Joint Global Standards Proportionality (GSP) & Financial Inclusion Data (FID)
Working Group Meetings,
Monday, 11 March 2019
Opening remarks by Norbert Mumba, Deputy Executive Director, AFI
Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, Mrs. Lobna Helal
Mr. A.K.M Ramizul Islam, Bangladesh Bank and Chair – Global Standards Proportionality Working Group,
Ms. Marwa Elhosary, Central Bank of Egypt and Co-Chair – Financial Inclusion Data Working Group,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Sabah Alkhyr and welcome to this meeting
Welcome to New Cairo in the beautiful City of Cairo!
Allow me to briefly express my gratitude to the Governor and the Deputy Governor, and the excellent staff at the Central Bank of Egypt for organizing these meetings for the AFI Network and the warm reception and excellent arrangements accorded to us.
The Central Bank of Egypt has been an AFI member since 2013. Not only is Central Bank of Egypt Vice-Chair of the AFI Board of Directors, represented by Governor, Tarek Amer and Deputy Governor, Lobna, it is also the Vice-Chair of the AFI Gender and Women’s Financial Committee, a position held by Deputy Governor Lobna Helal. In this regard I on behalf of the Executive Director, Dr Hannig wish to reiterate his International Women’s Day message on the importance AFI attaches to gender and particularly women’s financial inclusion. We are honored to be guided by your leadership and grateful for your continuous support and strong contribution to AFI.
The AFI Working Groups represent the heart of AFI. The presence of approximately 100 member representatives here today reflects the importance that you attach to these meetings which are the center of financial inclusion policy development and leadership globally. Our joint Working Group Meetings begin with the convergence of the Global Standards Proportionality (GSP) and the Financial Inclusion Data (FID) Working Groups here in Cairo to be followed by the Consumer Empowerment & Market Conduct and the Digital Financial Services Working Groups on 26 – 29 March in the Bahamas, and the SME Finance Working Group and the Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group from 1 - 4 April in Livingstone, Zambia.
As mentioned before, the Working Groups are key to our being a Policy Leadership Alliance. As per our AFI Phase III Strategy in 2019, and as approved by the membership council at the AGM in 2018 in Sochi, Russia, the AFI network’s focus is now on three main strategic objectives: (a) Issuing Policy Guidance or Models, (b) In-country Implementation Support, and (c) Global Voice.
The FIDWG was the first Working Group to be established due to the apparent, urgent need to enable a common framework to measure financial inclusion and use data to inform evidence-based financial inclusion policies. Additionally, it’s focus has been crucial in setting specific financial inclusion objectives, devising measurable targets, and measuring progress for both Maya Declaration Commitments and national financial inclusion strategies.
With the move to policy implementation, this Working Group has been instrumental in driving the implementation of the Denarau Action Plan and advancing women’s financial inclusion by enabling the collection of sex-disaggregated data within the jurisdictions of AFI members and more recently to enable proportionate implementation of global standards. Additionally, FIDWG is the first working group that is in the process of adopting the Policy Model framework to validate policies that have been already tested by a majority of members as part of our AFI Phase III Strategy, through the development of the AFI Core Set Policy Model.
Which is why this convergence of the FIDWG and GSPWG is timely. The GSPWG has been addressing a very complex area of financial inclusion. It was a response to the revelation that the global standards set by advanced economies were in fact having negative unintended consequences on the financial inclusion efforts of AFI members. When applied disproportionately, the global standards have the potential to cause financial exclusion. The GSPWG and its Subgroups must continue with its important work to guide us in finding the balance between financial inclusion, financial integrity, and financial stability policy objectives. At the global level, it has courageously advocated for more proportionate application of standards such as the FATF Recommendations and the Basel Standards. In 2018 alone, the GSPWG developed several knowledge products. Such as:
a) a volume of Case Studies of AFI members putting proportionality to practice, which covers applying global AML/CFT standards proportionately towards advancing financial inclusion; and
b) a Guideline Note on gender considerations in implementing global AML/CFT standards which looks at how to address the negative, unintended consequences of disproportionate national AML/CFT regimes on women’s financial inclusion.
Regarding the Financial inclusion Data Working Group, they have developed four sets of regulatory templates to guide members in the collection of sex-disaggregated data and a guideline note regarding the supply-side data collection framework that are about to be released soon.
Additionally, the Central Bank of Egypt and Bank of Zambia have during last year worked hard in formulating their respective sex-disaggregated data frameworks to better guide their women financial inclusion policy implementation in an attempt close the persistent gender gap in financial inclusion.
We would like to express our gratitude to the GSPWG and the FIDWG members for their tireless effort and commitment to developing these knowledge products, which we intend to use as policy guidance in drawing up policy at the country level.
With the rapid expansion of technology, particularly the rise of FinTech solutions and the offerings of services through digital platforms, the use of technology to collect and report more effectively the key policy-related data, the so called RegTech and SupTech, have become critical in supporting evidence-based policies and regulations in an accurate and timely manner. By increasing access to, and usage of, innovative, low-cost financial tools and applications, digital financial services open new opportunities for improving overall levels of financial inclusion. They also bring various new challenges for governments, financial service providers, and consumers.
Therefore, the FIDWG and GSPWG must ensure a collaborative approach, to develop the required data frameworks to foster the proportionate application of global standards that are more suited to the contexts and realities of our jurisdictions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As AFI adopts completely its AFI Phase III Strategy, it is time for reflection on the path we have tread together and the way forward. AFI services have evolved in the past ten years - as AFI has expanded, as AFI network members have made significant progress and as the financial inclusion horizon has drastically changed. The recent thought leaders conference hosted by AFI in Abidjan Cote d-Ivoire was instructive in emphasizing technology as key to reaching scale. The conference also recognized the ever increasing importance of sustainable policies particularly on green finance and the risk of losing the gains we have made if we do not pursue sustainable financial policies. Therefore both FIDWG and GSPWG should start to develop data and strategy interventions that will enable the AFI Network employ effective interventions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to end by reminding you that our upcoming 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum- the first to ever be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 11 -13 September 2019 under the theme " Using Technology for Inclusion of Women and Youth". We are working closely with National Bank of Rwanda to create a milestone event. The Regional Initiative and Working Group meetings are set to take place on 9 - 10 September. We again expect this to be a memorable GPF- and the Working Groups will play a key role in its success.
I wish to again congratulate the Central Bank of Egypt for hosting these meetings and the warm welcome, the FIDWG and GSPWG Chairs and Policy Managers and AFI team for facilitating these meetings. I trust that you will find your participation worthwhile and wish you all fruitful deliberations, and a successful week ahead.
Shukraan ealaa aistimaekum
Thank you for listening.