UPI Expansion: India Collaborates with Africa for Financial Inclusion

byPriyanka JuyalLast Updated: March 14, 2024
Evolution of UPI

Key Highlights:

  • India collaborates with African countries to enhance Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and establish commercial partnerships for seamless remittance experiences and financial inclusion.
  • Ritesh Shukla of NPCI predicts UPI’s expansion to double the number of countries within 12-18 months, driving India’s collaboration to help African nations create their own UPI versions.
  • India actively promotes UPI to developing countries by building platforms, digital infrastructure, and forging commercial partnerships for simplified financial transactions globally.
  • With 30 million Indians abroad sending $100 billion annually, India’s focus on standardizing remittance experiences aims to simplify transactions regardless of location, with neighboring countries already embracing UPI.

In a bid to strengthen its Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and establish commercial partnerships, India is actively engaging with several African countries, including Namibia, Mozambique, and Kenya. This strategic move aims to foster seamless remittance experiences and promote financial inclusion, while projecting India as a champion for the interests of developing nations on the global stage.

Must read: Roles and Responsibilities of NPCI, PSP, and TPAP in UPI

The endeavor follows the insightful projection made by Ritesh Shukla, the International CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), that the number of countries where UPI is operational will double within the next 12-18 months. Shukla highlighted the shared challenges faced by countries worldwide, such as financial inclusion, support for rural economies, fintech incubation, and transparency. With this in mind, India seeks to collaborate with African nations to help them create their own versions of UPI in a sovereign manner.

India has been actively marketing its signature UPI platform to various developing countries in recent years, utilizing two key strategies. Firstly, India aims to assist partner nations in building platforms and developing robust digital infrastructure. This cooperative approach will facilitate the effective implementation of UPI, enabling seamless remittance experiences for individuals across borders.

Secondly, India is keen on forging commercial partnerships and linkages with existing payment platforms in foreign countries. This will not only simplify financial transactions for Indian travelers and migrants but also contribute to the overall growth of digital payments ecosystems globally.

The significance of this initiative is heightened by the fact that approximately 30 million Indians reside abroad and send around $100 billion in remittances annually. The need for streamlined and hassle-free remittance experiences has become increasingly imperative. The current fragmented landscape is set to be standardized through collaborative efforts, ensuring a simplified user experience for remittances, regardless of the geographical location of the sender or receiver.

Read more: India’s UPI Set to Revolutionize Payments for Indian Tourists in France

India’s proactive approach in extending its UPI platform to African countries is also in line with its broader ambition of representing the interests of developing nations in global forums. In June, India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Sierra Leone, and Suriname, sharing its expertise in Digital Public Goods (DPG) solutions. These partnerships are expected to extend to other developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, further boosting India’s presence in the digital payments landscape.

Moreover, India’s neighboring countries have also embraced the UPI platform, with Nepal and Bhutan successfully implementing it, and Sri Lanka expected to follow suit in the near future. Additionally, collaborations with countries like Singapore have facilitated seamless remittance flows between nations, reflecting the growing global recognition of India’s UPI platform.

As India intensifies its efforts to enhance UPI and forge partnerships with African nations, the aim is to create a standardized and user-friendly remittance ecosystem. Through collaboration, digital infrastructure development, and sovereign partnerships, India strives to promote financial inclusion, support rural economies, and simplify remittance transactions, contributing to a more inclusive and efficient financial landscape both domestically and internationally.

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