By Kebba Secka

The Central Bank of the Gambia on Wednesday 30th January 2019, engaged stakeholders from various financial institutions on the concept paper on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). The paper aims to map out directions for greater financial inclusion.

Speaking at the gathering, first Deputy Governor of the CBG Seeku A. K Jaabi, expressed gratitude to stakeholders for their attendance to discuss, strategies and make suggestions on the NFIS concept paper, in order to facilitate the expansion of the financial access frontier to all. Jaabi said the strategic importance of financial inclusion cannot be over-emphasized, particularly when one considers the economics of developing countries like the Gambia.

“Financial inclusion promises to promote financial stability and mitigates the systematic risk in the financial sector,” he said. Jaabi further pointed out that financial inclusion is an effective tool for monetary policy transmission which if properly managed, will complement stability in the financial sector. “For an inclusive and sustainable development, there is need for a broad based financial inclusion. This stimulates economic growth by increasing the rate of capital accumulation and improving the efficiency to spur economic growth. He revealed that Financial Inclusion (FI) is key to the achievement of UN Sustainable Goals such as ending poverty in all its forms, the promotion of social protection and gender equality, amongst others.

According to Jaabi, NFIS focuses on three priority areas and these are women, youth, and rural Gambia; that these are largely seen as excluded from the formal financial sector. Jaabi also acknowledged the support of UNCDF’s participation in the financial inclusion drive; that the Financial Inclusion Dashboard is a cost effective digital solution that will help stakeholders to better monitor key indicators of the FSPs, identity underserved geographical areas and underserved segments of the population. “I am glad to inform this gathering that the cost of this dashboard is US$120, 000 and will be absorbed by the UNCDF. We are indeed grateful for their timely support,” he said. Jaabi concluded by commending partners such as the AFI, World Bank and the IMF for smoothing the ground to enable them consult extensively and formulate a strategy that will be user friendly and will guide them to greater financial inclusion.

Fatou Deen Touray Director at the department of micro finance at the CBG, took participants through the contents of the concept paper, by highlighting key financial approaches for financial inclusion and policy intervention, to attain the NFIS goals among others. Fiifi Nyarko Mensah from Ghana and Andrew Eboku Eyeru from Uganda, are the consultants from the UNCDF who will guide the stakeholders on the formation of the NFIS concept paper, within six months.

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