Hopes to ad­dress low mo­bile money ser­vices us­age through ex­pert as­sis­tance

Fiji Sun - - Business - ARISHMA DEVI-NARAYAN EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL Feed­back: arishma.narayan@fi­jisun.com.fj

De­spite the high num­ber of peo­ple who have signed up for mo­bile money ser­vices in Fiji, the ac­tual us­age is still quite low. Re­serve Bank of Fiji Gover­nor, Barry Whiteside, said a large num­ber of peo­ple have signed up with both mo­bile op­er­a­tors how­ever, only three per cent of those reg­is­tered are us­ing the ser­vices. There­fore, Mr Whiteside said they hope to find out from ex­perts how to in­crease this num­ber dur­ing the Global Pol­icy Fo­rum which be­gins to­day on Denarau Is­land.

“We want to find out from the ex­perts who have done this many times how they have done this,” he said. “How they have got peo­ple who have signed up to use the phone to make trans­fers etc. That is just one ex­am­ple.”

He added it is huge to get all these peo­ple from across the world to share their suc­cess and learn about their chal­lenges.

Al­liance for Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Al­fred Han­nig, said dig­i­tal and tech­no­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion was an in­creas­ing is­sue for AFI. “Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy has had a big im­pact on fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion but those of us who think we have reached the end of the learn­ing curve will be dis­ap­pointed,” he said. “We are just start­ing.” Mr Han­nig pointed out eight years ago, when they started, they were look­ing at coun­tries like Kenya and Philip­pines to be the big lead­ers in terms of driv­ing fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion through the mo­bile phones. “At that time we were us­ing our mo­bile phones to make small trans­ac­tions and trans­fers. Now we are talk­ing about smart­phone apps and more peo­ple get ac­cess, even peo­ple liv­ing in poverty,” he said. Now, Mr Han­nig added they have smart­phones which are much cheaper and more peo­ple were get­ting ac­cess to it. “On the other end the ques­tion is how do reg­u­la­tors re­spond to this and make fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions safe and sound in way that we en­sure in­tegrity and sta­bil­ity of the sys­tem,” he said.

“This is what the al­liance is go­ing to dis­cuss – how do we deal with the tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions that al­low us to drive fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion but at the same time keep the risks in check.

“This is so fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion can be done in a way that reg­u­la­tors and fi­nan­cial su­per­vi­sors can mon­i­tor what is go­ing on.”

Photo: CHARLES CHAM­BERS

Tan­za­nia Bank Of­fi­cials Nangi Mas­sawe and Ber­nad Jadi at the an­nual meet­ing of Al­liance for Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion at the Sher­a­ton Fiji Re­sort on Denarau Is­land yes­ter­day.

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