AMPI expands mandate and adopts new name at 5th Annual Leaders Roundtable in Maputo

2017-05-17

AMPI expands mandate and adopts new name at 5th Annual Leaders Roundtable in Maputo

Leaders and officials from 24 AFI member institutions in Africa, along with representatives from financial services providers and international development agencies, attended the 5th Annual Roundtable of the Leaders of the African Mobile Phone Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI) in Maputo on 11-12 May 2017 on the theme “Driving Change for Financial Inclusion through Innovation in Africa”. 

The keynote address entitled “Technology and Innovation: an opportunity to close the financial inclusion gender gap in Africa” was delivered by Mrs. Luisa Diogo, Chair of the Board of Directors of Barclays Bank Mozambique and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Mozambique. During her address, Mrs. Diogo invited services providers, regulators and policymakers to work together in harnessing technology to enhance women’s economic participation in Africa through access to and usage of simple financial services, especially saving, credit, insurance and remittance facilities.

Following her remarks, participants exchanged views on a range of issues related to the roles of digital financial services uptake in deepening financial inclusion for women in Africa; the role of innovative technology in addressing Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) access to finance in Africa; the role of financial policymakers in facilitating environmentally friendly financing; and transforming agricultural finance through digital platforms.

AFI Members also took the opportunity to share experiences on how commitments made under the Maya Declaration can feed into a cohesive national financial inclusion strategy and provide opportunities for international support for in-country implementation of financial inclusion policies.

In his opening remarks, the Deputy Executive Director of AFI, Mr. Norbert Mumba, highlighted the maturity of AMPI, the Regional Initiative of the AFI network for Africa, launched in February 2013 as a platform to provide high-level leadership in the development of mobile financial services, and to serve as a platform for capacity building through peer learning. He indicated that AFI members in Africa are increasingly faced with challenges, not only related to access to financial services, but also to usage and quality of services, forcing AMPI to adapt to members’ needs for deepening financial inclusion. 

In line with this progression in maturity of AMPI, leaders discussed how to make the initiative more effective and responsive to AFI members’ needs in Africa. Leaders decided to expand the scope of the Regional Initiative beyond mobile phone policy initiative to a broad-based approach that would include other topics such as SME/MSME Finance, gender and women’s financial inclusion, policies for agriculture finance, the synergy between digital financial services and microfinance, etc. As a consequence, AFI members decided to change the initiatives name to African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI). 

In addition, Leaders agreed to establish Technical Groups of Experts on specific topics to enhance the technical implementation of AfPI. Technical Groups, comprised of experts from AFI member institutions, will be set up for a fixed duration to achieve a predefined set of objectives. Based on immediate members’ needs and interests two initial technical groups have been set up, one on cross-border financial inclusion and regulatory framework, and the other on approaches to inform effective policy interventions for interoperability that support financial inclusion. 

Leaders from AFI member institutions in Africa also discussed and agreed on the Charter of AfPI, with the aim to strengthen the institutional capacity of the regional Initiative. All these decisions, coupled with the announcement of the host Country of AFI Regional Office in Africa, marked a significant step forward in supporting AFI members’ efforts to deepen financial inclusion in Africa.