AMPI leaders promote public-private engagement as use of MFS explodes across Africa


African policymakers and regulators from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Network engaged with senior private sector representatives from the banking, telecommunications and payment platform industries at a high-level roundtable co-hosted by AFI and the Brookings Institution's Africa Growth Initiative in Washington D.C. on 10 April 2014, in advance of the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group.

The meeting, held under the theme Public-Private Roundtable on Breaking the MFS Barriers to Expand Access and Usage in Africa, represented another key step forward in the effort to further enable the growth of digital financial services across the continent.

Building upon recent momentum from the milestone gathering of the African Mobile Phone Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI) Leaders Roundtable in Kenya during February, participants in Washington discussed in-depth the joint vision previously articulated by policymakers and the private sector to expand mobile financial services (MFS) in Africa which has been incorporated into AMPI’s strategy. The establishment of a permanent public-private engagement platform in Africa to guarantee candid, systematic dialogue between policymakers and the private sector that results in win-win policy solutions for both service providers as well as service recipients is viewed as a critical pillar of the AMPI strategy.

Representatives from both AFI member institutions and the private sector expressed significant interest in ongoing engagement to identify commonalities and basic understanding around key regulatory issues, and noted AFI is uniquely positioned to facilitate this dialogue. Specifically, concerns such as pricing, interoperability and the need for flexible regulations that incentivize the private sector were highlighted.

Professor Njuguna Ndung'u, Governor at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), remarked: “AMPI members are truly the agents of market development.”

AFI intends to introduce a global public-private engagement platform on financial inclusion based on the model in Africa later this year. The importance of public-private sector engagement will be thoroughly integrated into discussion at the 2014 Global Policy Forum (GPF) scheduled for 9-11 September in Port of Spain, Trinidad.