How the Instant & Inclusive Payment Systems Programme is Driving Development and Innovation

In today’s rapidly evolving financial landscape, inclusive and efficient payment systems are crucial for fostering financial inclusion and driving economic growth. Recognising this need, the Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS) programme was developed with the aim of making payment systems more accessible, inclusive, and efficient for both formal and informal economic actors. By enhancing financial product interoperability, accessibility, and efficiency, the programme seeks to contribute to broader financial inclusion in emerging economies, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. 

Digital Frontiers Institute also known as DFI plays a vital role in training payment professionals on instant and inclusive payments through its IIPS programme. With specialised courses in IIPS regulation and governance, launch and operation, and design and deployment, DFI is actively equipping payment professionals with the knowledge and skills required to support the development of inclusive payment systems. The programme has already reached over 1,200 unique individuals in target low- and middle-income economies since its inception in 2020. 

The increasing popularity of the IIPS programme is evident in its growing participation rates. In 2020, 355-course participants took part in the programme from around the world. The following years saw a consistent rise in participants, with 597 taking part in 2021 and a further 804 in 2022. This upward trend demonstrates the industry’s recognition of the importance of instant and inclusive payment systems. 

The IIPS certification is specifically designed for payment system project champions and deployment team professionals, aiming to enhance their capacity to understand the regulatory, operational, and technological implications of implementing IIPS. 

Upon successful completion of the IIPS foundations course and exam, payment professionals can enroll in specialised courses in various aspects of instant and inclusive payment systems. In 2020, there were 112 enrolments by payment professionals from low- and middle-income economies, with a pass rate of 64%. Subsequently, enrolments and pass rates for the specialisation courses increased, with 224 enrolments and a 74% pass rate, followed by 270 enrolments and an 80% pass rate. This progress puts the programme at 98% of its end-of-2024 target of 460 participants passing the specialisation courses. 

Throughout the IIPS foundations and specialisation courses, payment professionals develop a deep understanding of the principles and components of instant and inclusive payment systems. The programme’s culmination is a capstone seminar, where professionals complete a project and become certified in IIPS.  We have built the capacity of more than 100 payment professionals in the Global South, who now have the ability to affect the advancement of inclusive payment systems.. 

The impact of the IIPS programme extends beyond individual knowledge and skills enhancement. Alumni of the programme have reported an increased understanding of interoperability, inclusivity, competitive cooperation, and digital payment systems.  

Mohammed Zahir Hussain, the Director of the Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department at the Bank of Bangladesh, commended the programme for significantly improving his knowledge base, presentation skills, and professionalism. Such testimonials highlight the direct relevance of the programme’s teachings to the roles of payment professionals in the financial sector. 

The success of the IIPS programme can also be seen in the active contributions of its alumni towards the development of more inclusive payment systems.  

Haoua Souley Mallam is a good example. Working as a Digital Payments Specialist and Project Manager, Mallam completed the IIPS certification and has been instrumental in leading a project for rural growth and financial inclusion in her home country, Niger. Applying the knowledge gained from the IIPS programme, Mallam focuses on leveraging technology, regulation, and operations to increase cellular phone and digital financial access to underserved populations in rural Niger. Her specialisation in regulation equips her to collaborate with regulators and ensure compliance with regulations in establishing digital services and systems. 

The Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS) programme plays a pivotal role in nurturing inclusive financial ecosystems and catalysing economic progress in emerging economies. By empowering payment professionals with specialised expertise, the programme has sparked a transformative movement, paving the way for universal access to financial services regardless of one’s background or location. As the IIPS programme continues to thrive, we can anticipate a future marked by greater inclusivity, innovation, and prosperity in the global financial landscape. 

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