Approaches to enhancing financial inclusion through DFS:
AFI’s PPD training organized for AfPI members in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
Rapidly evolving payments technology and how can private players and policy makers can adapt to secure payments systems and safeguard them are some of the main topics discussed during the Training on Approaches to Enhancing Financial Inclusion through Digital Financial Services (DFS), held on 26 – 27 February 2019, in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire.
Co-hosted by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), mastercard and GSMA, the training is an offering of AFI’s Public Private Dialogue (PPD) platform organized for 80 staff from AFI member institutions from across Africa.
National Director of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) Chalouho Coulibaly, of Côte d'Ivoire welcomed participants, highlighting the high penetration of digital financial services in Africa and their role in strengthening financial inclusion. “BCEAO, as the guardian of financial stability, is working on variety of activities which advance financial inclusion and at the same time strengthen financial services,” he said.
Women’s financial inclusion and environmental sustainability must be considered when enhancing financial inclusion through digitization, AFI Deputy Executive Director Norbert Mumba emphasized.
“While digitization accelerates financial inclusion, it brings significant added responsibilities for the financial regulators. This forum will discuss these innovative tools, the shared responsibilities of the public-private sector and the challenges and some proven solutions,” Mumba told participants.
Mastercard committed to empowering 40 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to the formal financial sector through the introduction of smart, locally relevant and secure payment solutions and services, Mastercard’s Country Manager & Area Business Head Mr. Arn Vogels said in his remarks.
“These are objectives that can only be achieved by working with partners across the public and private sectors, international organizations like AFI and governments. It is only by staying committed to such partnerships over time that innovative and effective solutions can be created and rolled out at scale,” Vogels explained.
Director of Policy for Mobile Money at the GSMA Killian Clifford highlighted the importance and benefits of their partnership with AFI, because it provides its members with better understanding of the regulatory concerns that affect the industry.
“As a PPD partner, we have been able to learn from AFI members and to hold meaningful dialogue on a number of important issues that affect us both at regional and global levels such as interoperability, gender equality in financial inclusion and international remittances,” Clifford told participants.
The first day of the training was led by Mastercard and participants learnt about promoting financial inclusion by implementing a connected payments strategy which puts the needs of the beneficiary at the center. Participants discussed how interoperable digital financial tools accessible across sectors and demographics enable true inclusion. Panelists shared the DFS use cases for accelerating financial inclusion that leveraging digital financial tools for every day needs, with focus on the role of cross border remittances, digital credit, agriculture finance and SME finance.
Discussions on regulatory requirements that build safe and secure DFS ecosystem, financial market infrastructures (FMIs) and various payment flows highlighted the need for regulators to adapt to a changing payments landscape and ways how best to incorporate good practices into their payment security, supervision and oversight mechanisms.
GSMA led the second day of the training and shared the key findings of the 2018 State of Industry Mobile Money Report, as it coincided with its launch. They presented key findings and takeaways of the with spotlight on key industry trends and regulatory developments observed over the past year, with participants sharing practical insights and experiences.
According to the Report, there are now 866 million registered mobile money accounts, an increase by 20% from 2017, with industry processing more than $1.3 billion a day. The industry is also witnessing expansion on the mobile money value proposition to connect consumers with business, ranging from enterprise solutions for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to e-commerce, credit, savings and insurance.
AFI member institution - National Bank of Rwanda and Bank of Ghana shared their initiatives on developing and applying enabling mobile money regulations. National Bank of Rwanda, together with AFI, is co-hosting 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum under the theme “Using Technology for Inclusion of Women and Youth.”
In his closing remarks, AFI Regional Head for Africa and MENA Ivan Ssettimba reinforced the need for continued collaboration of public and private sector to sustain the gains made by including those at the base of the pyramid.
The PPD Training is organized ahead of the high level PPD session on 27 February and 7th AfPI Leaders’ Roundtable to be held on 28 February 2019.