GENDER EQUITY AND SOCIAL INCLUSION POLICY WORKSHOP
Crown Plaza, Port Moresby
Wednesday 29 March 2017
- Mr. Jack Stanely, Asian Development Bank representative,
• Mr. Simon Ross, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Australian Government,
• Mr. George Awap – Manager, FSDD & Director for Microfinance Expansion Project (MEP),
• Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe, Director for CEFI and Team Leader for MEP,
• Ms. Robyn Conford, Gender & Microfinance Specialist, MEP,
• Workshop Participants,
• Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the Governor of the Bank of PNG (the Bank) and Chairman of Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion, Mr. Loi Bakani, CMG, I welcome all the participants to this important workshop where there is opportunity for us to interact and discuss the draft Policy on Gender Equity & Social Inclusions which we can operationalize in our respective financial institutions.
GENDER EQUITY & SOCIAL INCLUSION POLICY
The design of Microfinance Expansion Project included Gender Equity as a very specific focus issue for mainstreaming and a Gender Action Plan was implemented right from its inception.
All (MEP) Project staff became more gender aware through training and other group activities throughout the course of MEP. It is very encouraging to note some of the gender-related key achievements of the project.
1. All the financial and operational data collected by the project are gender segregated
2. MEP partners have reached 419,861 of that 45% are women
3. MEP has provided 3,526 person days of training of that 49% are women participation
4. Of the 27 products designed during the course of the project, 5 are targeted to women and the others are gender neutral
5. Financial education training has reached almost 170,000 people now, 47% of those have been women
6. Business Development Support training has reached 3298 people, 65% of those trained have been women
7. The Risk Share Facility established under MEP has supported K12.1 million loans; of that amount, K3.3 million (25%) has been loans to women.
Gender is a cross cutting issue and has therefore become a theme which will be mainstreamed within all aspects of Financial Inclusion Strategy implementation. The first National Financial Inclusion Strategy resulted in over 1.2 million new entrants accessing the services of the mainstream financial institutions (unbanked became banked); of that figure, 30% were women. The second financial inclusion strategy that was launched in December 2016 expects 50% of women participation in the targeted 2 million new entrants to the financial system over the next four years.
To demonstrate the Bank’s seriousness to reaching out to more of the unbanked women across the country, the Governor issued a banking licence to Women’s Microbank in 2015 to reach out to all women in PNG. This is the first of its kind in the region.
A financial competency study conducted by the Bank indicated a lack of financial services for rural women particularly. Digital financial services have been given a prominent place in PNG’s Second National Financial Inclusion Strategy. We understand the importance of facilitating the ability of financial institutions to bring these services to the rural sector so that women particularly will be given the opportunity to benefit from secure and safe banking services.
After the full implementation of the new National Payments System (KATS), the Bank is now actively working on developing a national switch platform which will enable other micro banks and savings and loan societies and any other mobile phone or card payment service providers to provide digital financial services to their customers. This will facilitate inter-operability and bring many benefits for women especially. Internationally, the introduction of digital financial services has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people, especially women, who can and do access financial services and find the features of these services overcome many of the barriers which have previously excluded them.
The development and implementation of a Gender Equity & Social Inclusion Policy for Microfinance Institutions is a logical next step in the journey to inclusive financial services for all in PNG.
I hope today’s deliberations will assist our microfinance partners to fine-tune this policy document and develop implementation strategies so that inclusive and gender equity policies and principles can be integrated within the day-to-day operations of each of their organisations and in the development and delivery of services and products to their customers.
I expect that such policies need to be considered as a priority by other Financial Institutions too – so your success will pave the way for it.
I wish you all the best in the discussions.
Thank you and God bless you all.
Assistant Governor, Financial System Stability Group
Bank of Papua New Guinea