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Monday, October 28, 2013

UPU News : Forum shines light on postal financial inclusion potential

28.10.2013 - Closing the UPU’s two-day global forum on financial inclusion on Friday 25 October, UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz urged stakeholders to continue working with Posts to help them provide millions of unbanked people easier access to financial services.

Representatives of donor organizations committed to financial inclusion also attended the forum, including Megan Oxman (onscreen) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“Let us continue the dialogue and undertake concrete and far-reaching actions to drastically reduce money transfer costs by linking service to access for those populations excluded from the banking system,” said Clivaz at the end of the two-day forum in Geneva attended by some 200 participants from more than 70 countries.
He also had a message for governments: “More than ever the Post is an instrument of public service and a formidable tool for social and economic integration. Invest in your postal network and position postal services at the heart of your development and economic growth strategies.”

What central banks can do

One of the forum’s sessions invited representatives from central banks, especially in developing countries, to talk about the challenges Posts face in banking more people.
Speakers recognized that Posts’ far-reaching networks, client base, and trustworthiness make them engines for financial inclusion. They agreed to help with regulations, but urged Posts to innovate.
Burundi’s Innocent Ndabarushimana assured the central bank is working to update the country’s laws to take better advantage of the Post’s rural network. “You don’t want a regulator that is so strict it limits innovation,” he explained.
Central banks’ expectations of Posts will depend on countries’ existing levels of financial inclusion, explained the session’s moderator, UPU economist José Ansón, but he is optimistic central banks will cooperate as much as possible to meet their needs.
“There is institutional willingness to accommodate the postal network into the financial system,” he said. “The central banks realize their frameworks must be flexible enough to allow innovation, but rigorous enough to avoid economic risk.”
Clivaz urged central banks to create the conditions for postal services to be key players in financial inclusion. He recalled World Bank data showing that Posts offer the lowest prices for money transfer services and are already contributing to reducing overall prices generally.
The global forum on financial inclusion for development was organized by the UPU, the Swiss government and the International Organization of la Francophonie.

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