EGFIP meeting kicks off a week of financial inclusion events in Abidjan
Experts Group on Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP) for the African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI) met in Abidjan, on 26 February, starting a week of events in Cote D’Ivoire, co-hosted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cote d’Ivoire, Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI).
The 6th EFGIP meeting gathered 13 experts from 11 AFI member institutions with two objectives. First is to develop implementation plan for the two policy frameworks for Africa, on Innovative Cross Border Remittances and on Digital Financial Services Interoperability, adopted during 2018 Global Policy Forum (GPF) in Sochi, Russia. These practical, implementation plans for the two frameworks are to be submitted to AfPI leaders when they meet later this week on 28 February.
The second objective is to continue to work on responsible digital credit framework that should be submitted to AfPI leaders, along with development of the timeline during 2019 GPF, to be held in September in Rwanda.
AFI Deputy Executive Director Norbert Mumba welcomed experts underlining the importance of incorporating gender sensitive and sustainable environmental policies, with EGFIP helping identify priorities in these two areas in individual countries.
“As long as policies do not address issues of gender and environmental sustainability, we may be fighting a losing battle,” AFI DED cautioned.
“Where we should now focus is the how. How do we resolve these issues, what is the solution? We have done enough studies to know challenges around us. We can now do more in developing solutions. Policy interventions that the Expert Group should now develop can enable the private sector to provide the solutions and we need to address the how,” Mumba told AfPI Experts. Phase III of AFI Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2023 focuses on in-country implementation of financial inclusion policies across the network.
AFI Director of Strategy and Financial Inclusion Policy, Kennedy Komba opened the meeting by highlighting significance of in-country implementation plans and the timeline for identifying them. AFI Strategy Director reminded the experts that during 2018 GPF, AfPI leaders wanted clear timelines and action points, along with identifying specific countries that will be involved.
According to the research survey conducted by AFI, three pillars have been indicated for both DFS interoperability and innovative cross border remittances: regulatory, infrastructure and market pillars. When it comes to the regulatory pillar, the common denominator is that none of the countries have a comprehensive regulation, but rather a set of disparate and sparse instruments. “This is understandable, because interoperability is continuously evolving,” Kennedy said adding that the “key question is: can we work together to get to provide regulatory clarity to industry and other important stakeholders?”
The other key opportunity is that Africa will lead, AFI Director of Strategy told AfPI experts. “Africa’s lessons from this experience will be presented to leaders and the rest of the AFI network at the 2019 GPF, making this region a pioneer in practical and in country implementation,” Kennedy underlined the task ahead.
“From AFI side, we are ready to work together with members, to ensure we provide support for developing a comprehensive regulatory framework and its practical in country implementation,” Kennedy concluded.
Leaders of AFI member institutions in Africa established EGFIP In May 2017 to strengthen AfPI’s technical implementation. EGFIP members are nominated senior officials from AFI member institutions in Africa comprising of 10 members, two representing each of the five sub-regions of Northern Africa, Western Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa.
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