Mastercard and NBU Held the First Financial Inclusion Forum "Finclusion UA"

The forum was focused on the vision of financial inclusion, the role of state and business in its development, local and global practices of formation of financially included society

The financial inclusion forum «Finclusion UA», organized by Mastercard and National Bank of Ukraine, was held for the first time in Ukraine. Over 200 participants and guests of the event, among them speakers from Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Poland, Singapore and Sweden, discussed how to include people in financial services and why this is essential for the state and business.

Yakiv Smolii, the Governor of the NBU noted that the guarantee of formation of stable financial inclusion consists of three components: availability of financial services, financial literacy and consumer rights protection. «According to the World Bank’s data, 41% of adult population of Ukraine had at least one bank account in 2011. In 2017, this indicator has grown and reached 63%. On a global scale, Ukraine's indicator is average, but it is lower than that in the states of our region», — noted the Governor of the NBU.

To date, such countries as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia have already reached the maximum level of financial inclusion. At the same time, more than 138 million Europeans do not have bank accounts.

Vira Platonova, Country Manager of Mastercard in Ukraine, presented the results of a survey conducted by Mastercard the forum eve among Ukrainian financial market participants — bankers, business representatives and civil servants. 45% of respondents identified the level of financial inclusion in Ukraine as low. «In survey participants’ opinion, the key reasons for this situation and, accordingly, barriers to financial inclusion are insufficient financial literacy, unpreparedness for the new experience, low level of well-being and low level of trust in the financial system as a whole. At the same time, experts see the ways to further financial inclusion development in the integration of services into the city's infrastructure, the expansion of the access to financial services, as well as in the implementation of new financial services», — said Vira Platonova.

Ian Taylor, Vice President, Business Development Europe, Government & Public Sector, Mastercard, mentioned that today 2 billion or 39% of the global population remains outside the financial system. Herewith, high level of financial inclusion contributes to the development of foreign investment in the country, the middle class growth, gender equality, development of tourism, and small and medium-sized businesses. According to Ian Taylor, experience in using services and consumer habit formation are among the key factors for financial inclusion.

Scott Bales, Managing Director of Innovation Labs Asia, an expert on financial inclusion, described how the thorough interest in human needs in the daily use of money becomes a source of important changes and formation of financially included society. For his part, Gabriel Söderberg, Adviser at the Financial Stability Department of Sveriges Riksbank, spoke about the formation of cashless society and financial inclusion of the population in Sweden (the level of financial inclusion is 100%), noting that the path to financial inclusion was a combination of initiatives from both — the state and the private sector. Firat Sabit, Head of Consulting Services, High Growth European Markets, Mastercard, shared with the guests of the forum the experience of the Roadmap to Cashless Azerbaijan project, focusing on how the Azerbaijan shadow market research was conducted and how the strategy of transformation to the non-cash inclusive economy of the country was developed.

Within the panel discussions, successful cases and projects aimed at developing financial inclusion in Ukraine were presented, among them the experience of Ukrzaliznytsia, Vodafone, WOG, Ukrposhta, the Kyiv Metro and other companies.

The speakers focused on digital services and their potential in the formation of financially included society. According to experts, the future of financial services belongs to convenience, simplicity, minimum actions and universality.

At the end of the forum, Oleksandr Yablunivskyi, Director of the NBU Payment Systems and Innovative Development Department, and Dmitry Yablonovskyi, Deputy Executive Director at the Center for Economic Strategy, concluded that in general, business sees business opportunities in financial inclusion, while the state's task is to create appropriate conditions for their comfortable and effective implementation.

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