27 February 2019
Our doors in Africa are officially open! Over 70 representatives from AFI member institutions in Africa, including seven Governors and six Deputy Governors, took part in the opening ceremony of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Africa Regional Office on 27 February 2019 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
AFI Africa Regional Office is hosted by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance of Cote D’Ivoire and Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
“African members have been always running very fast within the network, not only in terms of engaging within AFI, but also in terms of producing results on the financial inclusion front”, AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig said at the opening ceremony, adding that it was just a matter of time before the decision was made to further decentralize AFI operations and bring the Alliance’s services closer to its members.
“We are very grateful to have found strong partners who have led us at this time and helped us to prepare the ground for opening up of this office”, Dr. Hannig underlined as he thanked the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cote D’Ivoire and the BCEAO for making the opening of AFI Africa Regional Office possible in a very short time.
Africa continues to be a global financial inclusion trailblazer and a home for innovation. With the official opening of the Africa Regional Office, AFI is now able to better support the in-country implementation work of members and help further highlight African leadership across the network.
“AFI Africa Regional Office will help the Alliance be closer to its members and further strengthen regional cooperation in financial inclusion. This region is economically dynamic and committed in financial inclusion”, BCEAO Governor Kone Tiemoko Meyliet said and gave impressive figures to explain the dynamics in West African Economic and Monetary Union.
The number of ATMs in the region increased by 3000 percent from 2010 to 2017, or from 8 754 to 246 024, while the number of people with bank accounts increased by 300 percent, from 13.8 million to 55.8 million.
“Financial inclusion in the region increased from 22.2 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2017”, Governor Kone highlighted before wishing success to AFI and its members, in the region and beyond.
On behalf of the President of the Republic and the Government of Cote D’Ivoire, Minister of the Economy and Finance Adama Kone welcomed AFI members to the opening ceremony, expressing appreciation that the member state of the West African Union has been selected to host AFI Regional Office for Africa and MENA.
“This is the recognition of the achievements our country has made in financial inclusion”, Minister Kone said adding that the country greatly benefitted from and has been active in a variety of meetings organized by AFI.
Activities implemented through the AFI Regional Office should help strengthen commitment to financial inclusion and in the network, the Minister said adding three countries of the West African Union are AFI members, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Niger.
The opening of the AFI Africa Office will help countries in the region developing National Financial Inclusion Strategies and give rise to policies that promote, deepen and facilitate the access to financial services, Minister Kone said.
In addition, AFI’s presence in Cote D’Ivoire should held the country improve its relations with other international organizations, the Minister said.
With the establishment of its Regional Office, AFI seeks to ensure greater proximity to its members in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Middle East & North Africa (MENA) and respond efficiently to their needs, especially through in-country implementation support. The Regional Office also enhances the network’s ability to support its members in working on specific regional priorities, sharing regional knowledge, and translating global financial inclusion issues into practical implementation at regional and national levels.
Over 70 financial inclusion policymakers and regulators, government officials and high-level representatives from AFI member institutions from Africa are gathering in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for the 7th Annual Roundtable of the Leaders of the African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI), taking place from 27-28 February, 2019.
The annual AfPI Leaders Roundtable has become a high-level convening power where high-level officials from AFI member institutions in Africa come together with private sector representatives and other stakeholders to discuss financial inclusion policy issues. The two-day event is also hosted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cote d’Ivoire, BCEAO and AFI.
About Ministry of the Economy and Finance of Cote D’Ivoire
Since becoming an AFI member in August 2009, the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cote D’Ivoire has been instrumental in scaling up financial inclusion efforts in the country. The ministry is committed to the Maya Declaration with ongoing targets on core financial inclusion areas such as establishing a framework for analyzing progress indicators, strengthening consumer protection and empowerment, and implementing the microfinance restructuring plan in Cote D’Ivoire.
An active member of the AFI network since January 2011, Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO), is a central bank serving eight West African countries, comprising of the West African Economic and Monetary Union including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. As part of their Maya Declaration target, BCEAO is committed to increasing the financial access rate to 75 percent of the population by 2020.
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