Ecuadorian woman fruit seller in front of her displays of tropical fruits in a market/Shutterstock

22 November 2021

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Mainstreaming gender and green inclusive finance in Latin America and the Caribbean

“As financial policymakers and regulators, we are in a unique position to advance the gender inclusive finance and inclusive green finance agendas. Globally, women as the head of institutions are rare, but at AFI we have ten women leaders, of which five are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, six regulatory institutions from the region are part of AFI’s Inclusive Green Finance Working Group, which contributes towards solutions for communities most vulnerable to climate change. We are seeing impressive advancements in inclusive green finance policies that are empowering the most vulnerable populations to deal with the impacts of the climate crisis” – Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)

 

QUITO (22 November 2021) – Superintendencia de Bancos (SB), Superintendencia de Economia Popular y Solidaria (SEPS) and AFI have teamed up in Quito, Ecuador from 22–26 November for the first set of hybrid events that the global network is organizing with its member institutions. AFI members will be able to meet face-to face for the first time since the global pandemic began in 2020. Held both in person and virtually for AFI member institutions in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, the events are a tailor-made response to discussions with members from the region on peer learning about women leadership, green and gender inclusive finance.

Resilient and inclusive corporate governance: women leadership in financial sector

La Superintendencia de Bancos and Asobanca, supported by AFI, are  organizing the “Regional Event on Resilient and Inclusive Corporate Governance towards a Gender Focus” on 22–23 November. Participants will discuss how to foster women leadership in the financial sector while focusing on international best practices, drawing on lessons from AFI’s wide peer network in promoting access to and the use of quality financial products and services in historically excluded sectors.

“It is an honor to welcome ten delegations from different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an active member of AFI and  Vice Chair of the AFI’s Financial Inclusion Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), SB will make Maya Declaration Commitments as part of its work on promoting and strengthening financial inclusion in Ecuador,” said SB Superintendente Ruth Arregui.

Superintendente Arregui highlighted that the SB will make Maya Declaration commitments on financial inclusion at a ceremony held before the  President of the Republic of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso Mendoza and AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig.

Superintendente Ruth Arregui, Executive Director Dr. Hannig and Asobanca Vice President Marco Rodgriguez will provide the opening remarks for the “Regional Event on Inclusive Corporate Governance”. President of the Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV) and AFI Board Chair, Dr. Jesús de la Fuente Rodríguez, will deliver the keynote address. Speakers will include governors, presidents, superintendents and other leaders of AFI member institutions in the region.

“Enhancing gender equality and empowering women are an essential part of the SB’s work. At the same time, women are disproportionally affected by impacts of climate change. I am delighted to be able to share policy approaches on integrating gender in designing and implementing national financial inclusion strategies with special focus on intersect with inclusive green finance policies,” added Superintendent Arregui referring to her upcoming participation during sessions on 24 November.

High-level officials from the region attending the event include: Socorro Heysen, Superintendenta de Banca, Seguros y AFP del Perú; Douglas Rodríguez, President of Banco Central de  Reserva de El Salvador; Lucia Buenrostro, Vice President of CNBV; María del Rocío Aguilar, Superintendenta General de Entidades Financieras de Costa Rica; Claudio Golonbek, Superintendente de Entidades Financieras de Argentina, Juan Serrano, Director General at Banco de España; María Sanchez, Manager at Women’s World Banking, Diana Mejia, Senior Specialist of Productive and Financial Development at CAF; Sylvie Bedárd, Canadian Ambassador to Ecuador; Vianna Maino, Ecuador’s Minister of Telecommunications and the Information Society; Gustavo Manrique, Ecuador’s Minister of the Environment; Ana Belén Cordero, Asambleísta Nacional; María Josefa Coronel, Directora Provincial de la Judicatura del Guayas;  among others.

Strengthening inclusive green finance and gender inclusive policies in the region

The second part of the week is reserved for the “Regional Training on Inclusive Green Finance and Gender Inclusive Finance Policies”, co-hosted by SEPS, SB and AFI on 24-26 November. Organized for technical staff at AFI member institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean – mainly central banks, finance ministries, superintendencies and other financial regulators –, the training is designed to offer a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects of gender and green inclusive finance, their emerging intersects and how to integrate them in national financial inclusion strategies.

