Hon. Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas at the launch of Vanuatu's NFIS earlier this week

Vanuatu NFIS serves as essential five-year roadmap to advance financial inclusion for MSMEs & the underserved

An active member country of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) network, Vanuatu, launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2018 – 2023 on 28 March, 2018.

“For the government of Vanuatu, financial inclusion in an enduring vision — supporting inclusive growth, promoting shared economic development, upholding social cohesion and reducing income inequality,” emphasized Hon. Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas at the launch of the NFIS earlier this week.

Outlining specific targets to be met within the next five years, an important goal in the NFIS is to ensure that 65 percent of adults, of which half will be women, will be active users of formal or semi-formal financial services, increasing from the current level of 47 percent that are using formal and semi-formal financial institutions.

“This is the day that paints a clear roadmap for the nation out till 2023,” said Governor Simeon Athy of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu in his opening remarks at the launch of the Strategy. The NFIS offers an elaborate measurement that will be used in the assessment of the level of financial inclusion in Vanuatu — ensuring action plans implemented have an impact on the ground.

In addition, the NFIS provides the means to achieving the vision of creating an enabling environment that will lead to enriching the livelihoods of the people and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) by giving not only an improved access to and usage of appropriate financial services, but also those that are more inclusive, while simultaneously increasing consumer empowerment and protection. The Strategy calls for a suite of MSME business financing products to be available that are tailored to the needs of women and youth-led businesses.

This five-year strategic plan is linked to Pillar Three of the Vanuatu Government’s National Sustainable Development Plan 2016-2030. Pillar Three seeks to ensure a stable economy through sustainable and equitable growth and has nine main objectives, the latter two being “ECO. 1.8 - Ensure financial sector stability and make financial services affordable and accessible for all through pursuing financial inclusion strategies. ECO 1.9 Promote financial literacy and consumer empowerment.”

Vanuatu is amongst the many developing and emerging countries globally that have made measurable commitments under AFI’s Maya Declaration to achieve financial inclusion. A member of the AFI network since August 2009, the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu has been instrumental in advancing financial inclusion in the country through surveys to assess financial access and demand, and the formation of the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce.