Responsible DPI for Improving Outcomes Beyond Inclusion

Digital public infrastructure (DPI) is increasingly recognized as a core component of modern governance and economic development, integral to advancing financial inclusion and supporting sustainable development goals. The concept gained traction with India’s G20 presidency and initiatives such as India Stack and e-Estonia, which have demonstrated the transformative power of digital technologies in public service delivery and financial transactions. These precedents underline the potential of DPI to revolutionize access to public goods and services, enhancing efficiency, transparency, and citizen engagement. 

Amid the enthusiasm to expand and scale DPI models to dozens of new markets, this report explores the opportunities for DPI to be built and deployed responsibly for three fundamental elements of financial inclusion: identity (ID), payments, and consent-based data exchanges. Reviewing examples and evidence to date, the paper examines DPI through three lenses — governance, innovation for value and financial sustainability, and citizen rights and measurable impact outcomes — across each element of ID, payments, and data exchange. It emphasizes the varied governance models and the distinct roles assumed by public and private sector entities within the DPI ecosystem, highlighting the complexity and necessity of balancing stakeholder interests, ensuring trust, and safeguarding citizen rights, privacy, and security in the digital age. 

The analysis aims to shed light on the multifaceted nature of DPI and raise outstanding questions stakeholders must consider for responsible and effective DPI development and implementation. As the DPI space is rapidly evolving, there are many unresolved questions that require further scrutiny. In raising these questions, we acknowledge that we are still at an early stage in measuring impact, and have to first agree on what needs to be measured. This can help design systems that provide metrics beyond just availability and usage of digital financial services delivered through DPI rails. The objective of this paper is not to provide all the answers but rather to identify open questions that require further research and spotlight the need to build guardrails as an inclusive finance community in order to achieve the potential that DPI holds in delivering positive outcomes through digital financial services.

About this Publication

By Jayshree Venkatesan, Alex Rizzi, Edoardo Totolo , Loretta Michaels