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> Posted by Center Staff
This year’s Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Global Policy Forum (GPF) at Sasana Kijang in Kuala Lumpur concluded today with the AFI network launching the Sasana Accord. We wrote about AFI network countries’ commitments to the Maya Declaration a few weeks ago. The Sasana Accord further strengthens the effectiveness of these commitments, adding the layer of systemic assessment of impact to ensure quantifiable and measurable financial inclusion targets.
The fifth annual GPF, the largest to date, brought together 400 participants from 80 countries, spanning senior policymakers, central bank governors, partners from international organizations, and key private sector players. Under the theme “Driving Policies for Optimal Impact,” participants discussed and deliberated on the optimal policy strategies by synergizing financial inclusion, financial stability, and consumer protection objectives. Here’s a video recording of the Forum’s final sessions – “Announcement of New Commitments to the Maya Declaration,” “Sasana Accord,” and “Closing Ceremony.”
In facilitating data-based and measurable results of financial inclusion policy and strategy, the Sasana Accord better positions countries to accelerate their progress towards full inclusion. The Accord lists out the following actions for countries to integrate into their commitments. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Jeffrey Riecke, Communications Assistant, CFI
If you regularly follow financial inclusion news, you probably come across articles on the financial inclusion progress of particular countries all the time. Just today I read headlines on the extent of inclusion in Bangladesh as compared to other South Asian countries, on the growing mass of mobile money subscribers in Kenya, and on life insurance penetration in India. Last week we added to the conversation with a post on Nigeria’s financial inclusion strategy. Keeping track of all these national developments is a challenge, even for those of us who have the opportunity to focus much of our attention on financial inclusion.
Earlier this month AFI released the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Timeline, a document that chronicles the steps AFI member institutions have taken in recent years to develop and implement national financial inclusion strategies in their countries – a resource any of us financial inclusion media junkies can embrace. Created by AFI’s Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG), the timeline is organized by region and lists national-level developments for 28 countries from 2007 to the present. Here’s the Sub-Saharan Africa region section.
In looking at the timeline, a few trends quickly come to the surface. Not surprisingly, there’s been an increase in inclusion activity among central banks and financial regulatory institutions in the past few years. Specifically in 2013, a number of countries have drafted or implemented national strategies, including the Philippines, Thailand, Belarus, Turkey, Nepal, and Tanzania. Another trend expressed in the timeline is the rise of branchless banking, with many countries developing guidelines for agent and mobile banking.
> Posted by Nadia van de Walle, Senior Africa Specialist, the Smart Campaign
A year ago, Nigeria put forward an ambitious financial inclusion strategy. This National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) is an exciting development, and with this post I want to take a closer look at it and spotlight some areas to watch as implementation progresses in the years to come.
So, what is it all about? In October 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) promoted the program as a key driver for achieving their larger Vision 20: 2020 strategy, an ambitious initiative aiming to make Nigeria one of the world’s 20 largest economies by 2020.
The CBN is already one of 36 national institutions that have signed the AFI Maya Declaration, a set of commitments from emerging economies’ governments’ designed to increase access to and lower the costs of financial services, and its governor often makes the case that financial inclusion benefits economic growth. After all, despite being West Africa’s largest economy and holding an impressive mass of natural resources, Nigeria is also home to 100 million people living on less than US$1.25 a day. In the financial sector, only 30 percent of adults have an account at a formal financial institution. Public sector borrowing crowds out private borrowers and lending institutions have become increasingly risk averse, reflecting recent crises and adjustments to new regulatory reform. Credit markets remain underdeveloped with limited products, short-term horizons, and high borrowing costs. Making the financial landscape even harsher, Nigerians must contend with inadequate physical infrastructure, ineffective legal institutions, and everyday challenges like distant bank branches, missing identification documents, and high fees.