The workshop was hosted by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA). The objective of the workshop was to review and discuss the policy, regulatory, commercial and operational issues to be considered in developing the SADC Postal operators as mechanisms for promoting financial inclusion in the Member States.
There were a total of 42 participants, comprised of CRASA’s National Regulatory Authority members, together with representatives of postal operators, the SADC postal operators’ association, SAPOA, a number of national financial regulators /central banks, and other stakeholders, including the Universal Postal Union(UPU) Regional Projects representative and interested ICT service-providers.
Financial inclusion is the situation that prevails when those segments of a nation’s population, who are neither holders of bank accounts nor have easy access to a range of personal financial services, are enabled to have access to financial services on a similar basis to those people who have bank accounts or much easier access to banking and financial service.
The workshop was conducted by a consultant team as part of their ingoing CRASA-sponsored assignment. The assignment objectives are to review the postal financial inclusion environment and develop a policy and regulatory framework that would enable those SADC Postal Operators who wished to implement new, or further develop existing, financial products and services to do so within a harmonised framework of policy and regulations.
Participants positively engaged with the consultants on all aspects of possible policy and regulatory issues and, as a result, there was a consensus that Postal Operators have a potentially significant role in extending financial inclusion to the large numbers of unbanked people, those who are under-served in the area of financial services. There is clearly a need for the matter of Postal operators providing financial services to be included within national financial inclusion policies. It is also important to ensure there is an effective regulatory network that will support Postal operators’ operations in this area. There was agreement that financial services and communications regulators should work together to develop an appropriate regulatory framework.
The consultants facilitated sessions that enabled participants to put forward their views on the policy and regulatory issues to be considered in relations to postal financial inclusion activities. A template will be developed for further consideration by CRASA Members and discussion by them with financial services regulators and other interested stakeholders. Submissions will be made to the relevant SADC Ministerial meetings once further dialogue has taken place and a detailed position established.
31 August 2016
Picture source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_African_Development_Community#/media/File:Flag_of_SADC.svg