AFI member institutions are expected to adopt the Kigali Statement at the upcoming 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF), co-hosted by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and AFI under the theme of “Using Technology for Inclusion of Women and Youth”.
Speaking at a press conference held two days before the GPF’s official opening, AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig told a room full of journalists that the Statement – the event’s main deliverable – would focus on accelerating financial inclusion for the disadvantaged groups, including women, youth, older people, forcibly displaced persons and disabled people. “With the Kigali Statement, the AFI network is ensuring that by implementing sustainable financial inclusion policies, no one is left behind,” Dr. Hannig said, adding that the Statement is expected to be adopted by across the AFI network – comprising 100 members from nearly 90 developing and emerging countries – at its Annual General Meeting on September 11.
Echoing this sentiment was BNR Governor John Rwangombwa, who said that the central bank was “looking to close any gap and have everyone financially included, which is a foundation of inclusive growth and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
At every annual GPF meeting since the 2011 endorsement of the Maya Declaration, members have made a series of milestone commitments targeting different aspects of financial inclusion, such as gender, financial technology and climate change.
Governor Rwangombwa added that women were a key demographic that the central bank was targeting through financial inclusion activities.
“There are a lot of efforts going on to empower women economically. As technology comes on board, it complements these efforts and makes it easier to bring more women on board,” he said.
Since joining the AFI network, Rwanda has made remarkable strides in financial inclusion, with 80 percent of its adult population accessing financial services in 2017 compared with just 20 percent in 2008.
Governor Rwangombwa said that while advances in technology “helped us leapfrog the challenges of financial exclusion,” he added that being a member of the AFI network has also played a crucial role in its success.
“We’ve gained a lot by being part of the network in terms of improving our policy, legal and regulatory framework for ensuring financial inclusion in our country. We’ve just finished a financial inclusion strategy that is currently waiting for approval and we had good inputs from AFI and learning from the experiences of others,” he said.
Dr. Hannig said that since AFI was established 11 years ago, “the results we have seen are not only dramatic in Rwanda but also around the world.”
“As a result of our activities, 650 million people could be included and we have done that through 545 concrete policies solutions,” he said.
Over 800 global policymakers, regulatory institutions and development partners are expected to attend the event on September 11-13. At the flagship event, BNR will showcase Rwanda’s financial inclusion experience and highlight how the use of technology can bring progress in financial inclusion for marginalized groups, especially women and youth.