There are 1.4 billion people unbanked in the world, 60 countries have reasonably good payment systems and more than a billion do not have identity. Besides, many people are still excluded. Against this backdrop, the Fourth G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) Meeting is being held in Mumbai from September 14-16 to discuss
the remaining work of the on-going three year Financial Inclusion Act Plan (FIAP) 2020 which is in its terminal year and is being implemented by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI).
Discussions will take place on the deliverables related to Digital Financial Inclusion and Small and Medium Enterprises. Ahead of the meeting a Symposium on Digital Public Infrastructure for energizing MSMEs was held on September 14. This is one of the series of side events on Digital Public Infrastructure and financial inclusion that have been organised by the G20 India Presidency under the GPFI working group. Ajay Seth, Secretary (Economic Affairs), Ministry of Finance, T Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor (RBI) and Mr. Mohamed Gouled, Vice President (International Finance Corporation) and Dr Arjun Kumar Karki, Global Coordinator-LDC Watch and Former Ambassador of Nepal to USA addressed the Symposium.
The Symposium saw panel discussions involving international experts around two key themes “Energizing MSMEs for Higher Economic Growth through Digital Public Infrastructure” and “Credit Guarantees and SME ecosystems”. The first panel discussion on energizing MSMEs through DPI was moderated by Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum and the panelists were Mr. Sivasubramanian Ramann, Chairman & Managing Director, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), Ashwini Kumar Tewari, Managing Director, State Bank of India, B G Mahesh, Co-Founder & CEO, Sahamati, Mr. Michael Jongeneel, CEO, FMO, Jane Prokop, Executive Vice President, Small and Medium Enterprises, Mastercard. The enriching discussions provided valuable insights into the role of DPI in rapidly advancing the financial inclusion of MSMEs.
The second panel discussion on credit guarantees and SME ecosystems was moderated by Ms. Nagla Bahr, Managing Director, Credit Guarantee Company (CGC) Egypt. The panelists were Katrin Sturm, Secretary General, AECM, Sandeep Varma, CEO, CGTSME, Mr. Homam Hashem, CEO, Kafalah and Wooinn Park, Deputy Director, KODIT.
The World Bank also presented the G20 Policy Recommendations for Advancing Financial Inclusion and Productivity Gains through Digital Public Infrastructure developed under G20 India Presidency which were recently endorsed by the G20 Leaders in the G20 Summit held in New Delhi.
Over the course of the next two days, the GPFI members will discuss GPFI work regarding implementation of G20 GPFI High Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion, Update of National Remittance Plans and SME best practices and innovative instruments to overcome common constraints in SME financing. A Symposium on “Advancing Financial Inclusion through Digital Public Infrastructure: Empowering Consumers through Digital and Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection” will also be held on September 16, 2023 as part of the GPFI Meeting.
In a pre-event Press Conference, Economic Advisor, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Chanchal Sarkar, stated that it is a remarkable achievement for the GPFI working group as recently, at the G20 Leaders Summit held in New Delhi, the leaders endorsed two significant documents produced by GPFI under the India Presidency, namely the G20 Policy Recommendations for Advancing Financial Inclusion and Productivity Gains through Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) 2023.
Sarkar said that ‘’The Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) is open , inclusive and scalable and it can produce results absolving societal problems. Various studies have shown why many people and MSMEs are excluded as the transaction costs are high or access is less. If DPI and digital mode are adopted these kind of barriers and obstacles can be easily overcome.’’ He further added that digital technologies be adopted that have been embedded in both documents policy recommendations and they are a very good guide to be followed by any country who wants to advance financial inclusion.