29 June 2023

African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI) and Pacific Island Regional Initiative (PIRI) Meetings – Opening Remarks by Governor Maiava Atalina Ainuu-Enari, Central Bank of Samoa

Patrick Payet, Secretary of State for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Republic of Seychelles – Guest of Honour,
Governor Caroline Abel, Central Bank of Seychelles,
Alfred Hanning, Executive Director, Alliance for Financial Inclusion,
Distinguished Heads of Institutions from Africa and the Pacific Islands,
Esteemed Delegates, Partners and Stakeholders,
Ladies, Gentlemen, and dear Colleagues,

Good morning! Bonjour!! And Talofa lava!!!

I bring you pleasant greetings from Samoa and the Pacific Islands and extend my warmest welcome to all of you as we gather here today for this momentous occasion.

On behalf of the delegates from the Pacific Islands, I would like to express our gratitude to our host, Governor Caroline Abel, the staff of the Central Bank of Seychelles, and the hospitable people of this beautiful paradise – Seychelles. Thank you!

While it is uncommon to have joint regional meetings under the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) regional initiatives umbrella, nonetheless, we are delighted for this unique opportunity to share and engage with our peers from the African region. It is my belief that together, we represent a powerful force for change, united in our commitment to address the pressing challenges faced by our regions and unlock a brighter future through the power of inclusive innovation.

Our gathering today could not have been more apt, we have come together at a critical juncture, amidst a global poly-crisis spanning inflation pressures, gloomy global economic outlook, rising climate related emergencies, financial stability, and integrity concerns to disruptions to food and other commodities supply chain, all of which demands our immediate singular attention, yet collective action.

Given the interconnected nature of our world and the emerging global digital economies, I think we would all agree that our actions, though as sovereign central banks, and regulators must transcend boundaries, encourage collaboration across regions, and embrace innovation as a driving force for sustainable development and financial inclusion.

With over 40 institutions and jurisdictions representing the Pacific Islands and Africa here today, all with valuable insights, knowledge, and ideas; from how to create resilient inclusive digital economies, to collectively implementing and operating a regional regulatory sandbox as seen in the Pacific Islands, to implementing National FinTech strategies and championing innovative digital payment systems as observed across Africa, we are presented with the opportunity to bridge learnings, and undercover the pertinent innovations contributing to scaling the delivery and reach of financial inclusion initiatives.

Therefore, our meeting today is a testament to our recognition that inclusive innovation is not an option, but a necessity. By harnessing its transformative potential, we can empower our regions, develop the appropriate policies, unlock economic growth, build needed capabilities, and uplift the lives of our people.

Distinguished leaders, as we embark on our discussions and deliberations, let us bear in mind the following:

  1. The importance of inclusivity. We must ensure that the benefits of innovation are accessible to every segment of society, leaving no one behind.
  2. Collaboration lies at the heart of our mission. No single institution can tackle the complex challenges we face alone. By pooling our knowledge, resources, and expertise, we can forge strategic partnerships beyond our borders and region, maximizing the impact of our initiatives. Together, we can create an ecosystem that nurtures innovation, fosters entrepreneurship, and drives positive change.
  3. Transformation is the essence of our journey to an inclusive resilient future. We must challenge the status quo, reimagine possibilities, and adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of the digital age. By embracing emerging technologies and fostering a culture of innovation, we would revolutionize our approach to regulatory frameworks, enhance regulatory experimentation, internalize innovation, cultivate a learning mindset, and pave the way for sustainable growth. The path to transformation may be arduous, but it is one we must embark upon with unwavering determination.
  4. The power of collective vision and purpose. Today, here, and now, we can shape the future of our regions and significantly move the needle of financial inclusion forward. Today’s gathering marks not only a meeting of great leaders but also a consensus—a commitment to harness the potential within us and launch a new era of inclusive innovation.

As I conclude my remarks, I invite you, distinguished leaders, to reflect upon the significance of our gathering, and in the spirit of our collective resolve, engage and share diverse perspectives, challenge assumptions, and discover common ground, that set forth the foundation and roadmap towards a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for our regions and beyond.

May our discussions be fruitful and transformative. Faafetai tele lava! Thank you!

© Alliance for Financial Inclusion 2009-2023