October 16, 2018
United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr Sanaka Samarasinha
Distinguished guests and Central Bank Governors
Representatives of International and regional organisations
Ladies and Gentlemen
Kiora and Good evening, it is a great pleasure to be here tonight to represent the New Zealand Government.
Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme on its 10th anniversary. The New Zealand Government is proud to have been a long-standing partner since its inception in 2008.
New Zealand has a very close relationship with the Pacific when it comes to financial inclusion. A great portion of inward remittances to the Pacific comes from Pacific Islanders based in New Zealand, who are now residents, citizens or who have come to Aotearoa through our labour mobility programmes. We are committed to continue our engagements to transform Pacific economies together. Our own prosperity is dependent on the sustainability and success of the Pacific region.
New Zealand is home to a thriving innovation ecosystem that encourages world-leading research and development activities. Innovation can help reduce some of the challenges Pacific Islanders face in using financial services, particularly geographical distances in accessing the nearest physical bank branch, for example.
It is pleasing to note that PFIP is working with cadre of world class experts applying innovative approaches to the Pacific, such as “Human Centred Design” and “Agile Project Management” in an effort to improve adoption and uptake of digital financial services to improve the economic lives of Pacific Islanders.
Through your work with financial service providers, new and improved products are now in the market that we believe will also help increase trade and businesses opportunities between New Zealand and the Pacific.
Tonight, we honour these on-going partnerships by awarding one outstanding financial service provider with the Reuben James Summerlin (RJS) Innovation Award. I understand that this Innovation Award was established in 2016 to commemorate the late PFIP Programme Manager, Reuben James Summerlin, and to honour his legacy to financial inclusion in the Pacific.
The Innovation Award is granted to one of PFIP’s partners that has made the greatest contribution to Financial Inclusion in the Pacific in the past year.
The awardee is selected based on evidence of a clear focus on under-served clientele, such as women or and rural communities, applying client-centric design in product development, and most importantly, taking these innovations to scale.
I understand that various great initiatives were considered for the award. While they may not be awarded tonight, know that what you have achieved to help your fellow citizens is reward in itself.
Now it is my great pleasure to announce that the winner of the 2018 Reuben James Summerlin Innovation Award is:
FijiCare Insurance Ltd. for their work on developing and scaling the bundled micro-insurance product.