26 June 2020
AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig opened the launch of Haiti’s National Financial Education Plan (Plan National d’Éducation et de Formation, or PNEF) on 25 June, a five-year strategy developed with support from the network’s in-country implementation program.
Banque de la République d’Haïti (BRH) has been an active principal member of AFI for over a decade. As a committed champion of financial inclusion, BRH has endorsed and implemented different financial inclusion policies, many of which have been included in the central bank’s seven Maya Declaration commitment targets.
Through AFI’s in-country implementation (ICI) program, and supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), AFI provided technical assistance to BRH. AFI worked alongside Haiti’s Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Ministry of National Education as a main partner in helping develop the PNEF. The plan is a central pillar of the country’s national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS), which was developed under the auspices of Haiti’s presidency.
“I want to ratify our commitment, as a network, to support [BRH] and all of our members in the policy response to the COVID-19 crisis,” AFI’s Dr. Hannig said during the plan’s launch event, held online and broadcast over various social media channels.
“We have allocated specific resources, through technical and financial assistance to BRH, to support some of the challenges faced due to the emergency crisis”.
The PNEF, which will run from 2020 to 2025, aims to encourage knowledge, skills and responsible financial attitudes by boosting stakeholder coordination, defining common priorities and allocating relevant resources. By accelerating financial education, the PNEF is expected to support the implantation of other policies related to financial inclusion including financial consumer protection and financial stability to, eventually, stimulate economic growth and wellbeing in Haiti.
“The change in financial behavior will not follow by itself,” BRH Governor Jean Baden Dubois emphasized as he welcomed participants to this landmark event. “If we want to contribute to the emergence of this inclusive world, it must be stimulated by combined awareness and training efforts and the simplification of the necessary information”.
“Financial education can better guide households in their financial choices,” he said.
Governor Dubois noted the timely launch of the plan, saying that the COVID-19 crisis had “underlined the stress on people who already were disadvantaged,” adding that concerted efforts were needed to ensure long-term financial inclusion gains, particularly in terms of education and awareness.
BRH has been a key supporter of financial inclusion, having launched its NFIS in 2014. Even so, nearly 90 percent of Haitians over 15 years old do not have access to a bank account, 75 percent do not save formally and 35 percent reportedly unsure of where to seek financial advice.
Describing financial education as “a critical step in the development of appropriate products and services to meet the needs of the most vulnerable groups,” IDRC Senior Program Officer Carolina Robino noted in her opening remarks that the PNEF is part of efforts to enhance livelihoods.
“Facilitating access is an important step, but access alone is not enough,” she said in her opening remarks, adding that this was an important milestone in the inclusion of the most vulnerable groups, providing a macro-strategic framework with specific needs-based intervention that target women and youth.
Minister of Economy and Finance Michel Patrick Boisvert emphasized how the PNEF would help bring more Haitians into the formal financial sector, helping break cycles of exclusion and poverty.
Echoing this sentiment was Minister of National Education and Vocational Training Pierre Josué Agénor Cadet Discours, who highlighted the importance of targeting youth in financial education planning.
“By teaching our young people how to anticipate and make good decisions in managing their finances, how to take risks and seize investment opportunities, we offer them a new and more reassuring path in planning their lives,” he said.
“This will make it easier for them to turn knowledge into capital and contribute to the emergence of a knowledge-based economy”.
Furthermore, as part of the peer learning approach that AFI promotes, members of Fondation Marocaine pour l’Education Financière, an institution attached to Morocco’s Bank Al-Maghrib, Central Bank of Seychelles, and Reserve Bank of Fiji shared with BRH their experiences in formulating and implementing NFIS during the launch event.
The PNEF is based on six pillars that target specific segments of the population. The first pillar highlights financial education as part of the formal education of children and youth, while the second emphasizes financial education for microentrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in urban and rural areas. The next three pillars focus on financial education for migrants and their families, financial empowerment of extremely vulnerable groups and financial consumer empowerment. Finally, the sixth pillar targets the fostering of the financial education community of practice. The national plan also targets women as a cross-cutting group across all six pillars, as well as establishing of digital channels as core channels or multipliers for the plan’s implementation.
BRH is a member of AFI’s Financial Inclusion Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean regional initiative, known as FILAC, which aims to be the driving force for advancing financial inclusion in Latin American and Caribbean countries. FILAC was launched in 2016 with IDRC support.
AFI’s ICI program aims to accelerate financial inclusion across the network by enhancing peer learning, advancing endorsed accords and providing financial or technical support in delivering financial inclusion policies. Technical support focuses on drafting of policies and regulations, reviewing policies as well as assisting members in drafting financial inclusion policies, strategies or regulatory tools, including on-site capacity building, input for member workshops or seminars and technical policy advisory programs. These services may be provided on-site at a member’s institution or off-site at AFI’s headquarter or regional offices.