AFI Experts Group for Financial Inclusion Policy
Welcome Address by Assistant Governor Ellison Pidik
Bank of Papua New Guinea
30 May 2017, Gazelle International Hotel, Kokopo
Distinguished Members of the AFI Experts Group on Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To our guests who have travelled to Kokopo from both the Pacific region and beyond, I warmly welcome you all to our shores on behalf of the people and Government of PNG. I know you have travelled far and I hope your arrival has been met with the warm hospitality and friendly smiles typical of the South Pacific and PNG. Tourism, as you may have observed, is an important component of our economy and I urge you to also take the time to explore a little more of this beautiful country to see what it has to offer.
A special welcome to our colleagues from the Central Bank of Seychelles who are here with us for the first time to participate and learn from the experience that we share as small island states. We hope that you would take away key lessons and insights that may assist you in developing smart and innovative financial inclusion policy to address the challenges you face back at your home country – and we also look forward to learning from you the experiences you can share with us Pacific Islands brothers and sisters.
It is a real pleasure for me to be part of the EGFIP meeting and a great honour to deliver the welcome address on behalf of the EGFIP Chair, Deputy Governor Gane Simbe from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands and the EGFIP Co-Chair, Deputy Governor Peter Tari from the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu.
As you are all aware the EGFIP is the implementing arm of PIRI and your role in ensuring that we work towards developing smart and innovative policy knowledge to address the challenges and constraints that we as small islands face in promoting financial inclusion, is paramount. Our leaders look to us for technical advice and direction, therefore your role in contributing knowledge and experience is critical and important.
This meeting marks another milestone for the Pacific region on its journey towards building a financially inclusive society. It reinforces our common vision as members of PIRI that inclusion is not simply some far off objective we seek to attain—it is also the means through which we attain this objective.
Ladies and Gentleman,
The agenda of financial inclusion continues to grow in importance within our region and needs to be given greater support. It rightly focuses on making financial services—such as savings or deposit services, payment and transfer services, credit and insurance—affordable and accessible to the unbanked and low-income population in a manner that empowers them to participate in economic activity so growth can be more inclusive and sustainable. In fact, financial inclusion has an important social dimension too, in that it ultimately leads to reducing income inequality within our region.
This EGFIP meeting will once again provide a learning opportunity to share our respective experiences in our work in building a more inclusive regional community as indeed we share a similar vision where financial services are accessible by all Pacific Islanders. This vision includes a regional community where every one of our brothers and sisters share an equal opportunity.
Looking around this room this morning, I see people with the passion, vision and skills to make that transformation in our Pacific region. So, I urge you all the EGFIP members from PIRI to seize the opportunity that is presented to you today to continue to contribute to building a better Pacific community for all of us.