5 September 2018
Launching of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) Regional Initiative and the Sochi Accord for Fintech for Financial Inclusion will be the two main outcomes of the 2018 AFI Global Policy Forum, Elvira Nabiullina, Governor of Bank of Russia (CBR) and Dr. Alfred Hannig, AFI Executive Director told journalists during the news conference held in Sochi, Russia.
Hosted by CBR, the news conference took place on 4 September 2018, two days ahead of the 2018 AFI GPF, traditionally announcing the developments for the biggest global gathering of financial inclusion policymakers.
“Together with the leaders of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), we agreed to exchange best practices, and harmonize approaches to improving financial inclusion and consumer protection,” Governor Nabiullina said as she addressed the media following the EECA Leaders Roundtable that took place before the press conference. The meeting addressed priorities for EECA including cross-border remittances, and market conduct regulation and supervision — areas that CBR is developing to combat malpractice in the financial sector.
“The EECA Regional Initiative will drive new Maya Declaration commitments from members, focusing on closing the persistent gender gap and building resilience against the impacts of climate change on financial inclusion,” emphasized Dr. Hannig.
“Participation in the AFI network allows Bank of Russia to exchange knowledge within the financial services sector, taking into account different country experiences,” added Governor Nabiullina.
The second outcome of the 2018 AFI GPF is the Sochi Accord for Financial Inclusion, a framework that will advise AFI members to leverage on financial technology that improves financial access, usage and quality for the 1.7 billion unbanked, explained Dr. Hannig. He emphasized that Russia is an important partner when it comes to dealing with risks of technology, supporting the call for increased financial awareness.
As AFI celebrates its 10th anniversary, Dr. Hannig looked back at the Alliance’s journey and its accomplishments.
“AFI members have issued and implemented 384 policy reforms that are related to financial inclusion policy, focusing on regulations surrounding digital financial services, financial education and National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS),” Dr. Hannig told media as he described AFI’s vision to becoming a policy leadership alliance by issuing regulatory guidance to members.
“The policy reforms implemented by members translate into 634 million adults worldwide who have received financial access,” Dr. Hannig highlighted
Ahead of the press conference, Governor Nabiullina, accompanied by Dr. Hannig, took a tour of the 2018 AFI GPF theme exhibition, Innovation. Inclusion. Impact — outlining how the AFI network leverages on innovative solutions to improve financial inclusion and increase impact on a global and regional scale and through in-country implementation.
The AFI network now consists of 117 member institutions from 93 countries including its newest member, Central Bank of Uzbekistan. AFI member institutions from the EECA region also include Central Bank of Armenia, National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, National Bank of Georgia, Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia, Bank of Russia, National Bank of Kazakhstan, and National Bank of Tajikistan.