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Masisi Officially Opens Banking And Wealth EXPO

-          Incoming President stresses financial inclusion

Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi stressed the importance of financial inclusion for all communities at the opening of the inaugural Banking and Wealth Expo, held under theme: “Bridging the Inclusion Gap through Financial Literacy,”held at Ditshupo Hall at Fairgrounds business precinct.

“It is commendable that the Bankers Association saw it fit to create this forum for broad-based policy dialogue, education and empowerment on Financial Inclusion. By showcasing the various financial products and services that are available in the market, including to the financially vulnerable, the various exhibitors from the financial services industry will be promoting financial inclusion through financial literacy,” said Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana, MP for Moshupa-Manyana.

He said, “It is therefore heartening that the Expo has attracted the active participation of Policymakers and Regulators to deliberate the policy framework and direction and, on the other hand, receive feedback from stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. 

The Expo attracted over forty (40) exhibitors, including one (1) international exhibitor, as well as resource persons from Botswana, South Africa and the United States of America.   

 

As reflected under this pillar, Botswana has exhibited a strong, resilient and fast-growing financial and business services sector that is underpinned by a robust legal and regulatory framework.

“However, to move forward, Botswana will have to utilize its developed financial services capability to fund investment opportunities and generate wealth through the export of financial services.  To become competitive internationally, it would require concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address issues of access to finance, and financial services, among others,” said Masisi.

More importantly, a need was expressed to address issues of financial inclusion by concentrating on financial literacy and empowerment. The Bankers’ Association of Botswana sponsored a national survey on financial access and literacy in 2014.

The survey revealed that 50% of the adult population of Botswana uses banks, 18% exclusively utilize non-bank products such as retirement and insurance products, while 8% use informal financial products like Metshelo and Burial Societies.

Hence, the development of the first Financial Sector Development Strategy in 1989 and the subsequent one in 2012, underscores financial inclusion as an important tool for development in Botswana.  To implement the strategy, Government drafted the Financial Inclusion Roadmap which runs from 2015 to 2021. 

The Roadmap highlights five priority areas, namely:

o   Improvement of payments eco-system;

o   Facilitation of low cost accessible savings products;

o   Development of accessible insurance products;

o   Improvement of the credit market; and

o   Consumer empowerment and protection.

“This Expo is a culmination of a long standing and fruitful collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and all the companies in the financial services industry (the financial private sector),” saidSteven Lefentse Bogatsu, Chief Executive Officer of First National Bank Botswana and Chairman of the Bankers Association of Botswana.

He said, “It represents a synthesis of ideas and engagements that have emerged from the findings of a 2014 BAB-sponsored survey on financial inclusion and access."

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