September 12, 2016
The importance of financial inclusion cannot be stressed enough and Fiji has proved just how much importance is given to this critical area.
This is through hosting a very successful Alliance for Financial Inclusion 2016 Global Policy Forum at Denarau Convention Centre the past week.
The first to be held in the Pacific and one of the biggest conferences held in Fiji with over 500 foreign delegates, the Reserve Bank of Fiji did a truly amazing job in organising everything and co-hosting such a large-scale event.
Commitments were made on the Maya Declaration and Fiji was not to be left behind making its own commitments for closing the gender gap.
Fiji’s focus on gender equality in financial inclusion has been adopted by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and is called the Denarau Accord.
Fiji has always placed strong focus on gender equality and providing financial access to women, especially those in the rural areas.
And indeed the banks and Government indeed have been doing a fantastic job with their financial inclusion programmes giving financial access to women.
As stated by the executive director of AFI, Alfred Hannig, not including women in the financial inclusion cycle would mean forgoing a great potential.
He revealed there is a global gender gap in terms of financial access which is eight per cent and which means women are really behind in getting access.
And this was the reason AFI has been really trying to include women through policy and regulation by narrowing down gender gaps globally.
Fiji’s commitments on this is really exemplary and one which a lot of our Pacific Island neighbours can learn from.
Being a small dot in the world, Fiji has been able to make much of the leading decisions not only in other areas, but something as critical as financial inclusion.
The presence of the Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy amongst other senior Government officials at the conference further demonstrated how seriously Fiji takes this issue.
As the A-G Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out, the conference was to ensure that those millions of people around the world who are not included in the financial mainstream were not forgotten.
“These include those women and those underprivileged people, those farmers, squatters, people living in the slumps, people working and those people in the peripheries is the reason we are here, and that is our main target,” he said.
“We all are here to make sure that we do not leave them behind, the whole idea is we bring them to the core and from the periphery to the fold.”