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AFI Helps Bring Financial Inclusion To Centre Of Economic Development

  The Alliance for Financial Inclusion has managed to bring financial inclusion from the fringe of economic development debate to the centre of any thinking on economic development. Executive director
07 Sep 2016 12:32
AFI Helps Bring Financial Inclusion To Centre Of Economic Development

 

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion has managed to bring financial inclusion from the fringe of economic development debate to the centre of any thinking on economic development.

Executive director of AFI, Alfred Hannig, stressed financial inclusion is therefore no longer side issue.

“It is definitely a pillar of financial inclusion and economic development and this is why I think we get so much energy around the topic from our members,” he said.

Mr Hannig said financial inclusion is truly a cross-cutting issue and gender was one of the most critical pillars which they hope to address during the Global Policy Forum starting tomorrow.

“Gender is important and in other words – women’s financial inclusion is a major issue,” he said.

“All of us have heard, seen or studied that women are often the ones who are managing the business, ones who are making sure of savings and in a much better position than men to drive the household economy.

“Most probably, we have seen that women are very good at paying back loans.

“Now if this is the case and at the same time we know financial inclusion has strong impact on growth, then it looks like we are foregoing a great potential not including women in the financial inclusion cycle.

“And as we know, we still have a gap in terms of financial access which is eight per cent around the world which means women are really behind in getting access.”

Mr Hannig said this was why AFI was really trying to include women through policy and regulation.

“Our interest is to narrow down gender gaps globally and hopefully eradicate it. These developments will take time,” he said.

 

Potential

Deputy Governor of the Bank of Zambia, Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, is the chairperson of AFI Committee on Women’s Financial Inclusion which is a fairly new committee.

She said there are a lot of studies undertaken and one of the recent ones found if the potential of women was harnessed, that would add US$12 trillion to the global economy.

“But that is apart from the very critical role women play in the family and community at large and to omit half of the world’s population from full participation, I think actually cartels development,” he said.

Ms Kankasa-Mabula said she was very pleased AFI has decided to take gender from the fringes and take it into the mainstream.

“One of the big gender items in this conferences is deliberations will be an action plan which is a framework which will help AFI member countries,” she said.

“It is going to create a framework to deal with the issue of gender financial inclusion.

“As already has been stated, there is a persistent gap between access to finance by men and women by 9 per cent.

“Although in the recent past, there has been quite a lot of progress in terms of financial inclusion, the gap persists.

“So there is need for deliberate intervention.

“There is a need for creating that consciousness and the need not to leave anyone behind particularly the women.”

Ms Kankasa-Mabula suggested there are certain things that needs to be done including research, gender disintegrated data, harnessing partnerships, collaborating with stakeholders.

“I am hope at the end of five years, we see this gender gap diminishing if not altogether eliminated. It is hoped we are going to endorse this action plan and implement it,” she said.

Edited by: RACHNA LAL

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

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