This week we are in Davos where world leaders are gathering for the World Economic Forum (WEF) to discuss and debate economic policy ideas, solutions and challenges. It is encouraging to see financial inclusion issues take such a high priority at this year’s WEF, and reflects the growing recognition of the value and impact smart policy can make on the lives of the poor.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to host a private session, together with our partners in Visa where we introduced the AFI Private-Public Dialogue (PPD) model to private sector CEOs. We found the concept was well received and I look forward to seeing us take the next steps toward its full implementation.
As usual we are speaking a lot about scaling up access to and increasing usage of quality financial services by the poor. I often speak of financial inclusion policy as a global issue, with relevance to both developed and developing nations.
Even here, in the heart of Switzerland, a country recognized as a leading global financial center it is not hard to find financial inclusion challenges. In the small, picturesque village of around 500 inhabitants a few kilometers outside of Davos where we are staying, there is no ATM, taxis do not accept credit cards, and digital payments are not very well known. We always have to remember to keep our pockets full of cash to pay for the small expenses when we go back to our village every evening.
I cannot avoid thinking that this really gives a meaning to one of our key messages which is that AFI members from developing and emerging countries are leading the financial inclusion debate and are on the cutting edge of financial inclusion policy and new financial technologies. The ‘cash-only’ economy here would be considered quite backwards in many areas of the Philippines, Tanzania or Paraguay.
It goes to show that financial inclusion policy can have clear benefits to all people, from Switzerland to Samoa and everywhere in between.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Alfred Hannig is the Executive Director at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). Dr. Hannig has overseen the growth of AFI from an organization with a few enthusiastic members, into a global alliance and important knowledge hub of policymaking and regulatory institutions from nearly 100 developing and emerging nations.
Categories: General Financial Inclusion