Prospects for Digital Financial Inclusion in the Arab Region
Financial inclusion intersects with a number of key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These goals “call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.”
Among the SDGs closely connected to financial inclusion are objectives to: end poverty; achieve gender equality; “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all” (a goal that is particularly germane to financial inclusion); and reduce inequality within and among countries.
In that regard, the ITU in collaboration with the World Bank and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched a Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI) 2017 – 2020. FIGI will act as a collaborative body to provide resources to help transform plans into reality. Specifically, a High Level Symposium and Working Groups will focus on sharing experiences and discuss technical and policy issues on related to digital financial services (DFS). Moreover, deploying implementations in three target countries will serve as an opportunity to put into action these developed best practices. In addition to FIGI, the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference held in October 2017 adopted a new Arab Regional Initiative on Digital Financial Inclusion the objective of which is to promote and enable the use of financial services through access to ICTs to foster digital financial inclusion in the Arab region.
Globally, impressive gains in the development of digital financial services (DFS) for financial inclusion have been made in recent years. However, progress has been slow in most of the Arab region for various reasons including legal and regulatory challenges, lack of awareness on the opportunities among policy makers, lack of coherent coordination among the financial and ICT sector. This session will shed light on some country experiences in the Arab region and focus on the challenges, opportunities and prospects for DFI in the Arab region particularly in light of the relevant global initiatives. In specific, the session will touch upon the following issues:
• What is Digital Financial Inclusion? And how can access to financial services through ICTs benefit societies?
• What is the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative and how can the Arab region benefit from it?
• How have some Arab countries benefited recently from Digital Financial Services and what are some of the challenges they are facing hindering further benefits?
• What are the prospects for Digital Financial Inclusion globally and regionally?
The session will be moderated by Mr. Karim Abdelghani, Programme Coordinator in the ITU Arab Regional Office. Proposed speakers of the session are:
• Eng. Amr Mousa, Minister Advisor, for Digital Economy, and Cybersecurity, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt
• Dr. Director of Special Projects, Qatar Computing Research Institute, Qatar Foundation, Qatar
• Speaker from Sudan
• Speaker from Oman
For further information please contact:
• Mr. Karim Abdelghani, Regional Programme Coordinator for Arab States, email@example.com