Eliki Boletawa, Director Policy Programs and Implementation, AFI 

10 March 2023

8th IGF and 20th SMEF Working Group Meetings – Closing remarks by Eliki Boletawa, Director – Policy Programs & Implementation, AFI

• Chairpersons – SME Finance Working Group & Inclusive Green Finance Working Group
• Co-Chairs – SME Finance Working Group & Inclusive Finance Green Working Group
• Our gracious hosts, Nepal Rastra Bank
• Ladies and gentlemen,

Namaste & Good day to all!

I begin by offering my very sincere appreciation to each of you for the effort that you have put in over the past few days. As members of the working groups, your role is important in harnessing and cultivating knowledge within the AFI network. Your contribution to this conversation is absolutely necessary since you are “community of practise” that work on important policy issues that are relevant to financial inclusion. You have all demonstrated over the last few days commitment, ownership and dedication in the knowledge generation and policy guidance process. Going forward, now is the time to get what we have committed to within our respective Working Group’s over the last few days into action and implementation.

Let me share some of the high-level outcomes from the two WG’s made over the last few days for everyone to be equally informed on:

SME Finance Working Group (SMEFWG)

The SMEFWG has welcomed twelve new members, and the reaction I’ve received from members has been positive. Members shared and also gained a lot of knowledge on women led or owned MSMEs policies and leverage on innovative finance in order to facilitate MSMEs’ access to funding. This knowledge was presented from a technical standpoint.

Most importantly, SMEFWG were able to observe the dedication of the members and reach consensus on the formation of four subgroups. These subgroups will focus on Islamic finance and financial inclusion, development financial institutions (DFIs), small and medium enterprise banks and credit bureaus, alternative credit scoring, and international and global finance for SMEs.

Inclusive Green Finance Working Group (IGFWG)

The IGFWG has devised a workplan, and the priorities for this year and will centre on the following: 1) Implementation of workshop on KPs; 2) Implementation of coffee chats; and 3) Implementation of coffee chats. 3) Establish an IGFWG Task Team that will be responsible for providing support to ICIs.

Two subgroups were formed to work on the following topics: Transition Measures to Green MSMEs and Part 2 of the Roadmap to IGF Implementation.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the newly elected Co-chair 2 and Gender Focal Point of IGFWG:
– Co-chair 2 – Sameh Sawafta from the Palestine Monetary Authority
– Gender Focal Point – Najwa Mouhaori from Bank Al Maghrib

In addition to all these achievements, I also would like to make a special mention on the launch of Bank of Papua New Guinea’s Inclusive Green Finance Policy which includes a green taxonomy that was launched yesterday, March 9. The project was supported by AFI through technical support and IGF elements were integrated in the taxonomy design and development.

As I conclude, we are all aware that the team responsible for the implementation of any Event is the single most important factor in determining its level of success. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the following support teams:

– Our Co-host, the Nepal Rastra Bank Team (can I invite you to the front please)
Thank you for your hospitality, the warm reception we have received over the last few days have been quite memorable.
– Interpreters for the translation
– AV/ Technical for ensuring the connectivity and sound systems
– Hyatt Hotel Staff for ensuring the venue is convenient for use and nourishing us with delicious cuisines.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, it will be a miss if I don’t acknowledge my team, who have supported you in the convergence and WG meetings over the last few days – thank you AFI team.

On this note, it’s my pleasure to officially close the convergence of the 8th IGF and 20th SMEF Working Group Meetings here at the foot of Mt Everest, in beautiful Kathmandu. I wish everyone who will be leaving for their home countries today and over the next few days a safe and pleasant journey back home.

Wish you all a productive field trip that is planned ahead and enjoy the rest of your day. I look forward to seeing you all at the 2023 GPF in Manila, Philippines in September.

Thank you!

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