so that they can contribute to economic growth in their communities and countries. The culminating panel discussion and networking reception will coincide with Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in April 2017.

Who will benefit from this initiative?

Digital Financial Services: Building Awareness in Washington, DC will provide Washington’s most influential decision-makers with cutting-edge data on digital financial services, and how these services can be used for lifting people around the world out of poverty. The initiative will also inform leaders of international organizations, the business and technology communities, members of the media, and other public and private sector leaders globally of the vast potential of digital finance to move people out of poverty in both developed and emerging nations. This knowledge will serve as a catalyst of change that will help the underprivileged in all nations.

Why is this initiative important?

Billions of adults worldwide lack an account at a financial institution and rely solely on the cash economy. These individuals need a better mechanism than a physical banking system for saving, sending, and borrowing money. Research has found that digital financial services are the most effective way to expand financial services for all and to improve global ties, as well as help build sustainable futures.

In order to accelerate this universal transition to the digital economy, government and policy makers need to establish policies and regulations that facilitate these developments and provide oversight and accountability. There is, however, a general lack of awareness of the benefits of digital finance on the part of government officials, including those in developing nations.

According to Meridian’s President Ambassador Stuart Holliday: “This project connects strongly with Meridian’s mission of advancing effective global leadership to promote a more secure and prosperous world. Meridian routinely focuses on global economic development issues, principally through the scores of public and private sector exchange and leadership development programs that we implement across the United States and around the world each month. The initiative also reinforces Meridian’s longstanding relationship with the diplomatic corps in Washington. “

More details about the program components for the Digital Financial Services: Building Awareness in Washington, DC initiative will be posted on

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About Meridian International Center

Meridian International Center is a premier nonprofit, global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Building on more than 55 years of experience, Meridian prepares U.S. and international leaders to meet global challenges and opportunities. Meridian’s suite of programs delivers the approach and environment for leaders to understand global issues and cultures, exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions, and build valuable relationships.
Meridian’s mission is to create innovative exchange, education, cultural, and policy programs that advance three goals:

  • Strengthen U.S. engagement with the world through the power of exchange.
  • Prepare public and private sector leaders for a complex global future.
  • Provide a neutral forum for international collaboration across sectors.

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