BSP, French agency tie up to boost PH financial inclusion
MANILA, Philippines—The central bank has tied up with the official development agency of the French government to boost financial inclusion in the country, especially among rural and women-owned enterprises.
At an online briefing on Thursday (Sept. 16), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said the agency has received a 700,000-euro grant—equivalent to P41 million at the prevailing exchange rate—from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for this undertaking.
“The grant from the French Development Agency is expected to enhance the BSP’s initiatives to empower marginalized sectors in the Philippines by providing them access to financial products and services,” he said.
The grant will fund a technical assistance program to support the BSP’s efforts to tap technology for the effective regulation of digital finance, promote digital financial literacy of rural and women-owned businesses, and contribute to public policy dialogue on agricultural insurance.
The grant for the project supports the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion and, based on the indicative timeline, will start in the last quarter of 2021 and will wrap up in 2026.
The grant also complements the Inclusive Finance Development Program, which AFD has been supporting with the Asian Development Bank through a 100 million euro sovereign policy-based loan to the Philippines.
The Inclusive Finance Development Program funds initiatives of the Philippine government to expand financial services across the country, especially among small entrepreneurs, farmers and fisherfolk, women and other vulnerable sectors.
AFD country director Laurent Klein welcomed the agreement with the BSP as the main supervisor and regulator of the Philippine financial system.
“In line with our organization’s strategic objectives to support financial systems and fight social and economic inequalities, the project that will result from this cooperation will contribute to the country’s efforts to promote access to quality financial services for all, including the most vulnerable part of the population,” he said.
“France welcomes this new milestone in our bilateral relationship with the Philippines,” French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz added. “We are keen to support the government of the Philippines, through AFD, in strategic reforms towards digital transformation and inclusion.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to challenging situations, but also opportunities to leverage on digital technologies to improve financial sector services that would ultimately benefit Filipinos from all walks of life,” Boccoz said.
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