World’s largest financial inclusion forum set to open in Rwanda
August 30, 2019 - Muraho! We are less than two weeks away from the 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF) in Kigali, which will be co-hosted by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) under the theme of “Using Technology for Inclusion of Women and Youth”.
Over 800 global policymakers, regulatory institutions and development partners are expected to attend the event on September 11-13. Sessions will kick off with a series of closed meetings exclusively for AFI members and led by the heads of our member institutions, starting with the AFI Annual General Meeting.
The following two days – the 11th AFI GPF - is open to the public and media and will showcase success stories that emphasize how technology is helping women and youth from across the AFI membership access quality financial services. The global meeting of financial inclusion policymakers will provide direction for the Denarau Action Plan for Gender Inclusive Finance and commitments to halve the financial inclusion gender gap by 2021, but also assess the recently endorsed Sochi Accord for inclusive financial technology (FinTech).
“There are a lot of efforts going on to empower women economically. As technology comes on board, it complements these efforts and makes it easier to bring more women on board,” BNR Governor John Rwangombwa said.
At the flagship event, the central bank will showcase Rwanda’s financial inclusion experience and highlight how the use of technology can bring progress in financial inclusion for marginalized groups, especially women and youth.
AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig added: “As a global policy leadership alliance of around 100 member institutions, AFI is set to adopt and issue guidance, policy models and frameworks that translate into practical solutions needed to bring financial services to the remaining 1.7 billion unbanked across our network and beyond.”
“With more evidence showing how FinTech accelerates inclusive finance, AFI members recognize the need to align and provide policy guidance that integrates digital financial services with gender inclusive finance, as well as financial inclusion policies that specifically address the youth,” he said.
He underlined: “AFI members are driving change and showcasing their efforts as we continue to highlight inclusive green finance and financial inclusion of forcibly displaced persons. We are holding our first FinTech showcase and celebrating new and expanding partnerships. Finally, our global alliance is endorsing the Kigali Statement on accelerating financial inclusion for the disadvantaged groups, including women, youth, older people, forcibly displaced persons and disabled people. With Kigali Statement, the AFI network is ensuring that by implementing sustainable financial inclusion policies, no one is left behind.”
AFI will hold a high-level ceremony to acknowledge three highly strategic and complementary partnerships: the AFI Multi-Donor Policy Implementation Facility (MD-PIF) funded by the French Development Agency (AFD), the Ministry of Finance of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the global partnership with Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to advance women’s economic empowerment through financial inclusion; and the DFS Champions Initiative, a strategic partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to promote global innovations in digital financial services (DFS).
The 2019 AFI GPF will also feature its inaugural FinTech Showcase, an opportunity for global financial technology innovators to highlight proven solutions to financial inclusion challenges. AFI members are expected to endorse Kigali Statement, which calls upon the AFI network to accelerate implementation of financial inclusion goals, commitments and actions at national level to reach the last mile.
Before drawing to a close, members will be invited to attend the AFI Awards where recognition will be given to those who have excelled in advocating financial inclusion through strong leadership, consistent contributions to the network’s wealth of knowledge and advanced peer learning.
BNR Governor John Rwangombwa and AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig will hold a news conference on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 from 1100-1200 at the Kigali Convention Centre.
Media are cordially invited to attend and report from the news conference on September 10, and two days of events during the 11th AFI GPF, on September 12 and 13. Journalists are advised to come at least 30 minutes before the event begins to set up their equipment.
For media accreditation and inquiries, please contact: Bob Allan Karemera (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We look forward to welcoming you to Rwanda in September 2019!
About the 2019 AFI GPF logo
The agaseke basket is a symbol of Rwanda’s cultural heritage that is used by women to proudly hold treasure. It signifies unity and the coming together of families, instilling love and respect for their country and culture. The 2019 AFI GPF embodies the spirit and virtues of the agaseke by celebrating and promoting unity through collaboration among diverse stakeholder groups in achieving financial inclusion, an engine for poverty reduction, inclusive economic growth and financial stability.
About the 2019 AFI GPF themes
Technology is radically reshaping the financial industry. Innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain technology, biometric identification and cloud computing are revolutionizing how we pay, save and borrow. While holding huge potential to reach the underserved and unbanked, such innovations are also challenging regulators and policymakers not only to keep up with fast-moving FinTech developments but also the systemic risks they pose. In line with their Maya Declaration commitments, AFI members are dedicated to harnessing FinTech’s potential to advance financial inclusion through the development of regulatory or policy interventions that balance innovation in technology-based financial services with oversight.
More than half of the world’s unbanked – or roughly 1 billion people – are women. AFI members are helping close the financial inclusion gender gap by setting specific targets on gender diversity and women’s financial inclusion. They are also leading change by developing and implementing methods to collect sex-disaggregated data to better understand and raise awareness of gender differences and how we can work together to address them.
Youth are a key driver of change in the digital age, particularly in countries with young populations. Despite this, youth continue to face barriers in accessing financial services, including legal and regulatory restrictions, limited access to funding and a lack of tailored products and services. AFI members are increasingly aware of the importance and viability of youth finance, responding with measures that are improving access to basic financial services and implementing financial literacy programs that are helping young people prepare for the future.
About National Bank of Rwanda
National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) is Rwanda’s central bank. Founded in 1964, it is headed by Governor John Rwangombwa and Deputy Governor Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa. An active member of the AFI network since May 2009, BNR is spearheading financial inclusion efforts in Rwanda with focus on gender, national strategies, data measurement, financial education, digital financial services and consumer protection. As of August 2019, BNR has completed eight of its 14 Maya Declaration targets, including the setting up of a national financial inclusion taskforce aimed at coordinating all initiatives regarding financial inclusion.
AFI is the world’s leading organization on financial inclusion policy and regulation. Around 100 member institutions make up the AFI network including central banks, ministries of finance and other financial regulators from over 80 developing and emerging countries. AFI works towards empowering policymakers to increase the access and usage of quality financial services for the underserved through the formulation, implementation and global advocacy of sustainable and inclusive policies. The AFI GPF is the keystone event for its membership. Each year, it is co-hosted by a different member institution in a different region of the world. Since 2009, the GPF has fostered the launch of historic financial inclusion policy initiatives and declarations that have made a powerful impact in the global quest to bring quality financial services to the poorest populations.