Tuesday, 7 Sept 2022
Dead Sea, Jordan
Governors and Deputy Governors
Delegates from AFI member institutions, partners and stakeholders
ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to officially launch the sixth Regional Initiative of AFI and the first of its kind in Asia, The South Asia Region Financial Inclusion Initiative (SARFII).
South Asian members have taken the financial inclusion mandate very seriously over the past decade, implementing various policies to ensure continued access for the unbanked and the underbanked. According to the global Findex data, the level of financial inclusion for adults has increased from 23% (2011) to 40% (2021).
In spite of the damage caused by the epidemic, regulatory bodies have embraced digital transformation as an essential solution to the problem of creating a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery. While the region has been a cradle of innovation, there are also some challenges in front of the region
Over 150million do not have access to finance
Gender gap continues to be higher than the global average
The region does get disproportionately impacted because of adverse impact of climate change
SARFII will attempt to address these difficulties and hopes to play a catalytic role in furthering regional financial inclusion goals. As can be seen in the launch video, members have clearly identified their priorities in areas such as digital financial services, financing for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME), gender inclusive finance, inclusive green finance, consumer protection and financial literacy, and addressing inclusion for vulnerable populations such as youth, elderly, and rural populations, with the goal of “leaving no one behind.”
These priorities will be implemented through tailored program as part of the new ‘South Asia Region Financial Inclusion’ (SARFII) initiative which will help boost collaborations, share experiences, and aim to increase financial inclusion by acting as a catalyst to reach the unbanked and underbanked and to make financial security and inclusion a reality for all across South Asia.
I would like to invite the larger AFI community, not only members but also partners, donors, and other stakeholders in this room to support the South Asia region’s goals on financial inclusion and build on the important achievements of AFI’s South Asian members over the last decade.