Financial Inclusion Week 2017 – FSD Uganda Symposium on Financial Inclusion

On October 30, 2017, as part of Financial inclusion week running from 30 October to 3 November 2017, FSDU held its first Symposium on Financial Inclusion at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The Symposium was a success attracting over 150 high profile stakeholders from the financial sector in Uganda. The theme for this year’s global financial inclusion week, was “New Products, New Partnerships and New Potential”.

The event which was centred on a Keynote address “Now you can see me – How data can advance the role of the financial sector for a better Uganda” by Herman Smit Technical Director at Cenfri, begun with an exhibition of the achievements of FSDU and our implementing partners. Top areas on display included; linkage banking, agency banking, mobile money interoperability, alternative credit scoring, digitized bulk payments and data usage to advance financial inclusion.

Speaking at the Symposium Mr Adrian Green, The Head of Growth and Economic Management at Department for International Development “The financial system is a key piece of economic infrastructure, with a vital role to play in boosting trade, investment, and an exit from aid for developing countries; and in alleviating poverty.” “And making the financial sector accessible, used by all, accountable to all is critical to alleviating poverty at the household and community level,” he added.

Mr Green explained that financial markets are simply a key economic enabler and there is evidence that financial sector development drives economic growth. According to him, there is a clear link between deeper financial development and faster growth in sub-Saharan Africa in particular. “Access to financial services reduces poverty at the individual, household, business and the community level by allowing people to manage their economic lives more effectively and by making them less vulnerable to shocks” he said.

Ms. Jacqueline Musiitwa the Executive Director of Financial Sector Deepening Uganda, made a call to financial services companies to compete with telecommunications companies and financial technology companies so that they are pushed to provide a diverse array of services at the best prices for customers with consumer protection principles embedded.

Our chief guest, Minister of State for Trade, Mr. Michael Werikhe said in Uganda today, 15 percent of adult population is financially excluded, 80 percent of Ugandans do not have bank accounts, only 2 percent of Ugandans are insured and the gross domestic savings (percentage of GDP) in Uganda was reported at 13.28 percent in 2015. “With this kind of statistics, our aspirations to achieve the middle-income status is threatened; because it is globally acknowledged that financial inclusion is a fundamental ingredient of growth and development,” he said.

Closing the ceremony Ms. Musiitwa said “For too long, the bulk of Uganda’s population has depended on the goodwill of others,” She added that FSDU believes that there’s not only unbelievable potential in the entrepreneurial spirit of the people in the Pearl of Africa but there is a sound business reason to tap this potential, not tomorrow but today

Highlights from the FSDU Symposium can be viewed here

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