G20: 1st Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion Meeting

On 24 and 25 March, the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion met under the Italian G20 Presidency. The Partnership was established in 2010 to promote financial inclusion as a means of increasing well-being and achieving sustainable and inclusive growth at global level. During the meeting, which was divided into four sessions, the Group members discussed the GPFI work programme for the upcoming year, based on the priorities established by the Presidency and the commitments in the GPFI's Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP). More specifically, in 2021, the Group will analyse the pandemic's impact on the financial inclusion of the most vulnerable sections of the population and of micro-enterprises, and will identify the action needed to bridge the gaps generated by the crisis to build more equitable and inclusive financial systems. These analyses will be described in five complementary reports for the GPFI prepared by the international organizations participating  in the GPFI (World Bank, IFC-SME Finance Forum and European Investment Bank, OECD) and in a set of ‘best practices’ delivered by the Italian G20 Presidency.

The focus of the meeting was on the best strategies to increase citizens' and businesses'  awareness of digital finance opportunities and of the safeguards aimed at protecting them from the risks of financial exclusion. The institutions of the GPFI were also called upon to monitor the measures that countries have adopted to overcome the emergency and promote more effective financial education activities and more inclusive consumer protection policies.

The meeting also discussed small-and medium-sized enterprises' barriers to accessing finance. SMEs form the backbone of many economies and represent, including the informal sector, about 90 per cent of all the world’s enterprises and about half of the world's employment, and account for between 60 and 70 per cent of global GDP. The pandemic has hit businesses hard. Low levels of financial literacy and limited digital skills may have compromised the resilience of smaller businesses. The Italian G20 Presidency proposed that the GPFI's members carry out surveys to have up-to-date data to increase their knowledge of the existing obstacles and to learn the best practices to overcome them.

The GPFI also addressed the issue of migrants' remittances. In 2016, the G20 Heads of State and Government tasked the GPFI with monitoring countries' progress towards the internationally agreed goal of reducing the average transaction cost of migrant's remittances to below 3 per cent by 2030, compared with the current average global cost of around 7 per cent. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a UN agency, presented its new guidelines that will inspire also a new monitoring report that will be sent to the G20 leaders in October.