National Finscope survey launched

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The European Union, United Nation Capital Develop Fund, Central Bank of The Gambia, Gambia Bureau of Statistics and FinMark Trust on Tuesday, 26 November 2019 launched The Gambia’s Finscope survey at a local hotel in Kololi.

Data from the Finscope survey will support evidence based interventions while designing the country National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

Cognizant of the impact of Financial Inclusion on Development and in line with its National Development Plan, The Gambia with the help of UNCDF’s Jobs, Skills and Finance Programme embarked on the design of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) with objectives of increasing access and usage of quality, affordable digital financial services that would enhance poverty alleviation and spur inclusive growth and development. 

The development of the NFIS is aligned to the main strategic pillars of the country’s National Development Plan 2018-2021 such as stabilising, stimulating growth and transforming the economy; making the private sector the engine of growth transformation and job creation, as well as reaping the demographic dividend through gender and youth empowerment.

The Gambia’s NFIS can also be linked with the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address access and usage of financial services through ending poverty in all its forms. This includes the promotion of social protection system, decent employment and building the resilience of the poor among others.

Speaking at the launching, Dr. Seeku Jaabi, first deputy governor, Central Bank of The Gambia, said financial inclusion has become a major subject of great interest for policy makers, regulators, development partners, researchers and market practitioners.

He highlighted that given the limited access to finance in The Gambia, there is a need to develop a comprehensive and inclusive strategy to accelerate the level of financial inclusion, adding that this strategy requires evidence based policies to be provided thanks to Finscope survey.

Dr. Jaabi noted that the Finscope survey will not only help build regulatory and legal reforms but also take initiatives at broader stakeholders level to make formal financial services available, accessible and affordable to the majority of the population in a timely and sustainable manner.

According to him, in 2017, there were still 1.7 billion adults at the global stage without an account at a formal financial institution or a mobile money provider, noting that while this has improved since 2014, when 2 billion people were classified as “unbanked”, it still represents a huge mountain to climb with large proportion of these financially excluded found in Sub-Saharan Africa largely women and youths.

Lunana Kanashi, European Union rep, said financial access facilitates day-to-day living, and helps families and businesses plan for everything from long-term goals to unexpected emergencies.

She pointed out that research indicates that when countries institute a national financial inclusion strategy, they increase the pace and impact of reforms, adding that EU trusts that such a diagnostic will help The Gambia in designing policies and strategies leading towards increased financial inclusion. 

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb