Discussions for next G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan kicked off
A new G20 Financial Inclusion Action (FIA) Plan is in the works. Initial discussions have started, said Chanchal Sarkar, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance.
Sarkar chaired the first G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) meeting in Kolkata, which concluded on Wednesday.
The G20 FIA, which sets the agenda for advancing and managing the GPFI is a three-year document. “The current FIA is still on and is going to end in 2023. This year happens to be the year when the new FIA for 2024-2026 needs to be prepared for which discussions have started about the process,” Sarkar said.
The members will decide on the final priorities, but Sarkar said, the major ongoing priorities were digital financial inclusion and making finance more accessible to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The overarching priorities, he said, were women, vulnerable sections, and consumer protection. These are likely to continue as guiding principles in the next edition as well, he added.
A report would be made to evaluate the progress made, Sarkar said.
A host of issues were discussed at the three-day GPFI meet in Kolkata. The meeting witnessed participation from delegates from G20 countries, invitee countries, key international organisations and prominent international experts on digital financial inclusion.
The discussions centered on the role of digital public infrastructure (DPI) for advancing financial inclusion, reducing cost of remittances, assessing progress made in the implementation of G20 high-level principles for digital financial inclusion, and advancing financing for SMEs.
Sarkar said that all members reiterated that they were committed to bring down the remittance cost to three per cent.
Remittances are seen as an important route to financial inclusion. At present, the cost was at 6 per cent on average, almost twice the sustainable development goal (SDG).
In 2014, G20 leaders had committed to implement the National Remittance Plans (NRPs) for supporting effective remittance flows and reducing remittance transfer costs. The G20 NRPs were finalised under the Turkey Presidency in 2015 along with a monitoring framework.
Pointing to the theme of India’s G20 Presidency, ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’, Sarkar said it underlined the message of equitable growth and a shared future for all.
Rising challenges in a global economic scenario in a post-Covid-19 period, demand refocusing of worldwide discussion, he said. “Financial inclusion is thus crucial in achieving the goal of poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of vulnerable sections as it positively impacts sustainable and inclusive growth.”
The first of the GPFI working group meetings was held in Kolkata from January 9-11. Three other GPFI working group meetings are likely to be held in other parts of the country.
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