The event began with the tenth annual meeting of the Expert Group on Financial Inclusion Policies.
Members of the Financial Inclusion Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) held five days of meetings in the country, where they exchanged information on how to boost financial inclusion with partners and peers from the public and private sectors around the world. The Superintendency of Banks of the Dominican Republic (SB) served as host institution.
Alejandro Fernández W., Superintendent of Banks of the Dominican Republic, highlighted the relevance of the meeting as a space to promote financial inclusion and access to banking. “Financial inclusion is one of the strategic commitments assumed by this Superintendency of Banks, so we are pleased to have the opportunity to co-host this event that promotes best practices in the region.”
The region is making strong progress in financial inclusion
The event began with the tenth annual meeting of FILAC’s Expert Group on Financial Inclusion Policies (EGFIP). Regional representatives shared the progress made in financial inclusion and discussed key policy challenges and achievements related to digital financial services, gender-inclusive finance, and micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) finance, among others.
Members provided updates on national financial inclusion policy, regulatory reforms and presented new initiatives. Peru launched a National Digital Transformation System to synchronize stakeholders and financial institutions on an interoperable platform to drive digital innovation across the country, while Paraguay and Costa Rica passed legislation advocating for more inclusive insurance policies with greater consumer protection. Ecuador, Paraguay and Honduras have developed environmental and social risk management guidelines that seek to promote transparency and corporate responsibility, such as the standard process for credit risk assessment.
At the EGFIP meeting, members worked on jointly updating regional initiatives, including the roadmap for advancing the financial inclusion of women and the diagnostic study on the financial inclusion of migrants in the FILAC region. In addition, they assessed measures to support MSMEs during the recovery phase of the covid-19 pandemic. They also discussed upcoming regional initiatives developed through the recently presented Luxembourg-FILAC partnership project.
Dialogue between FILAC members and Luxembourg on how to advance financial inclusion
At the meeting, in Casa de Campo, there was a virtual dialogue with key financial sector stakeholders from Luxembourg, a pioneer in global sustainable and inclusive finance and home to AFI’s European Regional Office. In this space, FILAC members discussed issues of sustainable finance, digital financial services, inclusive financial technology, cybersecurity, microfinance and inclusive green finance with experts from Appui au développement autonome (ADA), the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency, the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, and the University of Luxembourg.
The dialogue presented an opportunity to exchange views with the aim of sharing information on the formulation and implementation of regional financial inclusion policies and strengthening the capacity and technical skills of AFI’s regional members.
“With a shared vision and a spirit of collaboration, Luxembourg’s development cooperation is eager to work with our innovative partners in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Our common priorities (gender, inclusive green finance, digitalization and financial education) are topics where the region and Luxembourg’s inclusive finance ecosystem have expertise to share. A true partnership is based on mutual exchange, where our solid knowledge and experience in inclusive finance regulation stands out, driving collective progress and innovation,” said Geneviève Hengen, Deputy Director of European Bilateral Development Cooperation.
The virtual dialogue was part of a broad ongoing cooperation between FILAC and Luxembourg. In December last year, Luxembourg’s Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and AFI signed a pilot project to promote financial inclusion in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The project seeks to boost regional digital financial services, inclusive financial technology, national financial inclusion strategies and inclusive green finance, with an overall priority on gender inclusion.
Digital financial literacy: key to consumer security
The event, held June 12-16, included two roundtables where FILAC members met with partners and stakeholders from AFI’s public-private dialogue and developed-developing country dialogue, including Mastercard, Thunes, the European Investment Bank (EIB), Banca d’Italia and Banco de España, to critically review existing digital financial education (DFE) policies and initiatives in the region and share ideas on how to advance DFE in the region and sow the seeds for collaborative approaches.
The challenge of how to boost women’s access to financial services
AFI and SB also hosted a three-day training session on formulating policies to promote access to finance for women-led micro, small and medium enterprises through digital financial services. FILAC members explored the challenges faced by these businesses, assessed the role of digital financial services in addressing the financial gap, and identified regulatory and policy solutions to boost women’s financial inclusion.