Access to financial products, services vital


FINANCIAL inclusion is at the heart of sustainable development and poverty reduction in the region, Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor says.
She told the financial inclusion innovation summit in Port Moresby that it was an area that had to be developed with smart policy solutions by stakeholders.
“Your discussions are to focus on issues that are at the very heart of sustainable development and poverty reduction,” she said.
“These are not trivial matters but issues upon which the lives of many depend.”
Dame Meg proposed three issues which participants should deliberate on during the summit that would enhance the development of financial inclusion in the region.
“First, I urge you to consider extending regional financial inclusion programmes and coverage to other parts of the region and beyond those Pacific countries with central banks in the next five to 10 years,” she said.
“Second, I urge you to explore how Pacific Islands countries can improve digital financial inclusion. Forum Leaders have identified information and communications technology (ICT) as a priority for collective action and it is critical that we harness ICT to support greater financial inclusion.
“Third, I encourage investment in reliable, consistent data on financial inclusion. We lack data for many aspects of national development, including financial inclusion, which restricts our ability to fully gauge the extent of our efforts.
“It is therefore imperative that we invest in building reliable databases for all financial inclusion initiatives, to support evidence-based policy-making.”

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