19 April 2019
The 5th meeting of the Experts Group on Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP) for the Financial Inclusion Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) concluded on April 26 with members agreeing on an ambitious agenda following intense discussions on the findings of several upcoming reports.
Co-hosted by Peru’s Superintendency of Banking, Insurance and Private Pension Fund Administrators (SBS) and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), participants from 10 AFI member institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) attended the two-day event in Lima. AFI is due to publish three regional reports on the financial inclusion gender gap, e-money and the digital financial system (DFS) ecosystem.
Spotlights were also shone on two recent policy initiatives, the first of which saw Cristian Vega from Costa Rica’s General Superintendency of Financial Entities (SUGEF) share his institution’s experiences in collating sex-disaggregated data. Separately, Germán San Lorenzo from the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) spoke about a new national bank agent law, which was followed by an open discussion on best practices and approaches that can be replicated by other member institutions while being adopted for needs of their countries.
Participants also used the meeting to emphasize the need for stakeholders to pursue policies that promote inclusive green finance, as well as build resilience to climate change through financial inclusion and the potential of such developments to mitigation efforts.
By member demand, the expert group also deliberated on the latest tools developed by AFI working groups on the formulation and implementation of national financial inclusion strategies (NFIS) in the regional context. Many LAC countries, including Haiti, Mexico and Peru, have committed to separate NFIS that strive to further, among other things, financial education and integrated financial services.
The meeting also saw the elections of BCRA as the second co-chair of FILAC EGFIP, joining SUGEF and Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH) in leading the expert group.
As the sessions drew to a close, Mariela Zaldivar from SBS reiterated the institution’s commitment to the AFI network and to improving the financial well-being of Peruvians.
“Alongside AFI, with whom SBS has working with for more than a decade in a coordinated way, have been enabled a unique and private space allowing the policymakers in the majority of developing countries to work in the reforms of financial inclusion policies,” Zaldivar said.
“Active coordination with different public, private and social stakeholders has resulted in responsible and sustainable financial inclusion”, she said and thanked participants for attending the event.
AFI Deputy Executive Director Norbert Mumba repaid the compliments by congratulating participants on their active engagement as well as co-host SBS for its continued commitment and support of the AFI network.
Mumba also spoke of FILAC’s global influence in financial inclusion, owing to its depth of regional experiences and developed financial infrastructure.
“FILAC is a region that AFI sees great potential in the near future to set the bar … in terms of innovation of financial services with greater focus on more plural usage and high quality of financial services,” Mumba said.
FILAC is one of five AFI regional initiatives, each of which has its own EGFIP that meets twice a year to discuss progress and set future targets. AFI’s four other regional initiatives are: African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI), Eastern Europe & Central Asia Policy Initiative (ECAPI), Financial Inclusion Initiative for the Arab Region (FIARI) and Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI).
SBS is a banking superintendency responsible for the regulation and supervision of the Peruvian financial system. Based in Lima, SBS advocates financial inclusion actions through five strategic pillars that includes promoting a prudent regulatory and supervisory framework, developing financial education initiatives and coordinating interactions with institutions to facilitate responsible financial inclusion processes.
About Financial Inclusion Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC)
FILAC is a regional initiative that aims to be the driving force for advancing financial inclusion in Latin American and Caribbean countries. It was launched in 2016 with support from Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC), and operates from AFI’s regional office in Bogotá, Colombia.
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