The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), in collaboration with Mastercard, is holding training on “Approaches to Enhancing Financial Inclusion through Digital Financial Services” on 27-28 June under the network’s Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) platform. Mastercard, a global payments platform, is a long-standing partner of AFI under the PPD — a unique, global platform for public and private stakeholders to work together to advance financial inclusion.
Participants from 20 institutions from Latin America and the Caribbean region are attending the two-day training, which aims to showcase different approaches in strengthening financial inclusion through use of digital financial services.
During his keynote speech, Argentina’s Secretary of Internal Commerce Ignacio Werner emphasized the need for relevant market players – including by Banco Central de la República Argentina (BCRA), the Ministry of Finance and insurance supervisors – to work together to address domestic concerns, including greater support for competition and consumer choice.
“Regulation should facilitate innovation, not constrain. Equal rules, equal opportunities, equal conditions,” he said, adding that the private sector should be allowed to take the lead in innovation and deployment services.
Cybersecurity is among the main topics being discussed at the PPD training, with several sessions dedicated to analyzing new and emerging trends in the cybersecurity and fraud landscape.
Outlining his expectations for the event, Mastercard’s Vice President of Public Policy at Mastercard Christopher Harral said: “I hope that our discussions during this training allow us to become further aligned on the key initiatives during this market transformation and the evolution of digital financial services, and how public-private partnership can deliver purpose fit solutions, address potential risks and ensure consumer protection.”
In her opening remarks, AFI Head of Capacity Building Madhurantika Moulick emphasized the timeliness of the PPD event, as well as continued demand from members to learn about the threats and opportunities posed by digital financial services.
“The ever-increasing dynamics in technology and the risks that arise thereof through security breaches require policymakers to be abreast with new methods to mitigate cybersecurity, including implementing new standards and regulations,” she said.
AFI’s PPD event was held back-to-back with three-day member training on the regional regulatory landscape, co-hosted by BCRA and attended by more than 40 participants from AFI member institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The two events were organized separately but coordinated to complement each other.
BCRA General Manager Nicolás Gadano was the main speaker at the member training, who outlined one of the central bank’s core objectives as promoting financial inclusion and improving access to and use of financial services in a safe and sustainable way for suppliers.
In preparation for future challenges, he said, BCRA had established an innovation center within the bank that acts as a roundtable to gather expertise from various specialists, including FinTech companies and state regulators, on initiatives in the sector, adding that the results had been “promising”.
Among the key takeaways from the member training was the need for innovation in financial inclusion that is efficient, cost-effective and can be implemented quickly. During a panel discussion, attendees spoke about balancing innovation and regulation, and how AFI working groups were already focusing on multiple issues within this policy area. These include policies to support financial inclusion for gender and youth, BigTech and SupTech cryptocurrency, more private sector experiences as they lead innovation and technology, site visits to FinTechs on to get first hand experience on innovation.
AFI’s capacity building service is based on the peer-learning model, in which participants gain knowledge by sharing and exchanging information. Each training event is designed to meet the learning needs identified by members and delivered, most often, by the members themselves ensuring optimal use of the experience and expertise of the network. AFI Developing Capacities for Development (ABCD) is a thriving platform to gain knowledge and practical skills required to realize the financial inclusions goals of financial regulators.
AFI is the world’s leading organization on financial inclusion policy and regulation. More than 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 on empowering policymakers to increase access and usage of quality financial services for the underserved through formulation, implementation and global advocacy of sustainable and inclusive policies.