London – Citi, in partnership with Imperial College Business School, has launched its latest Digital Money Index1. The index, now in its sixth year, tracks 84 countries in terms of their development of digital money readiness.
For the first time, the report compares historical data collated over the last five years, rather than year on year, concluding a 5.5 percent improvement in overall digital money readiness for the 84 countries tracked.
Naveed Sultan, Global Head, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi, commented: "The benefits of digital money have long been apparent and well-articulated by Citi. Increasingly, there is clear evidence that countries are recognizing the potential gains offered by digital money. We are delighted to be working with Imperial on the next edition of the index, and believe that this data and associated case studies provide truly valuable information and reflect Citi's approach to collaborate with academia, policy makers and regulators to advance the financial infrastructure around the world to be compatible with today's increasingly digital economy."
The index groups countries into four clusters of digital money readiness—incipient, emerging, in-transition and materially ready. Although substantial improvements can be seen for each cluster over the past five years, the report highlights that the biggest shift has come from the incipient and in-transition countries, showing a higher than average increase in readiness.
Naveed Sultan, who also Chairs the Advisory Board for Imperial's Centre for Global Finance and Technology at Imperial College Business School, continued: "The index has shown that countries at an earlier stage of readiness typically face challenges relating to lack of financial and communications infrastructure, as well as access to basic financial services. Those that are more mature face challenges relating to availability and adoption of digital money solutions."
Of the total number of countries in the index, this year's report concludes that 18 countries (~22 percent) have advanced from one cluster to the next over the last five years, reflecting the increase in digital readiness. Countries that have advanced in to the next cluster have addressed typical bottlenecks characteristic of their peers. This shift in clusters has resulted in 50 percent more materially ready countries in 2019 and a 20 percent reduction in the number of countries in the incipient cluster.
Andrei Kirilenko, Director of the Centre for Global Finance and Technology at Imperial College Business School, said: "For the first time in the Index's six year history, we've been able to track changes across the time period, highlighting trends which are more cumulative than annual. This is reflective of how digital transformation actually works, while illustrating key bottlenecks. This information is tremendously valuable to policymakers from incipient and in-transition economies".
The full report is available at www.citi.com/digitalmoneyreport.
The index is available at www.citi.com/digitalmoneyindex.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions:
Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) enables our clients' success by providing an integrated suite of innovative and tailored cash management and trade finance services to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations across the globe. Based on the foundation of the industry's largest proprietary network with banking licenses in over 100 countries and globally integrated technology platforms, TTS continues to lead the way in offering the industry's most comprehensive range of digitally enabled treasury, trade and liquidity management solutions.
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 17,000 students and 8,000 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for our society.
Founded in 1907, Imperial builds on a distinguished past - having pioneered penicillin, holography and fibre optics—to shape the future. Imperial researchers work across disciplines to improve health and wellbeing, understand the natural world, engineer novel solutions and lead the data revolution. This blend of academic excellence and its real-world application feeds into Imperial's exceptional learning environment, where students participate in research to push the limits of their degrees.
Imperial is the UK's most international university, according to Times Higher Education, with academic ties to more than 150 countries. Reuters named the College as the UK's most innovative university because of its exceptional entrepreneurial culture and ties to industry. (www.imperial.ac.uk)
1 Digital money is distinct from cryptocurrency. For the purpose of this research, it is defined as the migration from cash and checks to credit/debit cards, stored value instruments and other non-paper based mechanisms. It is about moving fiat money through an upgraded financial infrastructure in a frictionless, economical manner with a superior client experience.
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