The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has been elected as the African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI) Vice Chair. After two years, Ghana will take over the position of AfPI Vice-Chair while Seychelles takes over as AfPI Chair. An AfPI Leaders’ Roundtable will be held in the Seychelles in 2023.
The central bank of Seychelles took over as the Chair of AFI’s African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI) from the Bank of Tanzania. Prof. Florens D.M.A Luoga, Governor-Bank of Tanzania, handed over the post to his Seychelles counterpart Governor Caroline Abel on 23 June during the AfPI Leaders’ roundtable in Arusha, Tanzania. Governor Abel is the first woman to Chair an AFI regional initiative.
Expressing appreciation for the honour given to him and cooperation he enjoyed with AFI Management Unit and from members of the African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI), Professor Luoga welcomed Governor Abel as the new Chair during the closed AfPI Leaders’ Discussion
Thanking Prof. Luoga and the Bank of Tanzania for their leadership during the past two challenging years of the global COVID-19 pandemic, AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig praised collaboration and engagement in both the Africa region and global network.
“This week’s meetings were a testimonial to what was possible with the guidance and leadership of BoT and Professor Luoga,” Dr. Hannig said before inviting the new Chair to give her remarks.
Honoured and humbled about the new role for her institution, Governor Abel assumed the post noting that: “This noble task of fostering partnerships and exchanging experiences will further take the network to new heights and continue playing a critical role in peer-learning on innovative financial inclusion policies across the African continent”.
She emphasised that diversity, in both AFI’s biggest regional initiative and the global network, presents ample opportunities to gain new perspectives and strengthen efforts to move forward. “Our journey to enhance financial inclusion is ongoing. We have to adapt to changing realities to enhance financial services for all and achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” the Seychelles Governor said in her acceptance remarks.
Governor Abel’s post of the AfPI Chair reflects progress made in gender and women’s financial inclusivity in the network as part of work under the Denerau Action Plan (DAP). Overwhelmingly endorsed by the network in 2016, the DAP targets accelerating women’s financial inclusion by halving the financial inclusion gender gap across AFI member jurisdictions by 2021; and strengthen women’s leadership while contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 5 on gender equality.
The Leaders also approved EGFIP’s new composition, which now includes Bank of Namibia as the new Chair – taking over from Bank Al Maghrib, while the Bank of Tanzania has been elected as Vice-Chair.
Experts identified four key emerging policy areas to work on: consumer protection for digital financial services; digital financial literacy; inclusive fintech; fintech and data to map the impact of fintech on financial inclusion in the region.
10th Leaders’ Roundtable in Africa
Earlier in the day, leaders of AFI member-institutions in Africa, Governors, Deputy-Governors and Special Representatives, held their 10th annual Leaders’ Roundtable. This is the first time AFI Africa leaders have met in person following two years of virtual work. Leaders discussed inclusive digital finance and policies that promote financial inclusion for vulnerable groups: such as women, the youth, forcibly displaced persons, and rural and remote communities. The high level public-private dialogue that followed offered an exchange of market-based solutions which promote sustainable and inclusive finance.
“This week’s programme showed how the network has matured. This is obvious from the contributions and quality of solutions shared. The spirit of our community is back” AFI’s Hannig told the leaders, adding that members in the region showed incredible resilience and energy over the past two years. “This region has been instrumental in making AFI a leading global policy alliance,” Dr Hannig underscored, and thanked Bank of Tanzania for its leadership.
Addressing the leaders, Dr. Hannig explained that in the pandemic-era world, it becomes obvious that every crisis comes with opportunities. With the world being impacted by the conflict in Eastern Europe, inflation and climate crisis, pressure is increasing on vulnerable groups such as women, who have suffered the most during the pandemic.
“Financial inclusion can bring balance, and a strong organisation such as AFI is necessary to keep the promise of leaving no one behind,” Dr. Hannig said.
Reflecting on what has made AFI strong over the years, AFI’s Executive Director highlighted good governance and maintaining its highest standards, along with genuine values such as open dialogue; cooperation models based on modesty, humility, mutual respect and honesty; as well as a sound funding base. “Our business model has proven to be strong, and commitments from members have been key,” Dr. Hannig told the meeting.
“To support critical developments in digital financial services (DFS), we have continued to develop and advance pillars of inclusive DFS by expanding access beyond the payment services to credit, investment, insurance, etc.,” Bank of Tanzania’s Governor Prof. Florens Louga said during the Leaders’ Roundtable.
“Africa’s investment in DFS is having a significant impact in transforming the financial access landscape, with innovations in digital finance expanding financial services,” Governor Luoga underscored.
Launched in 2013, AfPI is the primary platform for AFI members in Africa to support and develop financial inclusion policies and regulatory frameworks, and to coordinate regional peer-learning efforts.
With support from AFI’s regional office in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, AfPI brings together high-level representatives from African financial policymaking and regulatory institutions to enhance the implementation of innovative financial inclusion policies across the continent.
This event is partially financed through AFI’s Multi-Donor Financial Inclusion Policy Implementation Facility, with participation of the French Development Agency (AFD), German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Ministry of Finance of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.