The executive director at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Alfred Hannig visited Tajikistan on June 28-29.
According to AFI’s website, Hannig held talks with Umed Latifov, deputy chairman of the National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT), and Lola Salimova, deputy chairwoman of the NBT.
Salimova reportedly stressed how important it was for the countries in Central Asia to cooperate to promote financial inclusion. She also highlighted that the NBT had found the AFI peer-learning platform neutral, uninfluenced, unbiased and well-suited for the exchange of knowledge and experiences among the Central banks in the complex political context found in Central Asia.
“We (Central Asia) share many of the same challenges and need to collaborate even more closely on making remittance transfers cheaper and faster, enhance on non-cash applications, and develop and enforce stricter AML/CFT regulation to better monitor and prevent suspicious transactions. These three areas are key to be strengthened in order to achieve fully-functional, stable and inclusive financial systems”, Latifov added.
Apart from the need to strengthen regional exchange and collaboration the NBT reportedly expressed demand for concrete capacity building support from the AFI network.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to explore the possibilities and opportunities to strengthen peer-learning in Central Asia and with member institutions from neighboring countries.
Tajikistan has reportedly made important advancements to improve and increase access to financial services to the unbanked in recent years, however more work is needed as only 11.5% of adults have an account at a formal financial institution.
In fact, the NBT made a Maya Declaration Commitment to work toward including 30% of the population in formal financial services, particularly through the use of digital financial services (DFS). “The Central Bank is obviously working hard to achieve this target (by 2017), and the NBT has displayed impressive commitment and engagement as an AFI member from the Central Asia region”, said Hannig.
The next activity will be the trip of a NBT delegation to attend the training AFI co-organized with Central Bank of Kenya on intermediate digital financial services, which will be held in Nairobi on July 18-20.
NBT has been a member of the AFI network since 2011. (News.tj/Business World Magazine)