Financial Inclusion for Sustainable Development
The Council calls on Supporting access of all groups of society, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
to financial services Encouraging the use of modern financial technologies to enhance financial inclusion Promote
the culture of responsible finance in banking industry
The Council of Arab Central Banks and Monetary Authorities Governors gives a great attention to enhancing the access to finance and financial services in Arab countries. The Council is mindful of the substantial potential opportunities that can be achieved through the enhancing of financial inclusion to support inclusive and sustainable economic development, meet the challenges of unemployment, and achieve social justice.
In this connection, in light of the increasing need to further raise awareness of the importance of financial inclusion and its aspects for all parties in the Arab countries, the Council of Arab Central Banks and Monetary Authorities Governors in 2016 has proclaimed the 27th of April of every year as the Arab Financial Inclusion Day. This year, the Arab Financial Inclusion Day is celebrated under the slogan “Financial Inclusion for Sustainable Development”. On this occasion, the Council reiterates its support to the efforts exerted by the international community to enhance financial inclusion and its link to achieving sustainable development, primarily the efforts of G20, which adopted financial inclusion topic as one of the main aspects of the economic and financial development program.
The Council is keen to see that financial inclusion issues in Arab countries are given the accord they deserve. Therefore, the Council has directed to launch a number of different activities and initiatives in cooperation with relevant regional and international organizations. These efforts were further enhanced when the Arab Monetary Fund has, under the Council’s auspices and in cooperation with a number of regional and international organizations, launched FIARI (Financial Inclusion in the Arab Region Initiative) aimed to empower and enhance capacities and capabilities to overcome the obstacles that hinder financial inclusion indicators in Arab countries. In this connection, the Council values the comprehensive model of statistical surveys detecting demand on financial services in Arab countries. This comprehensive model relates to financial services provided to individuals, companies, and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which was developed under this initiative. The Council calls on implementing this model in all Arab counties to help improve financial inclusion indicators and adopt appropriate policies and strategies.
The Council also values the steps and actions taken by Arab countries to promote financial inclusion, and reiterates the importance of including all society categories and sectors in the formal financial system, namely the youth, women, entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises by enhancing their access to, and use of, financial services and products that suit their needs at reasonable costs and conditions, and by protecting their rights and improving their knowledge and awareness of financial issues so that they can make sound investment decisions.
The Council stresses the increasing importance of using modern financial technologies in financial and banking sectors, and the significant and accelerated growth witnessed by the industry of such technologies and their related services world-wide, in addition to the great potentials offered by these technologies and services in terms of enhancing the efficiency of financial and banking operations, particularly in the area of supporting the opportunities to access finance and financial services and encourage entrepreneurship. This requires continuous consultations about the consequences and directions of using such technologies, in a pursuit to maximize the benefits they provide on one hand and limit the negative impacts on the soundness and integrity of financial and banking operations on the other hand. In this connection, the Council welcomes the launch of regional task force on modern financial technologies by Arab Monetary Fund, which aims to study issues related to modern financial technologies, consult, and share expertise and knowledge about the same in order to crystalize different visions on how to activate and regulate those technologies in Arab countries.
In conclusion, the Council calls on all member states to participate in the events of the Arab Financial Inclusion Day by implementing the events and activities that promote and highlight the vision of financial inclusion and its objectives. We wish you all the best of success in your endeavors and hope that you achieve the desired objectives
Technology at the service of sustainable development
At the crossroads of socioeconomic transformation, the Arab region is witnessing an unprecedented mobilization of entrepreneurship, digitization, and tech innovation. As the market picks up momentum, central banks and Arab monetary institutions have reshuffled their agenda to prioritize financing, as well as other products and services, toward the empowerment of businesses and individuals.
At the crux of this agenda is a large-scale push on financial inclusion, the integration of financially marginalized groups and low-income individuals in the formal banking system, focally through the eradication of systemic and socioeconomic barriers. To this end, the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is collaborating with counterpart Arab central banks to simplify financial services through low-cost channels, digitize them at scale through accessible mobile interfaces, and enable the processing of all transactions electronically, including payments, transfers, and account openings.
In tandem, QCB, alongside the Board of Governors of Arab Banks, is multiplying efforts and resources to raise awareness around the importance of financial inclusion. The bank is also reiterating its support for the international community, which celebrates this year, once again, the "Arab Day for Financial Inclusion", and aptly so under the motto: "Financial Inclusion Towards Sustainable Development".
In turn, Barwa Bank has committed both tech infrastructure and R&D efforts to the simplification, improvement, and accessibility of electronic banking channels, products and services, capitalizing on their limitless and open potential for financial inclusion, and subsequently, for longer-term sustainable and integrated economic development. Far beyond the growth of the industry itself, efforts to formally include all communities and segments in the financial system form a stepping stone to alleviate larger poverty, unemployment, economic volatility, and job creation challenges.
With a firm belief in the collective good of sustainable development, Barwa Bank continues to invest resources into the provision of products and services that are accessible to all social segments, and focally so to youth, women and entrepreneurs, as well as to SMEs (small-to-medium) enterprises. Its wider ambition remains to fully integrate all these individuals and enterprises into the formal financial system. Under this ambition, the bank aims at tackling underserving and underservicing gaps by eliminating cost barriers, inhibitive terms and conditions, and shortcomings in the protection of rights that both businesses and people are guaranteed by internal laws and regulations.
In parallel, Barwa Bank is also working to enhance the financial literacy of its customers, particularly through awareness and education on financial planning for a secure future.