“In Ecuador, climate change is a risk for some sectors, especially for the agricultural sector. With additional poverty, unemployment and impacts of COVID-19, we find it necessary to support the economic recovery of the agricultural sector which includes environmental responsibility and financial inclusion with gender perspective,” SEPS Superintendenta Dr. Margarita Hernández  explained, adding that due to its governing principles, social and popular economic sectors become key strategic actors.

“That is why for SEPS, with the technical support of AFI, it is important to work on sufficient regulations and on projects that promote inclusive green finance policies”. Superintendenta Hernández emphasized.

The financial inclusion gender gap in developing countries has remained at unchanged nine percent since 2011, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, worsened further by the global pandemic. Exacerbating this are the social and economic impacts of natural disasters and gradual climate impacts that affect women disproportionately.

As part of efforts to boost women’s access to quality and affordable financial services globally and move towards bridging the financial inclusion gender gap, AFI members endorsed the Denarau Action Plan at the 2016 AFI Global Policy Forum. It aims to accelerate the progress of women’s financial inclusion by supporting members that are trying to halve the financial inclusion gender gap and drive greater gender diversity within their financial institutions.

The following year, recognition that climate change deepens financial exclusion and is one the greatest threats to financial stability and poverty alleviation in developing and emerging countries led to the development and adoption of the Sharm El Sheikh Accord. It commits AFI members to identify, understand and implement financial inclusion policy solutions that also have positive outcomes for the environment, focusing on communities that are most vulnerable to climate change and empowering them to build resilience to the climate change impacts.

Enhancing such efforts, AFI expects to launch a regional office in Costa Rica in 2022 with the support of Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras and Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

“Though we have an AFI team present in the region, this new office will add significant value to the way we closely collaborate and deliver services to our members in the region, contributing to accelerated and deeper financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean,” AFI’s Dr. Hannig underlined.

 

About Superintendencia de Bancos (SB)

SB is a technical body governed by public law, which is part of the Transparency and Social Control Function. It monitors, audits, intervenes, controls and supervises financial activities carried out by public and private entities in the financial sector and for the social security system, to ensure that these activities are subject to the legal system and administrative, financial, budgetary and organizational autonomy.

It has the institutional vision of being an effective and efficient control body that executes supervision based on preventive, comprehensive, and prospective risks, in accordance with the best international practices, supported by the expert judgment of its human talent to preserve the financial stability and promote an inclusive system, protecting depositors, pensioners, and taxpayers.

SB is a member of AFI since 2020 and serves as the Vice Chair of FILAC.

About Superintendencia de Economia Popular y Solidaria (SEPS)

SEPS is the regulatory and supervisory organization of Ecuador, which supervises 494 financial entities and 15,866 organizations of the Popular and Solidarity Economy.

SEPS works on four fundamental supervision pillars: an adequate regulatory framework, an efficient supervision model, stakeholder coordination and decision making, along with transparency and strengthening of financial inclusion.

Stakeholder coordination and decision making is the most significant as it provides the most vulnerable and excluded segments of society, especially women and youth, with access to financial services. This leads to better financial decision taking and improvements in well-being.

SEPS is a member of AFI since 2019 and has made Maya Declaration commitments on financial inclusion related to gender inclusive finance and inclusive green finance.

About AFI

AFI is the world’s leading organization on financial inclusion policy and regulation. Over 100 member institutions make up the AFI network including central banks, ministries of finance and other financial regulators from 89 developing and emerging countries. AFI works on empowering policymakers to increase access and usage of quality financial services for the underserved through formulation, implementation and global advocacy of sustainable and inclusive policies.

AFI’s FILAC comprises 12 AFI member institutions, including financial regulators and policymakers in the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname. Launched in 2016, it aims to be the driving force for advancing financial inclusion in Latin American and Caribbean


© Alliance for Financial Inclusion 2009-2021