Improving access to financial services and financial literacy remains one of the development challenges for the country. Collaborative efforts from the Government and financial services sector is needed to extend financial services to the unbanked majority. Taking the lead in providing and improving these access to financial services and financial literacy training the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) have launched their second National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016-2020.
The strategy provides the framework for coordinating, advocating and sustaining efforts in partnership with all stakeholders to achieve the common vision of creating an inclusive and sustainable Papua New Guinea. The strategy not only articulates action for provision of access but increases the use of the financial services to improve the standard of living in PNG. On hand to officially launch the strategy plan was Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Honourable Peter O’Neill. The Prime Minister upon receiving the Strategy from Governor Loi Bakani CMG, said he was encouraged by the progress in implementing the first strategy. “I know it has been a difficult journey in trying to get the 75 per cent of the rural areas engaged in an economy that is growing at a rapid pace and challenging in itself.”
So far the implementation of the first strategy has seen achievements with over one million new bank accounts opened of which 35 per cent were opened by women, over one hundred thousand people reached with financial education 47 per cent of which are women, 67 new branches, 73 ATMs, over four thousand EFTPOS machines and 233 new agents added onto the financial service network with over six hundred thousand policy holders taking out micro-insurance products and over three hundred thousand people linked to their deposit accounts with Mobile banking.
Building on the success of the first national strategy implementation, CEFI and the Bank of PNG developed the second national Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016-2020. This new strategy provides the framework for coordinating, advocating and sustaining efforts in partnership with all stakeholders. Bank of PNG Governor, Loi Bakani said the strategy not only articulates action for provision of access but increases the use of the financial services to improve the standard of living in PNG. The new strategy is designed to reach additional 2 million new bank accounts, 50 per cent of that to be for women with the participation of women and youth as the cross cutting theme.