On 13 December in Nuku’alofa, AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig and Tatafu Moeaki, Governor of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, celebrated the soft launch of Tonga’s first national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS).
The NFIS represents an important milestone for financial inclusion in Tonga. It includes solid commitments to boosting access to digital financial services, strengthening consumer protection, and promoting inclusive green finance, particularly for small- to medium enterprises.
“In the aftermath of COVID-19, Tonga’s cost structures have risen,” said Gov. Moeaki. “The Reserve Bank is committed to leveraging digital financial services, a key component of the country’s financial inclusion strategy. This initiative is designed to support the Government and Tonga’s digital transformation, effectively lowering unit costs of financial transactions and doing business. Our ultimate goal is to enhance affordability and accessibility for all parts of the country.”
The Strategy’s objectives, actions, and policy recommendations were crafted by a task team of experts from NRBT, AFI and peer institutions, who drew on best practices and guidance from the AFI Policy Model for National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
“I feel incredibly proud to witness the launch of the Strategy,” said Dr Hannig. “It is the fruit of the vision, dedication and tireless effort of all those working to champion financial inclusion in Tonga. Your commitment is inspiring, and sends a powerful message far beyond the Pacific.”
Dr. Hannig and Governor Moeaki discussed opportunities to strengthen their collaboration across a wide range of initiatives. The National Reserve Bank of Tonga already plays an important role in the AFI network, having recently been nominated as vice chair of AFI‘s Pacific Islands Regional Initiative. NRBT is also a key member of the Pacific Regional Regulatory Sandbox, a virtual policy environment where firms can test their financial products under the supervision of regional financial regulators.
The same day, Dr. Hannig met Mrs. Fekitamoeloa ʻUtoikamanu, Acting Minister of the Ministry of Finance, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, to discuss Tonga’s financial inclusion ambitions and to relay insight from across the AFI global network.