Financial inclusion crucial for growth in Africa, say experts
They called for the promotion of new technologies to move towards greater inclusion.Nearly 200 experts present at the conference on financial inclusion on March 23rd in Brazzaville concluded that access to financial services can play a key role in reducing inequalities and promoting economic growth.
"Better access to financial services enables poor people to overcome the rigid constraints of cash transactions, to start saving and receive microloans to invest," said the Deputy Director of the African Department at the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf, quoted by the Agence d'information d'Afrique Centrale.
Jointly organised by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and the IMF, the conference was held under the theme: "Finance for all - Promoting financial inclusion in Central Africa".
Participants identified barriers to access to financial services, including complex guarantees, high bank intermediation costs, as well as the fact that legal and institutional frameworks no longer meet current financial transactions. In addition, because of the high risk, small and medium-sized enterprises are facing high costs for accessing credit.
Given all the obstacles, participants called for the promotion of new technologies to move towards greater inclusion, including mobile banking, electronic signature and biometric identification.
"For growth to be inclusive, beyond the measures that the central bank can take, we must improve the business climate," said the Governor of the BEAC, Lucas Abaga Nchama.