Since the launch of PNG’s First National Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy Strategy, unprecedented progress in financial inclusion has been achieved. Between June 2013 and June 2016, more than 1.2 million new deposit accounts were opened at regulated financial institutions. In the same period, the percentage of adults with an account increased from 20% to almost 37%.
Financial access points in the country have grown by 56% in the last three years. Papua New Guineans can now access the formal financial sector at 12,599 physical access points, as well as often via their mobile phones. However, the majority of the population continues to lack access to formal financial services, and financial exclusion affects specific groups more than others: it is more prevalent in rural communities, among women and microenterprises, especially those within the informal economy and in agriculture. Therefore, financial exclusion remains a fundamental challenge.
The implementation of the First Strategy ended in 2015. To provide a strategic framework for financial inclusion going forward, a new National Financial Inclusion Strategy (subsequently referred to as “Second Strategy”) has been developed. The Second Strategy has been developed in a consultative and participatory process with inputs from all key stakeholders, acknowledging lessons learnt from the First Strategy, and considering international best practices.
This Second Strategy provides continuity as it pursues the routes embarked upon in the First Strategy that have proven effective, thus maintaining the momentum created by the First Strategy. Furthermore, it provides an update by identifying new Priority Areas, Strategic-Objectives, and fine-tuning implementation mechanisms. It sets the national strategic framework for financial inclusion until 2020.