Many people living in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have no access to financial services. For instance, about 70% of MENA countries have less than 50% of the population holding an account with a formal financial institution.
Financial inclusion is a key issue for the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and it has very specialized skills in this field. This has been witnessed by several activities and initiatives on the role of savings and retail banks in promoting financial inclusion to the disadvantaged masses.
In this context, WSBI in partnership with its Moroccan member Al Barid Bank, a subsidiary of Barid Al Magrhib Group (Moroccan Post) organizes a conference on financial inclusion in Marrakech on 19th January 2016. The goal is to discuss how to activate and retain the disadvantaged mass market so that it can be leveraged for economic development.
There will be a focus on policy initiatives and financial inclusion strategies, as well as on partnership models and payment infrastructures implemented to drive financial inclusion strategies.
Furthermore, this meeting will also be an opportunity to formalize the creation of the MENA subgroup as part of the WSBI development strategy.
The main purpose of the conference is to foster the emergence of an enabling environment, so that banks and financial institutions can develop financial services at acceptable risk and cost levels.
08:30 – 09:00 Registration
09:00 – 10:00 Opening
10:00-13:00 Debate Session
10:00-11:10 Policy initiatives and financial inclusion strategies
Most countries in the MENA region have taken steps to improve financial inclusion. This collective awareness is reflected in the recommendations of the Arab Policy Forum 2014 "Arab countries must make their societies more inclusive and more citizen financial systems should not be an exception". However, there is still much to be done to develop an enabling environment to promote access to finance.
This session aims to discuss the financial inclusion policies and strategies implemented in order to have a regulatory environment that balances the needs of promoting access to finance and the stability of the financial system.
Moderator: Mr Chris De Noose Managing Director, WSBI
Mr Abderrahim Bouazza, Bank Al Maghrib Director General (Central Bank of Morocco) (tbc)
Mr Al-Bagdadi Hayder, Regional Financial Inclusion Program Manager, GIZ
Mme Margarete O. Biallas , Senior Mobile Financial Services Specialist, International Finance Coorporation
Ms Nadine Chehade, Regional Representative for Middle East North Africa Region (MENA), Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)
11:10-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 12:15 Partnership in Financial Inclusion:
A comprehensive approach to financial inclusion should take into account interaction with key stakeholders including actors from the private and public sector. This session will showcase the Al Barid bank business models of government transfers Minhaty initiative, and the banking services for youth (18-25 years) Tawfir Al Ghad.
12:15-13:00 Partnerships and innovative payment systems
Payment systems have a leading role in economic activity because they enable agents to transact at safe and reasonable costs.
The debate in this session will allow participants to benefit from best practices and successful business models of innovative payment systems and the assessment of their replication in MENA with respect to regulatory and business perspective.
Moderator: Dominique Pinoche, Head of Advisory Services, INBOX, France
13:15-14:30 Lunch Break
14:30-15:30 Establishment of the WSBI MENA Group
Mandate and statutes
Roundtable on strategic issues of MENA Group members: interactive debate with participants moderated by Mr. Chris De Noose, WSBI
15:30-16:00 Closing by Al Barid Bank and WSBI
Group Photo + Communication to Media
19:30-21:30 Gala Dinner
Postal banking leverages its extensive distribution network. However, with the penetration of internet and smart phones, physical outlets are no more compulsory for customers. In some countries, mobile money outlets, retail stores, pharmacies, etc. are even used as an interface or channel for cash in and cash out. The ambitious movement to cashless society at the government level and the trend towards digitalization by industry players have urged postal banking to re-think its future. How should postal banking position itself? What is the competitive edge of postal banking in a digitized world? What is the value proposition of postal banking? What strategy should postal banking adopt? Branchless banking cannot stand alone. It must be integrated with other channels like branches and contact centres such as post offices to deliver a seamless and simple customer experience. Can the combination of a brick & mortar model with high technology developments place postal banking at the forefront of retail banking among other players?The 18th WSBI Postal Savings Banks Forum will address the above questions on how postal banking should position itself in a banking landscape that is disrupted by non-bank players and explore ways to improve the competitive edge of postal banking. What appropriate regulation should be put in place for postal financial institutions to meet its double bottom line and what changes are expected from policy makers? How can postal financial institutions retain customers' trust and loyalty among more diversified banking players? How can they understand customers better and improve human resource capital management? How can they integrate innovation into traditional distribution channels?