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Financial education in the Arab World: Strategies, Implementation and Impact
October 20-21, 2016Rabat, Morocco

This conference will bring together practitioners, researchers, and high-level government authorities to share emerging best practices on developing financially capable communities in the Arab region.

Historically, financial inclusion in the Arab region has been low compared to other regions. According to the 2014 Global Findex Database account penetration stands at 29% across the region, well below the 69% observed in East Asia and Pacific. When excluding GCC countries, the outreach of formal financial services in the region stands at 21%, the lowest worldwide. Women are particularly financially excluded with account penetration standing at 24.5%, lagging behind the OECD as well as other non-OECD high-income countries.

Similarly to account ownership, the Arab world lags behind other regions in terms of access to credit from formal financial institutions. With only 6% of adults reporting borrowing from a formal financial institution, credit outreach in the region (when excluding GCC countries) is less than half of most other developing regions globally. Furthermore, although small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) represent 80% of businesses in the region, only one in five has a loan or line of credit. The available financing options for SMEs are almost in working capital forms, as long term funding for SMEs remains insignificant. Moreover, the SME financing gap in the region is the largest across the world. An estimated ~360% increase of credit is required to close the financing gap across MENA, as opposed to 7-8% in East Asia and the Pacific.

Available figures suggest that there is great potential to expand financial inclusion in the Arab world. The low levels of financial inclusion in the region are the result of unserved demand as the population resorts to informal financial management tools as an alternative to inexistent or poorly developed formal financial services.

Responding to this challenge, policymakers across the region have begun prioritizing financial inclusion through, inter alia, developing national strategies, creating incentives for financial service providers to downscale, developing new financing mechanisms, and improving regulatory and supervisory frameworks underpinning inclusive finance.

In this context, financial consumer protection and financial education have become a topic of interest to both policymakers and financial services providers. In recent years, the Arab region has seen a variety of programs launched by financial service providers, public authorities, and non-governmental organizations aimed at enhancing financial education of low-income consumers. Yet, little knowledge has been shared across the region regarding the efficiency or impact of such programs in fostering improved financial behavior, in better protecting clients, or in increasing usage of formal financial services. Similarly, programs are often piloted in isolation of each other, with little cross-country knowledge sharing to highlight best practices and to leverage existing resources.

This conference will bring together practitioners, researchers, and high-level government authorities to share emerging best practices on developing financially capable communities in the Arab region. The event will present recent empirical evidence on financial education, share best practices of country-level programs, and discuss broader linkages between financial education and economic inclusiveness and development. Emphasis will be placed on assessing efficiency and impact of financial education programs and on ways to develop a regional framework for practical action moving forward.

Conference Organizers:

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Sponsoring Partners:

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Arab Monetary Fund

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Day 1 | 20 October 2016 | 9.00 – 18.00

Master of Ceremony: Mr. Habib Attia, Financial Sector Specialist, Arab Monetary Fund; Mr. Peter McConaghy, Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank  

TIME

TOPICS

08.00 - 09.00

REGISTRATION AND NETWORKING COFFEE

09.00 - 10.00

OPENING REMARKS & INTRODUCTION

  • Mr. Abdellatif Jouahri, Governor of Bank Al-Maghrib and President of FMEF
  • Mr. Abdulrahman A. Al Hamidy, Director General Chairman of the Board, AMF
  • Mr. Rachid Benmokhtar, Minister of National Education and Professional  Training
  • Mrs. Fatima Marouan,  Minister of Handicraft and Social and Solidarity-Based Economy

10.00 - 10:20

KEYNOTE SPEECH

Setting the scene: Introductory speech on financial education in the Arab World

  • Mr. Alfred Hannig, Executive Director, Alliance for Financial Inclusion

10.20 - 10.40

COFFEE BREAK

10.45 - 11.45

PLENARY SESSION I: THE THREE PILLARS OF FINANCIAL INCLUSION

The objective of this session is to provide an analytical framework on the importance of financial inclusion to broader economic development goals in the MENA region. The session will serve as an opportunity for participants to gain a common understanding of the theory and empirical evidence surrounding inclusive finance in the MENA region. The session will also present recent data and trends in financial inclusion in the MENA region. Specific reference will be placed on the linkages to financial inclusion and employment, income generation, poverty reduction, and transversal linkages to productive investment outcomes including health and education. The panel will also introduce the role of financial education, consumer protection, and industry standards as key pillar of promoting inclusive finance in the region.

Speakers:

ModeratorPeter McConaghy, Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank

11.45 - 12.45

PLENARY SESSION II: BOTTOM UP AND TOP DOWN: HOW TO ADDRESS FINANCIAL EDUCATION IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY

Governments and public authorities in the MENA region willing to implement financial education policies however face a series of challenges. Against this background, the establishment of coordinated and tailored strategies at national level is among the most promising means to efficiently meet the financial literacy needs of the population and co-opt interested stakeholders while avoiding duplication of resources and efforts.

The panel discussion intends to:

  • Provide an overview of financial education policies, national strategies and main challenges in the Arab world and globally based on existing evidence
  • Discuss the role of different stakeholders and how to promote cooperation and identify common objectives
  • Present and discuss available policy tools, and research that can support governments and public authorities in the region in the design and implementation of these initiatives.

