SADC Financial Inclusion Indaba for Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation

Johannesburg, 20 July 2015. FinMark Trust, in partnership with the SADC Secretariat, South African National Treasury and the SADC Banking Association, will host an SADC Financial Inclusion Indaba from 23-24 July 2015, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The overall aim of the Indaba is to promote financial inclusion in the SADC region for the purpose of inclusive economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Enhancing financial inclusion with a view to improving the lives of the people is at the heart of the SADC’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). The RISDP is the region’s development and implementation framework that guides the integration agenda, with a view to accelerating poverty eradication and attaining economic and non-economic development goals.

Considering that financial inclusion is a key enabler in the fight against poverty and inequality in the region, the Indaba is intended to bring together public and private sector stakeholders in the region to share and develop successful approaches to increasing financial inclusion. In attendance will be representatives from 13 countries in the SADC region (Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) from both the private and public sectors, together with participants from donor organisations, civil society institutions and regulatory bodies.

The Indaba will provide a platform to take stock of the various policy initiatives at country level to promote financial inclusion and to assess the impact on the livelihoods of the most vulnerable sections of the population. It will also draw on the experience of South Africa, which has focussed on increasing financial inclusion over the last decade, with resultant successes and unintended consequences.

The key objectives of the Indaba are:

  • To raise the profile of financial inclusion, both at country and regional level, with emphasis on areas such as women and youth financial inclusion, agricultural finance for smallholder and small-scale farmers, rural access to financial services and small-and medium-enterprises access to financial services;
  • To encourage and enable public and private sector stakeholders in the region’s financial services sector to interact and exchange approaches and experiences on financial inclusion, thereby deepening capacity across the region to understand and implement effective financial inclusion programmes;
  • To discuss the need for on-going engagements on financial inclusion in the SADC region.
  • Although country-based financial inclusion policy and interventions are necessary, given country-specific environmental, infrastructural and legal environments, there is indeed a need for a regional platform for the exchange of ideas, learning from the approaches of member countries and for identifying common issues. The Indaba presents such a platform and will further consider approaches for continuing engagement on the promotion of financial inclusion.