SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – As the take-up of mobile phones in the Pacific drives a revolution in financial inclusion, experts in banking, financial services, mobile networks and new technologies have gathered in Sydney today for the first-ever Pacific Branchless Banking Seminar.
Affordable access to deposits, withdrawals, transfers and other banking services is now increasingly available in the palm of the hand, or from a banking agent in the village or close to home. To discuss this shift, senior executives from the Central Banks of six Pacific island countries will be joined by financial service providers, mobile network operators and technology providers from all over the region.
Sessions highlighting successful approaches and best practices will be facilitated by leading experts and practitioners, including Gane Simbe, (Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands), Pia Roman (Head of Financial Inclusion at Bangko Sentral Ng Filipinas), and Steve Rasmussen (Head of Technology at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor [CGAP]). The meeting will seek to identify policies, innovations, and practices that are strengthening the enabling environment for branchless banking in the region.
“With the vast majority of Pacific people still ‘unbanked,’ the uptake of mobile and branchless banking is proving the most effective means of extending access to formal financial services to all,” said Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office.
The two day event, jointly organized by ADB and CGAP, is being held at ADB’s new Sydney offices. The event is sponsored by ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Initiative.
Established in 1995, CGAP is a global network of more than 30 development agencies, private foundations, and national governments that share a common vision of improving the lives of poor people with better access to finance.
Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) is a regional technical assistance facility cofinanced by Australian Aid, the New Zealand Aid Programme, and ADB. Since 2006, PSDI has been working with ADB's 14 Pacific Developing Member Countries to improve the enabling environment for business and support inclusive, private sector–led economic growth.