Advancing financial education & consumer protection in the EECA region
The Eastern Europe & Central Asia Policy Initiative (ECAPI) was initiated and approved by member institutions of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) from the Eastern Europe & Central Asia (EECA) region to achieve the ultimate goal — resolve regional challenges and elevate the voice of the EECA region on key financial inclusion policy issues.
Launched during the 10th AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF) in Sochi, Russia on 7 September, 2018, ECAPI comprises of seven AFI member institutions:
- Central Bank of Armenia (Chair)
- Bank of Russia (Co-chair)
- National Bank of the Republic of Belarus
- Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia
- Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market of the Republic of Kazakhstan
- National Bank of Tajikistan
- Central Bank of Uzbekistan
View the ECAPI factsheet for more information.
ECAPI aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Share regional financial inclusion lessons among ECAPI members and with the wider AFI network
- Enhance in-country implementation of financial inclusion policies in EECA
- Coordinate the development of financial inclusion policies that address regional challenges
- Facilitate high-level discussions among ECAPI leaders to provide strategic guidance on addressing the region’s financial inclusion challenges
- Elevate the voice of the EECA region on key financial inclusion policy issues
The Eastern Europe & Central Asia (EECA) region has seen incredible advancements in financial access over the past few years. However, at least 121 million people in the region are still outside of the formal financial sector. Countries within the region have been characterized by specific traits and challenges that require focused and tailored solutions. Some of the key financial inclusion challenges from the region are:
- Lack of trust of population in the financial sector
- Low levels of financial literacy amongst population
- High dependency/high volume of remittances
- High consumption indebtedness
- Rapid, sometimes uncontrolled, growth of the innovations
- Underdeveloped consumer protection measures and policies
Priorities for ECAPI
Following technical and high-level meetings, a consensus was reached on the priorities for ECAPI in the coming years. The members of the EECA region will work closely to improve the availability and quality of financial services across the region, protecting consumer rights and financial markets, and strengthening financial literacy. Members will exchange best practices and harmonize approaches in four key areas:
- Consumer protection
- Financial literacy/education
- Digital financial services (DFS)
Central Bank of Russia has issued guidelines on FinTech Development that are focused on financial infrastructure development, i.e. remote identification platforms, faster payment platforms, a marketplace for financial products and services, sandbox and new blockchain-based and cloud platforms to boost interactions between market participants in the digital environment.
In Belarus, the setup of a High-Tech Park (HTP), a local version of Silicon Valley, aims to become the focal point for FinTech innovations including blockchain operators in the country.
Retail banks in Mongolia have proactively targeted marginalized consumers in remote rural areas including nomadic herders with the aim of providing accessible banking services.
Countries in the EECA region will develop joint learning programs and implementation plans to support policymakers through:
- Providing a unique member-driven platform for creating common knowledge through peer learning to advance shared goals
- Strengthening regional coordination and integration of financial inclusion policy
- Building institutional capacity to implement policy
- Complementing AFI’s global knowhow with specific regional policy needs
Structure and governance of ECAPI
Timeline for launch of ECAPI
 Findex 2017