Man wearing a mark in the train, Mexico City / Alamy

6 October 2021

Public-private dialogue reaffirms support to build secure future

Financial regulators in the public sector and their private sector counterparts on 30 September reiterated their commitment to a shared vision in financial inclusion that fosters a resilient and sustainable future, particularly for the underserved and excluded.

Speaking at a special public-private dialogue (PPD) on COVID-19 recovery held on the final day of AFI’s virtual Policy Leadership Dialogue, more than 80 participants from across AFI’s diverse membership and its external knowledge partners looked at how they could foster inclusive societies through collaboration between the public and private sector.

Central Bank of Tunisia’s deputy governor, Nadia Gamha, a member of AFI’s board of directors, noted how the ongoing pandemic had given new meaning to the responsibilities of policymakers and innovators in building the societies of tomorrow and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

She described inclusion as critical and a “human rights issue” that should consider cultural, social and economic aspects, such as reforms to educational systems, reductions in social tensions and extremism, improvements to health and social security services and the targeting of subsidies and the fostering of technological innovation.

“Inclusion must be understood beyond its short-term budgetary aspects as a value and an ethic taking justice and cohesion as a source of development of the nation’s wealth,” she said.

Voicing her continued support for strong collaboration between private and public sector stakeholders, Deputy Governor Gamha explained that each side had vital a role to play. State entities, she said, set overall directions and priorities while corporations were “creators of value” with social and environmental responsibilities and civil societies prepared the citizens to adopt values such as inclusion, tolerance and exchange.

Others in the network also expressed their backing of multistakeholder dialogue, including Bank of Tanzania Deputy Governor Dr. Bernard Kibesse, who called the relationship “imperative in mitigating the COVID-19 crisis.”

“We rely on a common vision to increase access of quality financial services for the underserved and excluded, and to advance sustainable financial inclusion,” he said.

Discussions from both sides focused on rebuilding societies through effective collaboration between the public and private sectors. Moderators challenged participants to deliberate on how to attain a future inclusive society, potential obstacles and the handling of non-traditional financial players, such as financial technology firms.

Participants explored the best way to migrate informal sector workers into the formal sector, as well as how to generate more sustainable jobs and opportunities by leveraging existing digital platforms and financial education.

Better policies for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) – as the backbone of many emerging and developing market economies – were also a common thread in discussions with many participants looking at ways to ensure appropriate onboarding and foster innovative environments.

Among the priority areas for MSME policy interventions was the need to lift access to working capital and digital tools, and address existing barriers faced by women, who make up a large chunk of informal sector workers, such as algorithm bias and a lack of digital identification.

Other recurring themes included the need to ensure that both public sector regulation and private sector implementation is tailored to meet the needs of and potential threats to consumers, particularly society’s most vulnerable through meaningful participation and by striving for digital equity. This also meant looking at building trust, tackling climate-related risks and challenging stakeholders on how best to protect others from future crises.

Policy Leadership Dialogue was a three-day high-level event that supported members’ implementation of effective, sustainable, green and inclusive financial inclusion policy reforms geared towards COVID-19 recovery. It was also designed to enhance the knowledge of AFI and key partners’ immediate future work programs and priorities.

AFI’s PPD Platform gives policymakers, regulators, the private sector, development partners and other key players the opportunity to engage in frank and focused conversations, share technical expertise on key financial inclusion issues, develop more informed policy, and encourage innovation and investment.

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