AFI members in Africa are addressing the challenges and risks that come with large-scale changes in digital financial services (DFS) during the two-day training held as part of the AFI Public Private Dialogue (PPD) platform, in Conakry, Guinea on 8 – 9 May 2018. The training is co-hosted together with Mastercard and GSMA. This is the first time for GSMA to join AFI’s PPD learning platform.
“Financial inclusion and DFS training is an opportunity to learn about innovative solutions that build inclusive financial services for the underprivileged, including women and rural population”, First Deputy Governor of the Banque Centrale de la Guinee Nianga Kamata Goumou said as he welcomed over 65 technical staff from 32 AFI member institutions.
Wave of financial services innovation is sweeping across Africa with exciting developments in electronic commerce, client identification and mobile payments, the first deputy governor noted. While regulators are working to strengthen financial stability, integrity and consumer protection standards, there is an imminent need to mainstream financial inclusion, he said.
First Deputy Governor Gomou invited the private sector to develop cutting edge products that address low level of account ownership and usage and at the same time promote excellence in risk management and consumer protection. He concluded by thanking AFI for creating the unique platform for dialogue and knowledge exchange among regulators and private sector.
“Going digital is being acknowledged as the way forward to scale up financial inclusion. This increases the demand for service providers to enhance innovations in digital financial services and consequently requiring regulators and policymakers to provide supporting regulations that are balanced with financial stability concerns”, said Kennedy Komba, Head of AFI’s Strategy and Member Relations as he addressed participants.
“This scenario demands a platform such as this, to bring together the private sector that leads the innovations and the public sector that provides the required regulatory framework for these innovations to thrive”, explained Komba.
Africa skipped cost intensive legacy systems and embraced latest frugal and low-cost innovations primarily through mobile phones, Raghav Prasad, Mastercard Divisional President for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) told the participants. This is reflected in the 2017 Findex Report which shows that 21% of adults in SSA have a mobile money account, compared to only 4% worldwide, he said adding that this shows the potential of digital finance solutions to reduce operational costs and provide inclusive financial services.
“Mastercard intends to be a trusted partner for central banks across Africa through specific dialogues and platforms such as AFI and further by providing technical assistance, data-driven insights and knowledge”, Prasad added.
While referring to the 2017 Findex Report, Nathan Naidoo, Head of Mobile Money at GSMA said that even though 1.2 billion people remain unbanked, almost all have mobile device.
“Mobile money is the leading force in financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. The number of adults who gained access to mobile money accounts in the region has increased from 12 to 21 percent in just three years”, he said. Naidoo lamented the persisting gender gap but noted that in a number of countries there is no such gap in the percentage of men and women using mobile money.
The topics covered during the training include innovations in real time payments to advance financial inclusion; innovative solutions, models and partnership approaches for financial inclusion; emerging identity solutions to foster financial inclusion and best practices in promoting excellence in risk management and consumer protection for mobile financial service in Africa.
The training is held ahead of the 6th Annual Leaders’ Roundtable of African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI) starting on 10 May 2018.