8 May 2018
“Collaboration is key to ensuring that stakeholders and relevant players in the financial ecosystem work together in aligning their goals and aspirations to provide inclusive financial services in a globalized economy,” emphasized AFI Executive Director, Dr. Alfred Hannig at the 2018 Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development (GFRID) Asia-Pacific, taking place from 8-10 May, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Only 15 percent of remittance received is used for income-generating activities,” Dr. Hannig said during a plenary session on Migration and Development in Asia-Pacific, where he presented an overview of international migration and its linkages to financial inclusion, remittances and development.
The plenary session discussed the benefits that people on the move bring to their countries and communities, while highlighting some challenges that need to be addressed, such as de-risking, identification and money laundering and terrorist financing.
“The issue of de-risking is important as it is a challenge for remittance, especially for small island states within the AFI network; we need to explore more solutions,” highlighted Dr. Hannig during the session, as remittances are the lifeline for Pacific Islands representing up to 20 percent of GDP.
The majority of migrant workers and their families have little or no access to financial services. However, “opening a transaction account is the first step, not the end goal. Transaction accounts must be useful and serve as a gateway to other financial products such as savings, credit and insurance,” AFI Executive Director told the panel.
According to Dr. Hannig, “lack of valid identification makes cross-border flow of funds prone to Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) issues. The process to obtain an ID card and open an account needs to be streamlined, and simplified.” Although the world’s economy is becoming more and more globalized, there is a strong need for increased financial education and inclusion.
The AFI network is committed to de-risking and gender as its priorities in advancing financial inclusion and achieving the objectives of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Remittances bring many benefits in aiding financial access, education and investment, while migration as a global phenomenon involves around 258 million people, of which 25.9 million are refugees and women.
AFI is a partner at 2018 GFRID Asia-Pacific. The Migration and Development in Asia-Pacific plenary session was moderated by Bela Hovy, Chief, Migration Section, Population Division, UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and featured the following panelists along with Dr. Hannig: Daniela Morari, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Republic of Moldova; Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO and AirAsia X Co-Group CEO.