Financial policymakers and regulators across the Arab region celebrated the Financial Inclusion day on April 27. While the Arab Monetary Fund advocates for moving forward new policies and strategies for financial inclusion to achieve sustainable development, Central Banks from Arab countries publicly reinforced their commitment to make financial services more inclusive.
After the adoption of April 27th as the Arab Day of Financial Inclusion by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) last year, the day was celebrated in the whole MENA region in 2017 for the first time. On this occasion the Council of Arab Central Banks Governors reaffirmed the importance of widening the access to basic, adequate financial services for the unbanked and underserved, particularly for youth and women, to achieve sustainable development in Arab countries. Central Banks across the region have thus taken the Arab Financial Inclusion Day as a chance to raise awareness about the relevance of financial inclusion among stakeholders and the general public, reinforcing their commitment to support financial inclusion activities.
In Egypt, Gamal Negm, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), launched the activities on April 27th and celebrations were carried out for a week. In his statement on national TV, Negm underlined that raising awareness is an important step in fostering financial inclusion in Egypt. In the run-up to the financial inclusion week, CBE published a financial inclusion brochure for commercial banks and for the public. Banks promoted banners and posters carrying the AMF’s financial inclusion logo across the country to attract attention throughout the whole week. Importantly, CBE encouraged banks to offer so-called no-frill accounts under the slogan “an account for every citizen”. Meanwhile, it is revisiting regulations to enable customers to open accounts without expenses or a minimum limit. A number of banks have already taken up this initiative. A conference on Promoting Financial Inclusion in the banking sector took place on May 8th under the auspices of the Central Bank of Egypt.
The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) organized a press event on the Arab Financial Inclusion Day, attended by high-level public and private sector representatives. The Governor of the CBJ, H.E. Dr. Ziad Fariz, underlined the importance of financial inclusion in the Arab region as well as the activities of the CBJ in supporting the expansion of services that are in line with the needs of all segments of the society in Jordan. The CBJ with the support of the EU and GIZ launched an unprecedented promotional campaign for the public. Under a common theme branded busses, give-away savings boxes for children and teenagers, and an awareness video (Arabic) raise awareness for the advantages of basic formal financial services. The event was complemented by a press release (Arabic) and coverage by several radio and TV programs featuring the Financial Inclusion Day and the CBJ’s efforts in promoting inclusive finance in the Kingdom.
— EU in Jordan (@EUinJordan) April 28, 2017
The Palestine Monetary Authority developed a campaign to promote financial awareness at Palestinian universities for a later point in time and published a press release on the occasion, highlighting messages of high-level representatives including the Council of Arab Central Banks Governors, the Governor of Bank Al Maghrib and Chairman of the Council of Arab Central Banks Governors, H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al Humaidi, Director General of the AMF.
H.E Dr. Abdulrahman explained that the Arab Financial Inclusion Day should take the role as a driving factor to support the development of policies, strategies and appropriate programmes aiming at promoting access to financial services. The initiatives presented this year proof that this was accomplished and showcase the commitments of Central Banks across the region to create an enabling environment for achieving full financial inclusion and sustainable development in Arab countries.
by Sofia Bublatzky, Marie Nicolaus, and Atilla Kaiser-Yuecel
Read more about the Arab Financial Inclusion Day: