Central Bank of Tunisia Deputy Governor Nadia Gamha delivers the opening remarks at Day 3 of "Financial Inclusion Beyond the Pandemic: A Policy Leadership Dialogue"

30 September 2021

Opening Remarks by Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia Nadia Gamha

Financial Inclusion Beyond the Pandemic: A Policy Leadership Dialogue – Day 3
Public-Private Dialogue: Advancing financial inclusion in the context of COVID-19 recovery

It fills me with pride and joy to open this important virtual session on “Public-Private Dialogue”.

I’d like first of all, to thank AFI Executive Director and all AFI Board of directors and members for their constant efforts to bring regulators, policy makers and private partners together to share experiences and thoughts about crucial issues related to inclusive society as one of the key goals of social development.

Also, I’d would like to express our gratitude for AFI private sector partners joining today’s event.

With mass vaccination campaigns being currently implemented around the world, regardless the deeply inequal distribution, we hope that we turn, as soon as possible,  the page on a very sad chapter of the human civilization since the COVID-19 pandemic has been an awful experience for societies as well as for governments.

Despite the efforts made so far, this pandemic has exposed the fragility of our societies and their inability to integrate vulnerable populations in all their forms (economic, racial, gender, etc.)

Thus, we should learn from this crisis and think about the society of tomorrow.

In this sense, we all agree that tomorrow’s society should be inclusive and put the human being at the heart of all its policies in order to achieve the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

Indeed, nowadays, inclusion is a human rights issue that should be critical to a new society that ensures the well-being of all citizens.

Inclusion should be approached as a multidimensional concept that includes cultural, social and economic aspects.

In this regard, the general approach that we should put in place must cover at least three issues:

First, the cultural aspect with the reform of the educational system so that the school truly plays its role as a social elevator especially for people with disabilities.

The cultural component also refers to the generalization of access to culture and to all forms of expression in order to reduce social tensions and extremism.

Second, social reforms must allow the establishment of real safety nets by improving access to health and social security services and by improving the targeting of subsidies.

Finally, on the economic side, I believe that technological innovation must be the pillar of future inclusive society.

This model must reduce poverty and unemployment while integrating all regions and social categories.

In this regard, digital financial inclusion is an important axis to guarantee access and use of financial services for vulnerable populations.

In order to overcome all these challenges and to achieve inclusive growth, public and private sectors should be committed to build together secure and productive environment to achieve sustainable social inclusion on a larger scale.

Indeed, inclusive economic and social development cannot be achieved by focusing interventions on either the private or the public sector alone. An inclusive public-private dialogue process requires a level playing field where all economic actor’s voices should be heard

And as you know, the COVID-19 pandemic experience showed us that there would be no more edges between the public and the private sectors since the latter had been really committed in supporting government efforts to counter the negative impacts of the crisis.

For that reason, we should build a structured, institutional framework for public-private dialogue in which the private sector can be involved and effectively contribute to the decision-making process.

This dialogue should be based on trust, formalized commitment and clear role distribution.  

  • In this regard, the public sector must set the overall direction and priorities.
  • The private sector is called upon to play its role as a creator of value without forgetting its social and environmental responsibility.
  • Finally, civil society must prepare the ground to facilitate the adoption of the values of inclusion, tolerance, exchange, etc.

 Today, we live in a world in which inequality between and within countries has grown more and more. To maintain social cohesion and inclusive, resilient, and sustainable economic growth we need to rely on domestic sources of growth and job creation since global financial conditions are becoming more and more tighter especially for emerging economies. Furthermore, it is important to take measures to fight corruption and improve corporate governance to promote transparency and government effectiveness in order to enhance trust in public authorities.

Before giving you the floor, please let me share with you a few aspects of our experience in Tunisia.

In fact, a national framework for inclusive growth is being currently implemented which provides for a multitude of reforms in order to:

  • Enhance digital payments (especially via mobile phones),
  • Promote SMEs access to finance,
  • Create more and better jobs,
  • Remove structural barriers in the labor market,
  • Alleviate gender inequality,

I think, that the appointment yesterday in Tunisia of a woman as new head of Government, is a consecration of gender equality. She’s the first woman in the Arab countries to hold this position.

These reforms will also focus on supporting inclusive private sector development in order to foster more social and territorial development, advance on global value chains, and strengthen good governance.

To summarize, I insist that 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.

With these few remarks, it is now my honor to officially open this session and wish that the future society that we want to rebuild would ensure that no one is left behind.

Thank you for your kind attention and wish you a successful and fruitful discussion.

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