2018 AFI Global Policy Forum - Opening Remarks from Governor Fazle Kabir, Bangladesh Bank & Chairman of the AFI Board of Directors


Opening ceremony of the 2018 AFI GPF
Thursday, 6 September 2018
Sochi, Russia

Opening Remarks from Governor Fazle Kabir, Bangladesh Bank & Chairman of the AFI Board of Directors

Your excellence, Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, Government of The Russian Federation,

Your excellence, Honorable Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation,

Deputy Governor the Krasnodar Region Administration

First Deputy Governor Bank of Russia

AFI Executive Director, Alfred Hannig;

Fellows Governors;

Fellows members of AFI network;

AFI Partners;


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am profoundly grateful and honored to deliver a few welcome remarks in this momentous Global Policy Forum, for today, we mark our 10th Global Policy Framework and our 10th Anniversary as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI).

We are all privileged to be hosted in this magnificent city of Sochi by through the outstanding hospitality of our host, the Bank of Russia. Our host has bestowed us with wonderful reception and accorded us with the required amenities to effectively engage in this two-day important global event on financial inclusion.

I also acknowledge and appreciate the AFI Management Unit for co-organizing this critical event that has become a global reference forum for financial inclusion policymakers and regulator from all works of international community in financial sector, development, technology and academia.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Our decade long journey was eventful, filled with exciting achievement and significant progress in advancing global financial inclusion, and specific gains at that have significant impact at country-level. We witnessed a reduction of the global unbanked adult population from the 2.5 billion when we started the journey to the current 1.7 billion unbanked adult population (2017 Findex).  About 85% of these global unbanked live in AFI Network, making financial inclusion our core initiative. We early recognized that this task cannot be undertaken without collaboration and cooperation. We mobilized support from the members and our like-minded strategic partners who travelled with us by providing funding and intellectual support. We still have this support and we are profoundly grateful.

On the broader scale, as a network, we have been able to galvanize a rich base of practical knowledge on financial inclusion, we have moved from challenges of access to basic financial services account, where we have gained significant mileage, however we still face challenges on the usage and demand side aspects of the dimension of financial inclusion. It is from these reasons that our financial inclusion journey is still on. The gains achieved do not make us complacent, rather give us impetus to press on to address challenges and opportunities we see in the next decade ahead. In a nutshell, I wish to raise two main lessons we take from this journey and which we will reinforce as we move ahead.

Collaboration and cooperation: Have been instrumental in ensuring that we are effective in address the common goal of reducing the global unbanked population. AFI was established based on south-south cooperation, with effective dialogue and engagement with developed economies and partners to address the financial inclusion challenges. We as you all are aware, have been effective in our peer-learning and peer transformation initiatives. These have provided us with tangible gains in terms of country-level financial inclusion interventions that are evidenced by the level of financial inclusion in countries represented by AFI member institutions in this past decade. We will continue to apply this approach by scaling it up in terms of establishing stronger cooperation for the use of innovation and technology to accelerate financial inclusion in addressing emerging challenges that the network is facing in this dynamic financial inclusion landscape.

Global platform for raising financial inclusion issues and support: We have over the last decade been able to raise the voice of emerging economies on challenges of financial inclusion through GPFs and other regional platforms. We have, throughout the journey, made commitments and endorsed Accords that have been instrumental in addressing countries financial inclusion challenges, ranging from measurement of financial inclusion, financing SMEs, bridging the gender-gap, taming the tide of de-risking, addressing financial inclusion and climate change aspects, to the current GPF where we are going to reinforce our network commitment to using innovation and technology for financial inclusion and regulation and raising pertinent policy and regulatory issues that go along with the use of technology for financial services and inclusion. Key issues that we expect to address in this forum are: How should regulations effectively keep abreast in addressing emerging risks in the use contemporary innovations and technology? How should regulators respond without stifling innovation to such changing landscape? These and more policy and regulatory discussions will be deliberated in these two days, and I am looking forward to key outcomes that will contribute to the Global discourse in financial inclusion and help shape our activities as a network in 2019 for facilitating reorienting our policies and regulations in support of innovations as we balance our financial inclusion and financial stability objectives.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

My role was simply to welcome you and offer these brief welcome remarks. I believe we will continue to have the same zeal moving forward in the next decade. And these journey starts again today!

Thank you for your attention!


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