The second annual GPFI Forum and first GPFI Plenary Meeting were held in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 28-29. Hosted by the National Treasury of South Africa, the GPFI Forum was attended by financial inclusion policy makers and regulators from across the globe, representatives of the G-20 countries, and the GPFI's Implementing Partners. The Forum was opened with the keynote speeches of Nhlanhla Nene, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Republic of South Africa and Juan Manuel Valle, Head of the Banking, Securities and Savings Department at the Ministry of Finance, Mexico.
The GPFI Forum took place immediately following the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Global Policy Forum . (A webcast of the opening of the GPFI Forum is available via the AFI livestream website )
Sessions focused on engaging standard-setting bodies; peer learning for national financial inclusion strategies; and data for financial inclusion indicators.
The first session "Financial Inclusion: Pathway to Stability?" explored the relationship between the objective of financial inclusion and three other important policy objectives: financial stability, financial integrity and financial consumer protection. Based on results of research commissioned by the U.K. Department for International Development and carried out on behalf of CGAP in South Africa, it was shown that financial stability and inclusion are potentially complementary policy objectives, as are financial integrity and financial consumer protection. A methodology was introduced for optimizing the linkages among the four policy objectives, maximizing synergies and minimizing unnecessary tradeoffs. It was highlighted that coordination is a key to effective policy implementation across all four policy objectives.
The second session discussed "Implementing the G-20 Financial Inclusion Peer Learning Program." The program, launched by G-20 Leaders at their Summit in Los Cabos in June , consists of 17 countries committing to develop national financial inclusion strategies and national coordination mechanisms. Three of the countries taking part in the program – Colombia, Nigeria, and Indonesia – discussed how to give practical effect to the program in debate with the Implementing Partners of the GPFI – AFI, CGAP, IFC and the World Bank. The importance of being precise on the program's objectives and the role each partner can play was stressed. The World Bank set out a new "support framework" that will be available to countries taking part in the Program.
Finally, the third session "G-20 Basic Set of Financial Inclusion Indicators" provided participants with an overview of the Basic Set adopted by the G-20 Leaders at the Los Cabos Summit in recognition of the critical role of accurate data to inform policymaking.
The GPFI Forum wrapped up with a report on the launch of the Better than Cash Alliance (BTCA) earlier in the week. The BTCA will work to promote the switch from cash to digital payments in order to achieve greater financial inclusion worldwide.
The GPFI Plenary Meeting took place on September 29. The closed-door meeting was attended by delegations from 22 countries, including 17 G-20 country delegations and 5 invited non-G-20 affiliated partners of the GPFI (Chile, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, and Philippines), together with the GPFI Implementing Partners. Participants had the opportunity to hear from the Russian Co-Chair of the upcoming priorities of the Russian presidency in 2013, in particular the desire for the G-20 to address the nexus of financial inclusion, financial education, and financial consumer protection. The Sub-Groups of the GPFI also met to review and discuss their forward work plans, and terms of reference and governance procedures of the GPFI were discussed among all participants.