'A Digitally Connected World to Advance Financial Inclusion'
Thursday, 4 April, 2018
Opening Remarks by Norbert Mumba, Deputy Executive Director, AFI
Ms. Amina Tirana, Senior Director, Global Financial Inclusion, Visa,
Other members of the VISA team,
Delegates from AFI member institutions,
Colleagues from AFI,
Good morning! Welcome to our capacity building offering under AFI’s Private Public Dialogue: A Digitally Connected World to Advance Financial Inclusion. This training is being offered in collaboration with Visa. For those who are attending an event under AFI’s Public Private Dialogue or PPD for the first time, this platform was established in 2014. It is a unique, global collaboration of public and private sector decision-makers working together to advance financial inclusion.
Effective financial inclusion can happen only when stakeholders of the financial ecosystem work in collaboration towards an agreed goal. While policymakers and regulators can help provide an enabling environment, we need effective implementors to deliver the effective services. Going digital is the most effective way forward and it is innovations in digital financial services that will help us reached the global financial goals we have set for ourselves. And it is exactly here that the private sector contributes with their expertise.
Dear colleagues an effective collaboration between policy makers and the private sector is an inevitable bridge that will ensure policies translate into the much needed and talked about appropriate products and services. Through PPD, AFI will therefore ensure that its capacity building programmes keep the staff in member institutions well primed and at the cutting edge of technological developments.
The financial ecosystem has changed drastically over the recent decades. A key change has been the expansion of the payments ecosystem – expansion in terms of very diverse players entering the market, innovations in payment options and high volume of users. These changes have brought huge opportunities that support financial inclusion, and to take advantage of these opportunities, coordination among stakeholders have assumed more importance than ever before.
While we have working on supporting mobile payments through future focussed regulation, the market has moved further. The Mobile Economy 2018, by GSMA reports that unique mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2025, which is equivalent to 71% of the world’s population. However, the rate of growth is slowing as markets reach saturation and future growth will be triggered by mobile internet. It is expected that mobile internet will add 1.75 billion new users over the next eight years, reaching a milestone of 5 billion mobile internet users in 2025. It also reports that number of Internet of Things (IoT) connections (cellular and non-cellular) will increase more than threefold worldwide between 2017 and 2025, reaching 25 billion.
Are we ready for these large-scale changes? How do we prepare for them? In spite of these large-scale changes, we are still far from formal financial services reaching the last mile. How can we work together to address the challenges and risks that come with the opportunities of these large-scale changes? This training is all about that.
Our journey with VISA started in 2015. The capacity building events led by VISA are just one of the initiatives of the PPD. Under the PPD, we also work with Visa to hold high level dialogues on innovative products, business models and approaches, and global advocacy on selected issues. Let me take this opportunity to thank Visa for their collaborative work with AFI and to support AFI’s journey which completes 10 years in 2018.
This forum has over 90 representatives from over 40 countries and with a training led by a global payments technology company committed to promoting the use of digital financial services, there is indeed a huge potential to make the much required changes that will ensure that that digital payments – which are safe, efficient and effective - reach those that we are committed to work for. The Digital Financial Services Working Group and the Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise Finance Working Groups, who are participating in this event, have identified significant synergies and combining it with technical inputs from the private sector, I feel will strengthen it further. I encourage you to use this time to explore new development opportunities, strengthen existing PPD collaborations to take the financial inclusion agenda forward, and perhaps think anew. We also look to your constructive feedback to this Forum which will be important for designing future engagements of a similar nature.
I hope that the insights gained from these interactions with VISA will inspire concrete plans for action in our respective countries and contribute towards generating a clearer vision for raising financial inclusion
I wish you a great day of discussions, debates and commitments.