I was fortunate to be part of one of the most important and comprehensive forum for regulatory institutions with an interest in the promotion of financial inclusion policy worldwide. Co-hosted this year by the Central Bank of Egypt and held at the beautiful city of Sharm El Sheikh, the 2017 Alliance for Financial Inclusion Global Policy focused on “Exploring Diversity, Promoting Inclusion.”
To our good luck, His Excellency, the Egyptian President Mr. Abdel Fattah El Sisi, decided to attend the first session in which I shared Mastercard’s vision and strategy on supporting the governments to drive financial inclusion. He showed interest when I addressed the importance of public-private-partnerships and leveraging on our technologies to address governments’ needs.
The highlight of the session, which was captured on live TV, was the President’s amusement by my comment and experience as a tourist at the great pyramids of Giza. The camel owner and his request to take a ride, represent a real-life experience of tapping into a potential segment. Like many others, he is a prospective customer with no or limited access to financial products. Our researches and tailored technologies are what makes a difference and enable us to address the needs of such Small and Medium Enterprises.
I was also given the opportunity to highlight our work and achievements in other markets. Based on our experience, overcoming the challenges of economic inefficiencies, lack of transparency and shadow economies is achievable through electronic payments and innovative solutions. As a result, Mastercard has encouraged more and more establishments, both private and governmental to migrate from cash to electronic payments. But as financial literacy is still very much present in Egypt and around the globe, we will continue working closely with our renowned partners to further drive financial inclusion, enable digital economy and spur innovation.
The panel also brought together international and regional experts discussing perspectives of balancing formal and informal sectors, showing different approaches and shared views on key policies and regulatory lessons.