2018-05-16

AFI members from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) convene to discuss financial inclusion plans for the region

The National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT) in partnership with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), hosted a Technical Team Meeting in Khujand City, Tajikistan between 14-15 May, 2018.

“Increasing financial literacy and access to financial services for the population are key factors for fast economic development. NBT, on behalf of the Republic of Tajikistan, is a full member of AFI since December 7, 2011. NBT highly appreciates AFI’s activities and its provision of regular support for the development of financial inclusion in member countries,” emphasized Mr. Ikromi Sirojiddin Salom, Deputy Chairman of NBT at the meeting.

AFI members from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region gathered at the two-day meeting to deliberate, and address common topics linked to financial inclusion in the EECA region. Despite progress in financial inclusion globally, at least 36.5 percent of EECA population still has no access to formal financial services[1]. Countries within the region have been characterized by specific traits and challenges that require focused and tailored solutions. Some of their key financial inclusion challenges are:

  • Lack of trust of the population in the financial sector
  • Low levels of financial literacy within the population
  • High dependency of remittances & consumption indebtedness

A regional survey undertaken by members from the region earlier this year, revealed several cross-cutting financial inclusion policy topics that needed to be addressed at a regional level, such as consumer protection. Members realized the importance of market conduct risk-based supervision, responsible finance and lending, financial innovation and consumer protection, dispute resolution mechanisms and an effective complaints handling system. In addition, members also highlighted issues around digital financial systems, financial education and literacy, and FinTech.

The two-day meeting explored potential solutions to address issues raised in the survey and discussed ways to strengthen regional collaboration. AFI member institutions that were present at the meeting include Central Bank of Armenia, Central Bank of the Russian Federation, National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia, National Bank of Georgia and the host, National Bank of Tajikistan.

 

[1] According to the 2017 Global Findex