Dr. Julius Muia, CBS, Principal Secretary, National Treasury and Planning
Dr. Patrick Njoroge, Governor, Central Bank of Kenya
Mrs. Sheila M’Mbijjewe, Deputy Governor, CBK
Agustín Carstens, General Manager, Bank for International Settlements
Ms. Tamara Cook, Chief Executive Officer, FSD Kenya
Distinguished Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me to begin by saying that it is an honor for me to address this distinguished gathering. I wish to thank the Governor, Central Bank of Kenya for inviting me to give remarks at this very important event – the launch of Kenya’s National Payments Systems Strategy 2022-2025.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Government of Kenya, the Central Bank of Kenya, development and technical support partners, the civil society, private sector, and all other stakeholders who have participated in the formulation of the strategy. The easy part is done, now the actual work starts!
The formulation of this strategy is further testament to the bold steps that have been taken over the years to increase access to financial services in Kenya. The FinAccess survey 2021, supported by AFI among others, indicated that access to formal financial services in Kenya has increased significantly, from 26.7 percent in 2006 to 83.7 percent in 2021.
As already mentioned, financial inclusion is a critical enabler to the development of our economies and has the potential to uplift the lives of our citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the uptake of digital financial services which has necessitated a reduction in the use of cash as a means to curtail infections. Meanwhile, national, and international efforts continue to promote universal access to and use of financial services to reduce poverty and improve opportunities and living standards for people that do not use such services. As a result of this interaction between an intensive agenda focused on promoting financial inclusion and the greater presence and participation of electronic payments in economic activity, the latter represent a highly potential instrument for fostering financial inclusion as individuals and firms interact in the economy via the payments they make to each other through different instruments and channels.
A brief review of the Kenya National Payments Systems Strategy 2022 -2025 indicates that it is motivated by a desire to meet the diverse needs of the Kenyan people and its economy, and support the country’s ambition for a digital, inclusive and 24/7 economy. The Strategy will also be the basis for consolidating and extending Kenya’s global leadership in digital payments and innovation.
I am happy to note that the process of formulating the Strategy was done in a collaborative and consultative basis, drawing on participation from various stakeholders throughout the payments industry. This is critical as it provides ownership of the Strategy by the various stakeholders and implies that each of these stakeholders has a role to play in its implementation. I also notice that there was a global scan and best practice review. This is well aligned to AFI’s peer learning and knowledge exchange pillar, where members share knowledge and expertise on policy formulation with the aim of learning relevant lessons that can be adopted taking into consideration the local context.
From the above, it can be seen that the Strategy is a great tool to ensure that there is a defined way of enhancing the Kenyan payments ecosystem and that the progress is measured. It also ensures that the effort is comprehensive and includes all relevant stakeholders.
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion, a global network of financial regulators, includes 101 member institutions from 89 countries. These AFI member institutions have documented various strategies such as National Financial Inclusion Strategies and AFI has come in to support their formulation and implementation. We are committed to supporting member institutions to achieve their financial inclusion goals.
As Sun Tzu the famous Chinese strategist put it “strategy without tactic is the slowest route to victory and tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Therefore, as another strategist put it “in life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goal posts are.” We are here to launch the tactics to further enhance the efforts of expanding the payments ecosystem in Kenya. We need to find those goal posts and score as many goals to reduce the 17% financial exclusion rate that was highlighted by the FinAccess survey 2021.
I would like to conclude by emphasizing that implementation this strategy requires a coherent and comprehensive approach. This is not a task that one institution can carry out alone. Financial service providers and policy makers in the government have a critical role to play as well.
We look forward to your active participation and contribution during the implementation of the Strategy. As AFI we are committed to our members in Kenya in actively supporting the implementation of this Strategy.
Once again, I thank Dr. Njoroge, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya for his invitation for me to give remarks at the launch of this Strategy and for his continued active participation in the AFI network.
I thank you all.