BRUSSELS, 5 May 2016 – A group of 14 Madagascan post office staff members last week acquired new techniques to better provide financial services to people on the southeastern African island thanks to support from WSBI and ESBG.
Managers and trainers in the town of Antananarivo working for Paositra Malagasy – Madagascar Post Office – took part in the "train the trainers" session held from April 25-29 that covered areas such as negotiations, training techniques and anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism requirements.
The training occurred as part of the Africa Postal Financial Services Initiative (APFSI), a multi-country, broad-based partnership programme that seeks to ramp-up competition in the African remittance marketplace by showing African post offices the benefits of offering remittances and financial services and help enable them to do so.
The work is important because financial inclusion remains a challenge in Madagascar, the 31st largest economy on the continent, where 5.7 per cent of the population claim to have account ownership at a financial institution compared with 28.9 per cent for all of sub-Saharian Africa, according to the World Bank's Financial Inclusion Data / Global Findex.
Post Offices: a window to the financial world for rural Africans
The training, done by training expert Kees van Nederkassel, who is retained by WSBI, marks the second time the savings and retail banking association has conducted a dedicated training session as part of the APFSI. The initiative is a joint regional programme launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Commission in collaboration with the World Bank, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) – a specialized United Nations agency for the postal sector, the WSBI-ESBG and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
The initiative sees post offices as ideally placed to deliver remittances in rural areas. The challenge is they often lack the business model, technology and expertise to process real-time payments such as remittances in an efficient and safe manner. The goal of this initiative is to promote, support and scale up key postal networks in Africa in the integration of remittance services.
WSBI and financial inclusion in Africa
As the largest provider of accounts for the poor worldwide, WSBI and its members, which includes Caisse d'Epargne de Madagascar, looks for ways to address financial inclusion. WSBI is active in the global policy debate on setting an enabling environment for financial inclusion. WSBI drives the member commitment to the 2012 Marrakech Declaration to provide 'An Account for everyone'. Association members also pledged to reach 1.7 billion customers and 400 million new transaction accounts by the end of 2020 as their contribution to the World Bank Group's strategic goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020. WSBI announced last month that its members had exceeded projections on its commitment to the Universal Financial Access 2020 Goal both in terms of total numbers of customers as well as transaction accounts.
WSBI training of trainer course, as part of the APFSI, is ongoing at Ghana Post. Similar sessions in Benin and Senegal are scheduled for June 2016.
>> Discover: Africa Postal Financial Services Initiative
>> Learn more: WSBI Training and Consultancy
>> See: WSBI commitment to World Bank Group's 2020 UFA goals