Senior Government Officials
Delegates from African Central Banks,
Delegates from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, UNCDF and World Bank
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor and a pleasure to welcome you to the AFI Regional Training on Leveraging Financial Inclusion Data to Drive Inclusive Policy Development. To our friends who have traveled to Kigali: a very warm welcome to the country of a thousand hills and 14 million smiles.
The National Bank of Rwanda is delighted to co-host this 4-day workshop with AFI, where 57 representatives from 24 countries have joined us.
In today’s world, data is part and parcel of everyday life not only for policymakers but also for individuals, businesses, regulators and not-for-profit organizations across the globe.
For Central Banks and regulators in particular, financial inclusion data plays a crucial role in helping policymakers accurately assess the state of financial inclusion in each country, identify barriers and gaps that still hinder a major part of our population to access finance. Without data, we would not be able to craft effective policies and set judicious targets.
Let me share with you a few statistics on financial inclusion globally and in Africa:
From 2017 to 2021, the average rate of account ownership in developing economies increased by 8 percentage points, from 63 percent of adults to 71 percent of adults. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this expansion largely stems from the adoption of mobile money.
Mobile money has become an important enabler of financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa—especially for women—as a driver of account ownership and of account usage through mobile payments, saving, and borrowing. In Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021, 55 percent of adults had an account, including 33 percent of adults who had a mobile money account—the largest share of any region in the world and more than three times larger than the 10 percent global average of mobile money account ownership. Mobile money accounts have also become an important method to save in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 15 percent of adults—and 39 percent of mobile money account holders—used one to save.
Globally, 78 percent of men and 74 percent of women have an account—a gender gap of 4 percentage points. In 2021, 74 percent of men but only 68 percent of women in developing economies had an account.
Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa reported 12 and 13 percentage point gender gaps, respectively—twice as large as the developing economy average and three times larger than the global average (Global Findex Report, 2021).
This is to illustrate that behind data, there are individuals, households, faces, human beings. As we begin this training, I would like all of us here to move away from the statistics and think about women and men behind data.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Data in harnessing financial inclusion is essential for three main reasons:
First, data is key in advocating for and developing appropriate financing models for the financially underserved segments: the youth, the women, Micro and Small entreprises. The success of digital financial solutions for the underserved would not have materialized without reliable data on consumers needs and income levels.
Second, data is critical to ensure that policies and regulations concerning the financial sector are aligned to financial inclusion targets. Data enables regulators and policymakers to take informed decisions based on evidence, and ensure optimal resource allocation in line with evolving circumstances.
Third and last, financial inclusion data is indispensable to an effective Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework, for regulators to track outcomes of the policies put in place and assess their impact against the set targets.
Therefore, the proposed theme of “Leveraging Financial Inclusion Data to Drive Inclusive Policy Development” is timely and right on cue considering the fact that data will play an increasingly greater role for AFI members as they design and develop their new financial inclusion strategy.
On this note, I want to thank AFI for providing policy guiding models in areas of monitoring and evaluation of National Financial Inclusion Strategies, gender inclusive finance, regulatory and supervisory technologies for financial inclusion and data collection processes to back the M&E frameworks.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before I conclude, let me emphasize the fundamental transition to data-driven supervision adopted by financial sector supervisors globally.
The digital transformation we are experiencing in financial services requires real-time availability of data along with tools for effective reporting and data analysis.
There is an urgent need to adopt supervisory and regulatory technologies that make it easy to collect data that is segregated by for instance, gender, customer demographics and customer segments.
With that in mind, the National Bank of Rwanda embarked on an automation and ICT modernization program, whose primary objective was to implement modern technology and applications to support the core functions of the Central Bank.
For the past six years, the NBR developed an integrated data repository system (Electronic Data Warehouse- EDWH) that pulls raw data from the regulated financial institutions on a daily basis, ranging from clients onboarding to loans disbursed and financials.
The EDWH serves both the NBR and other stakeholders, ensuring informed decisions are made and properly implemented. An estimated 900 stakeholders use financial inclusion data available in this system daily, weekly, and monthly. During this regional training, the NBR team will share with you more about the EDWH and its benefits.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In this training, participants will be given tools to assess the role of financial inclusion data in promoting the development of gender inclusive finance policies, as well as practical use of Supervisory Technology solutions (SupTech) to streamline the reporting process while informing and facilitating supervision.
However, as supervisors put in place SupTech tools to facilitate the effective oversight of digital financial solutions as part of financial inclusion initiatives, it is equally important to ensuring this data is kept secure and protected from unauthorized use or abuse and remain vigilant about cyber risk.
Let me conclude by thanking AFI and VISA for their remarkable partnership in organizing this regional training. My gratitude goes to our strategic partners: the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, UNCDF, Access to Finance Rwanda, World Bank for their invaluable support and efforts in promoting financial inclusion in Rwanda.
I will leave you with this thought: Leveraging financial inclusion data to drive inclusive policy development is not a four-day endeavor, but a long-term commitment to accelerate the access to affordable and quality financial services for ALL.
Enjoy your stay and once you conclude your insightful sessions, take time to visit Rwanda.
Murakoze. Thank You.