United Nation Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), in collaboration with the European Union (EU), yesterday organized a day forum on financial inclusion to make public and private finance work for 47 least developed countries in the world.
Ms. Assata De, UN resident coordinator said the risk of exclusion is well known to all, saying continued exclusion of youth from the labor market is likely to reinforce the cycle of poverty and ultimately become a risk for social cohesion and stability in fragile states.
She said financial exclusion requires urgent action by government's legal and regulatory reforms to improve access and supply to financial services, in which incentives are required for formal banking systems to do business.
"Whereas they witness a good growth in financial inclusion in The Gambia, the rate of households that are able to deposit savings in the formal banking systems remain low as the rates of borrowing from formal financial services provider."
Stophane Meert, head of the European Union cooperation said the EU in the formulation and implementation of the development support projects, considers it essential to address the root cause of youth and women vulnerabilities to countries not only an essential weight in the socio-economic fabric of African countries but also to hold a significant potential for development and sustainable growth of the continent.
He said through their programmers in all African countries, their presence in the EU promotes activities that bring together education, job creation, vocational training, entrepreneurship and financial inclusion projects for population and businesses. He said this is an alliance that focuses on topics including boosting strategic investment and straightening the role of the private sector to create jobs and to invest in people by investing in education and skills.
"EU remains particularly committed to ensure that they support projects and use approaches that build on successful past experiences and allow as far as possible, synergy and harmonization of both operational processes and methodological approaches particularly on the matter of financial inclusion," he said, adding that although the realities are plural and specific to each country, it remains very important to build and popularize an understanding of the issues including the challenges faced by different demographics.
"It is with this in mind that EU wish to gather all its implementing partners in the sub-region to work on these various topics, participate in this three-day workshop in the Gambia and exchange good practices on the projects, under the leadership of the United Nations Capital Development Fund UNCDF."
Bai Senghor, representative of the Central Bank of the Gambia said they are in the process to build strategy for women and youth to have financial innovation and to achieve gender equality to empower women and girls.