ACDI/VOCA Joins the Better Than Cash Alliance

Pledges to Address Poverty and Grow the Economy by Shifting to Electronic Payments 

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today ACDI/VOCA joins the Better Than Cash Alliance, an initiative founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, USAID, U.N. Capital Development Fund and Visa Inc., and commits to transition its worldwide operational and programmatic payments from cash to electronic.

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"ACDI/VOCA is committed to reducing our use of cash. Electronic payments increase staff security, reduce the risk of theft or other loss of funds and improve efficiency and transparency," said Matt Renaud, ACDI/VOCA's chief financial officer. "The transition makes good sense for both our operations and our development programs expanding opportunities worldwide."

The shift to electronic payments can result in significant cost savings, transparency, security and economic growth. For example, a recent report by the World Bank found that governments can save up to 75 percent of costs by shifting to electronic payment programs.

The Better Than Cash Alliance works with governments, the development community and the private sector to adopt the use of electronic payments and provides resources to those who commit to make the transition.

ACDI/VOCA, an international development organization, has worked in 145 countries since 1963 to alleviate poverty and support broad-based growth by empowering people to succeed in the global economy. 

Helping the Unbanked Access Financial Services
Today 2.5 billion adults—more than a third of the world's population—are excluded from the formal financial sector. This exclusion is most acute in the developing world where approximately 80 percent of poor people are "unbanked." As a result, most poor households have no option but to subsist almost entirely in an informal, cash-only economy, making it extraordinarily difficult for them to access financial services, save for the future, build assets or get credit. Electronic payments can create lasting benefits for people by creating opportunities to access formal financial services and begin to develop assets and savings. 

"We commend ACDI/VOCA on their leadership and commitment to empower people by transitioning their development programs' cash payments to electronic payments," said Ruth Goodwin-Groen, managing director of the Better Than Cash Alliance. "While the benefits of electronic payments are many, this shift requires resources and technical expertise, and we look forward to providing this through our partnership with ACDI/VOCA."

ACDI/VOCA joins the governments of Afghanistan, Colombia, Kenya, Peru and the Philippines along with development organizations USAID, the United Nations Development Program, the World Food Program, Mercy Corps, CARE USA, Chemonics International and Concern Worldwide, that have committed to digitize their disbursements and payments to people living in poverty, thereby becoming eligible for technical and financial support from the Better Than Cash Alliance.

Better Than Cash Alliance Membership and Benefits
To join the Better Than Cash Alliance a government, company or organization must:

  1. make a new commitment to digitize their disbursement and payments
  2. designate senior staff member(s) to create and implement a change management program to reduce physical cash payments
  3. share lessons learned with the Better Than Cash Alliance to inspire and equip others to overcome transition challenges  

As a partner, organizations will be:

  1. eligible for technical assistance and/or funding to support the transition if needed
  2. recognized for leadership in Better Than Cash Alliance publications and media
  3. invited to participate in learning opportunities as appropriate
  4. given access to the latest research and case studies about lessons learned and what's working for other Better Than Cash Alliance program partners 

Contact: Anja Tranovich, ACDI/VOCA editor and media relations senior specialist
202-469-6095
atranovich@acdivoca.org

About Better Than Cash Alliance
The Better Than Cash Alliance partners with governments, the development community and the private sector to empower people by shifting from cash to electronic payments. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, USAID and Visa Inc. are the founders and the U.N. Capital Development Fund serves as the secretariat. To learn more, visit www.betterthancash.org and follow @BetterThan_Cash.

About ACDI/VOCA
ACDI/VOCA is an economic development organization that fosters broad-based economic growth, raises living standards and creates vibrant communities. Based in Washington, D.C., ACDI/VOCA has worked in 145 countries since 1963. Its practice areas are agribusiness, food security, enterprise development, financial services and community development. To learn more visit http://www.acdivoca.org/

SOURCE ACDI/VOCA



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