Speakers:

Moderator: Andrea Grifoni, Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Trends in the Implementation of National Strategies for Financial Education

12.45 - 14.30

LUNCH

14.30 - 14.45

INTRODUCTION TO THE BREAKOUT SESSIONS

14.45 - 16.15

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

14.45-15.25

Digital Savings and Payments 
to Achieve Full Financial Inclusion in the Arab World

Financial Capability of MSE to Leverage Growth and Development

Solveig Wanczeck, GIZ Germany: Digital Financial Education / Mobile Insurance
Aiaze Mitha, Tiaxa: Mobile Financial Services: a platform for greater financial inclusion
Peter McConaghy, World Bank:  FinTech and Financial Inclusion

Moderator: Hicham Bayali, Independent Senior Consultant 

Habib Attia, AMF: Financial Literacy as new frontier for SMEs in the Arab Region
Richard Lavalée, ILO: Financial Capability of MSME to Leverage Growth and Development
Hayder Al-Baghdadi, GIZ Egypt
Badie El Hirache, Al Amana: Presentation
Ibtissam El Anzaoui, Bank Al-Maghrib: Financial Education for MSMEs - the Moroccan Story

Moderator: Habib Attia, AMF

15.35-16.15

Financial Education for Inclusion of Women and Youth

Financial Inclusion, Education, and Migration

Nomsa Daniels, NFNV: Gender Financial Education
Wessel van Kampen, CYFI: Child & Youth Finance International
Najib Choukair, Central Bank of Lebanon: Presentation (Arabic)
Andrea Grifoni, Policy Analyst, OECD: Financial Education for Youth: Empowering Youth Through Schools

Moderator: Yisr Barnieh, AMF

Daniel Balson, Accion: Education and Migration
Abderrahim Amraoui, ILO Morocco: Importance de l’Education Financière dans l’intégration socio-économique des Migrant-es 
Onike Shorunkeh-Sawyerr, GIZ Germany: Improving Access to Remittances and Other Financial Services through Digital Solutions in Jordan

Moderator: Franziska Vilmar, GIZ Maroc

16:15 - 16:45

COFFEE BREAK

16:45 - 17:15

PLENARY SESSION III:

  • Reporting back from the market place

Moderator: Habib Attia, Financial Sector Specialist, Arab Monetary Fund

17:15 - 18:00

WRAP UP OF DAY 1

  • Habib Attia, Financial Sector Specialist, Arab Monetary Fund
  • Ibtissam El Anzaoui, Head of  Financial Inclusion unit, BAM
  • Peter McConaghy, Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank 

19.30 - 22:00

COCKTAIL/DINNER – CONFERENCE CENTER – AMPHITRITE HOTEL – SKHIRAT

Day 2 | 21 October 2016 | 9.00 – 12.30

TIME TOPICS
08.30 - 09.00 NETWORKING RECEPTION COFFEE
09.00 - 09:20

OPENING DAY 2: BRIEF RECAP OF THE 1ST DAY AND PROGRAM REMINDER

  • Habib Attia, Financial Sector Specialist, Arab Monetary Fund
  • Peter McConaghy, Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank
09:20 - 10:35

PLENARY SESSION IV: EVIDENCE FROM FINANCIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN MOROCCO

This session will highlight the Moroccan experience with reference to the approach and programs adopted as well as sharing some lessons learned. The session intends to present:

  1. Prerequisites and keys to success of a national financial literacy strategy
  2. Focus on best practices
  3. Major financial literacy programs
  4. Potential impact on the financial capability driven by financial education on the targeted population.

Speakers:

Moderator: Nezha Saadani, Executive Director, National Foundation for Financial Education

10:35 - 11.00 COFFEE BREAK
11.00 - 12.00

PLENARY SESSION V: FINANCIAL CONSUMER PROTECTION – WHAT ARE THE ROLES OF REGULATORS AND INDUSTRY?

The objectives of this session are to present principles of a robust consumer protection framework and highlight country-level examples operationalizing this framework, particularly as it pertains to countries across the Middle East and North Africa Region. Key pillars of a robust consumer protection framework will be discussed, including institutional arrangements and coordination, supervisory approaches, and various supervisory tools and techniques. The role of financial capability as part of a robust consumer protection framework will be discussed. Specific country case studies will be highlighted to demonstrate practical application of consumer protection regimes. The session will also present various international platforms to advance consumer protection policy, including the G20 high-level principles on financial consumer protection developed in conjunction with the OECD.

Speakers:

  • Mary Chaffin, Volunteer and Retired General Counsel, Accion
  • Lhassane Benhalima, Financial Supervision Department, Bank Al-Maghrib
  • Moderator: Alaa Abbassi, Senior Technical Advisor (Consultant), CGAP
12:00 - 12:30

CLOSING SESSION AND NEXT STEPS

  • Yisr Barnieh, Chief of Financial Market Division, Arab Monetary Fund
  • Philippe de Meneval, Program Leader, Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions, World Bank
  • Petra Müller-Glodde, Head of Sustainable Economic Development, GIZ Morocco
14.00 - 15:00 LUNCH

 

Location & Accommodation
  • International Conference Center Amphitrite Palace

    Location
    SKHIRAT PLAGE MOROCCO TEL: +212 537 621 000
  • L'amphitrite Palace Resort & Spa Skhirat

    Accommodation
  • Hotel booking:

    Mrs. Hind Harmouch
    Reservation agent +212 537 621 000
  • Airport pickup booking*:

    Mr. Mohammed Bounane
    Logistics +212 661 593 177
  • Contact persons (Bank Al-Maghrib):

  • Mr. Abdouahed Rhiat

    Head of the Protocol and Events Unit
    +212 666 206 856
  • Mrs. Ghita Faddi

    In charge of the Protocol and Events
    +212 666 206 875
  • Useful Information:

    Mostly sunny. Average temperature between 14C ° and 24C. GMT+1. The exchange rate of the dirham is around: 10,9dhs per € ; 9,8dhs per $
  • * Flight itinerary must be communicated to the Hotel as early as possible in order to ensure proper arrangements
Financial education in the Arab World
  • Date: October 20-21, 2016
  • Location: Amphitrite Hotel in Shirat, Rabat, Morocco