5th FILAC Experts Group of Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP) Meeting
Thursday, 25 April 2019
Opening Remarks from Norbert Mumba, AFI Deputy Executive Director
Ms. Mariela Zaldivar, Deputy Superintendent of Market Conduct and Financial Inclusion at the Superintendence of Banking, Insurance and Pension Management Institutions of Peru (SBS);
Mrs. Margarita Hernandez, Superintendent of Popular and Solidarity Economy in Ecuador.
Mr. Christian Vega, from the General Superintendence of Financial Entities in Costa Rica, Chair of the of the FILAC Experts Group of Financial Inclusion, and Ms. Kerstin Schopohl of Banque de la Republique d’Haiti and First Co-Chair of FILAC.
Mr. Carlos Moyo, Regional Coordinator for LAC Regional Office and colleagues from AFI
Ladies and Gentlemen,
“BIENVENIDO”- WELCOME to this meeting !
Welcome to the modern and at the same time traditional Lima, Peru. A city proud of its past and looking proud into the future.
Firstly, I wish to thank the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent of SBS Peru as well as the SBS Peru team for their excellent organization of this 5th FILAC EGFIP Meeting. Thank you for the warm welcome and reception. It is a great pleasure for us to be in this beautiful city of Lima.
The SBS Peru was among the first institutions that joined AFI in 2009 and was among the first AFI Board Members and has been instrumental in the growth of AFI. In this regard, I wish to reiterate the importance that the Executive Director, Dr Alfred Hannig and AFI attaches to this region. We are honored to be guided by your leadership and grateful for your continuous support and strong contribution to AFI.
The Regional Initiatives in AFI are the core component of our Network as they help our members to effectively address regional specific policy interventions to enhance financial inclusion.
Currently AFI is covering most of the regions of its membership including the Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI); Africa with AfPI, the African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative; Financial Inclusion Initiative for the Arab Region (FIARI); and last year’s launch of the Eastern Europe & Central Asia Policy Initiative (ECAPI).
Regional initiatives have also evolved in terms of the physical representation in the regional level, well demonstrated by the recent inauguration of the Africa Regional Office in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire with the support of our Member the Ministère de l’Economie et des Finances de Côte d'Ivoire. As for FILAC, we are in discussion with SUGEF, through the General Superintendent of Financial Entities in Costa Rica, who submitted an official expression of interest to host the office for Latin America and the Caribbean. We thank SUGEF for this support.
Focusing on Latin America, our recent studies following work commissioned by AFI with Ms Carolina Trivelli on gender and Economic Intelligence Unit on state of digital financial services reveal gaps that require concerted effort. Fortunately the region has succeeded in the past in garnering its collective resolve to overcome challenges. Examples include; evolution of microfinance, the region pioneered in the setup and implementation of electronic-money regulations, and has strived to enabling digital interoperability.
The FILAC has been represented by a membership willing to set forward a collaborative approach at the regional level by addressing similar challenges and clear potential synergies from a common past and similar evolution. Being a region with an influential community in global terms and following its relatively higher quality and development standards of infrastructure, it is a region that AFI sees great potential to in the near future to set the bar at a global scale the upcoming evolution in terms of innovation of financial services with greater focus on more plural usage and high quality of financial services.
Currently, the FILAC Expert Group is enabling a set of knowledge products in terms of gender equality, digital financial ecosystem, financial technology, and electronic money regulation. We want to express our appreciation to all of you and the consultants that have collaborated to complete these tasks. Additional to these important themes, we also highlight the interest demonstrated in more recent thematic topics such as the one of inclusive green finance – which includes the definition of sustainable finance policies - and focus on the mitigation and adaptation to the climate change – a vast thematic area that is affecting all of us globally.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Under AFI’s Phase III Strategy as approved by the Membership Council in Sochi Russia the network will focus on in-country implementation to aid members to put into practice policy interventions that will drive quality access to financial services. In Russia members agreed the Sochi Accord on Fintech for financial inclusion in recognition that technology will drive efficient and integrity on access to finance. The recent thought leaders conference hosted by AFI in Abidjan Cote d-Ivoire was also 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.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finally, allow me to end by reminding you that our upcoming 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum- to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 11 -13 September 2019 will be the theme " Using Technology for Inclusion of Women and Youth". Again the AFI Network views Youth and Women’s empowerment as a very important area to spur economic development. Although it is commendable that youth unemployment fell in Latin America fell slightly from 8.1 per cent in 2017 to 7.8 per cent in 2018, there is a risk that this could reverse if we do not continue with our efforts to create more jobs through quality access to finance. Remember we still have 25 million unemployed men and women in the region. I hope to see you at the GPF as 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 Regional Initiatives will play a key role in its success.
I wish to again congratulate the SBS Peru for hosting this meeting and for giving us such a warm welcome, and to the AFI Team from the Regional Office and Kuala Lumpur for facilitating this meeting.
I trust that you will find your participation worthwhile and wish you all fruitful deliberations.
Thank you for listening