AFI congratulates Palestine on launching NFIS aimed at inclusive economic growth and sustainable development
“Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) is proud to have journeyed with Palestinian Monetary Authority in the development and finalization of its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS),” said AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig in his keynote address during the NFIS launch ceremony organized by the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) and Palestine Capital Markets Authority (PCMA) on 2 December 2018 in Ramallah.
AFI members from Bangladesh Bank, Ministère de l'Economie et des Finances du Sénégal, Banque de la Republique du Burundi and Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador provided a peer review to the first draft of Palestine’s NFIS in 2017. “We appreciate the stance taken by PMA in incorporating the technical feedback provided by these members to further enhance your NFIS,” noted Dr. Hannig.
After Jordan, Palestine is second to have launched the NFIS, since the Financial Inclusion for the Arab Region Initiative (FIARI) was established by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), the GIZ, and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) at the Global Policy Forum in Sharm el Sheikh in September 2017.
Dr. Hannig described Palestine’s NFIS as smart, realistic and relevant. It is smart in the sense that it addresses access, usage and quality dimensions of financial inclusion at a time. “In AFI, we believe that if usage and quality of financial inclusion are not seriously addressed at earlier stages of the financial inclusion journey, dropping off from financial access is a risk that can again lead to financial exclusion,” Dr. Hannig explained.
The Strategy has a realistic framework, with the overarching goal to increase financial inclusion from the current level of 36.4 percent to at least 50 percent of adults by the end of 2025. “This goal appears feasible in view of what other countries commit to and it takes into account that it takes time and considerable investment to achieve and maintain sustainable, and high-quality financial inclusion,” AFI Executive Director noted.
The NFIS is relevant in the specific political, economic and social context of Palestine as it can be an important enabler in addressing the key challenges of the country. “Financial inclusion in this framework presented today is not seen as a stand-alone, it is an integral part of broader effort to create jobs, reduce the gender gap in financial inclusion and ensure economic and ultimately social stability,” Dr. Hannig underlined adding that it is in line with the international understanding that Financial Inclusion drives inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
National strategies have an important role to play in ensuring a country’s financial inclusion policy actions will contribute to the achievement of the global goals. AFI’s analysis has highlighted that progress towards achieving up to 16 out of the 17 SDGs can be accelerated by increased financial inclusion, Dr. Hannig said.
He added that the G-20 has recognized financial inclusion as a crucial component of growth, and standard-setting bodies have started to incorporate issues relating to financial inclusion in the international regulatory framework.
Increasing number of AFI members are adopting such strategies as implementing frameworks to achieve ambitious commitments and targets under the Maya Declaration. By the end of July 2017, there have been 63 commitments under the Maya Declaration with over 600 targets. “71 of these targets are related to the formulation and implementation of NFIS, while 38 AFI member institutions have already formulated a national strategy, and 27 are in the process of developing one,” explained Dr. Hannig.
“AFI will take its role and provide additional support, but also in a more selfish way will source your learnings and disseminate with the rest of the community,” concluded AFI Executive Director as he congratulated Palestine on the launch of its NFIS.
The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) has been an active member within the AFI network since joining in 2010. Currently within the six thematic policy working groups in AFI, PMA is a member of the Consumer Empowerment & Market Conduct (CEMC) working group, Digital Financial Services (DFS) working group, Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG) and the SME Finance (SMEF) working Group. Under FIARI, PMA is also a highly engaged member, providing support and assistance to other members from the Arab region.
FIARI (Financial Inclusion in Arab Regional Initiative) is accelerating the implementation of conducive policy and action that advances financial inclusion in Arab countries, by providing a platform for productive knowledge exchange and capacity building among financial policymaking institutions in the region. Through mechanisms such as peer learning at the regional level, FIARI is contributing to formulation and implementation of more national strategies in the region, with countries such as Morocco already in very advanced stages of development. FIARI was launched by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), the GIZ, and AFI at the Global Policy Forum in Sharm el Sheikh in September 2017.