7 August, 2017
Sasana Kijang, Kuala Lumpur
AFI-BNM Member Training on Financial Inclusion Strategy and Data
Opening remarks by Norbert Mumba, Deputy Executive Director, Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)
Kristina Rai, Human Capital Development Centre, BNM,
Colleagues from BNM and AFI,
and participants from AFI member institutions,
Welcome to the AFI-BNM training on Financial Inclusion Strategy and Data. This is the fourth edition of the member training on this topic conducted under our partnership with BNM, and we sincerely appreciate BNM’s invaluable support in co-hosting the trainings.
We have 32 participants from 27 countries and 28 institutions with us for this training. We thank you for such continued overwhelming response, which is also a reflection of your institution’s commitment to implementing national strategies that will accelerate the progress of financial inclusion in your respective countries.
In 2017, AFI is organizing more than 20 capacity building programmes, which include Member Trainings, Joint Learning Programs, and trainings under the Public Private Dialogue.
Now, among these are also our Peer Advisory Initiatives which focus on building the capacities of our members in the in-country implementation of their national financial inclusion strategies. We thank the Central Bank of Nigeria for recently hosting visiting delegations from across the AFI Network to learn first-hand the approach to Nigeria’s National Strategy development.
The importance of developing national financial inclusion strategies that are effective and responsive to national developmental goals cannot be over emphasized. National strategies ought to take into account the national financial inclusion gaps to be addressed as well as to recognized the inadequacies of current financial services offerings particularly in regard to underserved groups such as women, youth and forcibly displaced persons. On our part as AFI Management Unit we continuously evaluate ourselves to be able to best respond to member demand for action-oriented programmes that address your institutional needs. The overwhelming response that we receive from you for every capacity building event, we hope, is a reflection that we have been able to meet your emerging needs.
The most recent addition to our range of services is the introduction of the Online Course on “Certified Expert in Financial Inclusion Policy”, delivered in partnership with Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. The first session commences on 1 September 2017 and registration is now open. My colleague, Madhurantika, from AFI’s Capacity Building Unit, can provide you further details on the registration and discounted rates that are available for you.
Our findings, demonstrate that countries with national strategies make significantly faster and more meaningful progress in financial inclusion than those without a strategy. National Financial Inclusion Strategies are a critical starting point for the effective implementation of financial inclusion policies. They provide a framework for countries to implement their national financial inclusion objective and thus fulfil their Maya Declaration commitments.
When carefully formulated, implemented, and monitored based on sound data, NFIS ensure the systematic coordination of financial inclusion policies that are tailored to a country’s particular context. Good data set informs effective policy development and aids product and services design. Effective NFIS should therefore include a sound data gathering framework as well as a monitoring and evaluation framework that is based on solid data.
To help members, AFI’s Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG) (one of its six (6) working groups), developed a National Financial Inclusion Strategies Toolkit specifically for policymakers and regulators, to support them in the formulation of their national financial inclusion strategies. FISPLG provides practical support to members who have made related commitments under the Maya Declaration (which you will learn more about later today) and who are determined to take a systematic approach to address financial inclusion in their countries.
In addition, AFI is increasingly focused on integrating women’s financial inclusion into national strategies, and has published a further guideline after the FISPLG’s last meeting in Tajikistan. Through the Denarau Action Plan, AFI Members made a commitment to closing the gender gap in financial inclusion. It is hoped that the Denarau Action Plan will have a transformative impact on the lives of previously financially excluded women, as well as enhance the quality and usage of financial services for those already included but still face gender-specific barriers in their delivery.
To support and implement the ten (10) point Denarau Action Plan at the country level, FISPLG has developed a Guideline Note on the ways in which the financial inclusion of women can be incorporated into national strategies. Additionally, AFI has begun to integrate sessions dedicated to women’s financial inclusion within its capacity building programmes in efforts to promote a gender-sensitive approach in the advancement of financial inclusion and to address the diverse needs of the different population segments in our countries.
Following your feedback, that an emerging challenge in the implementation of NFIS is the establishment of multi-stakeholder coordination mechanisms that also observe a high level of efficiency and effectiveness, FISPLG last month published a Survey Report on National Coordination and Leadership Structures. We will go into this in more detail later in the week, and you will have the opportunity to learn from and discuss this with your peers. Needless to state that policymakers and regulators need to engage and work in collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders to be able implement the NFIS in a systematic and targeted manner.
Remember without data and without a strategy our national financial inclusion aspirations will be ineffective, expensive to implement and ultimately bound to fail.
We look forward to your active participation and contribution to this training. Thank you once again for joining us, and I wish you a productive week ahead.