Conference of the OAS Inter-American Social Protection Network Highlights the Importance of Financial Inclusion Efforts in Regional Economic Growth
The Conference "Partnerships for Financial Inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Catalyst for Inclusive Growth" of the Inter-American Social Protection Network of the Organization of American States (OAS/IASPN) was inaugurated today in the city of New York with the participation of ministers and senior representatives of governments and the private sector from more than 25 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The opening ceremony included a presentation by the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, who discussed the importance of positioning the issue of inclusion at the center of all efforts to achieve sustained economic growth. Ambassador Ramdin stressed that "for too long, too many of our people have been surviving or subsisting on the fringes of opportunity and too many of our people have missed the chance for a better life because of a lack of knowledge." In this context, he stressed that public and financial institutions have a role in addressing this challenge. "For development to be sustainable, it must be supported by cooperation, partnerships and effective, understandable and transparent policies," he said and commented that effective financial inclusion "has the potential to alleviate poverty and inequity when supported by sound planning.” “The issue is not just about providing access to financial resources, but knowing how to manage them and make the best use of the new opportunities offered,” he said.
Ambassador Ramdin also spoke of the importance of strengthening the role of the private sector in development and the need to promote public-private cooperation. "A wide access to financial services, products and asset building tools has the real potential to trigger the much needed social change to support more equality in the Americas; stakeholders must understand the social impact of financial inclusion can benefit us all; this issue is not only as a matter of sound public policy, but a wise investment in the future of our societies,” he said.
For her part, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States, Roberta Jacobson, addressed the issue of financial inclusion as "fundamental to a healthy and vibrant democracy." "Citizens must be as much a part of the financial system as they are of the political system, and that means that they are not only politically astute, but they are financially literate as well," said Jacobson, noting statistics indicating that today, over 1 billion women around the world don't have access to basic financial tools. "To grow our economies, achieve adequate social safety nets, and strengthen our democracies, we must make our financial systems more inclusive and receptive to the needs of all the people in the region," she concluded.