By Hossam Mounir
The latest World Bank statistics reveal that two billion people worldwide are outside the banking system, which means that they have no bank accounts.
This is despite the significant progress in strengthening banking services provided to individuals, as well as insurance, stock markets, smaller security markets and the unofficial financial services, according to Mohammed Barakat, Chairman of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB).
The entry of citizens in the official financial sector leads not only to the improvement of their living standards, but also contributes to the safety of states’ financial systems, added Barakat.
“The World Bank research on the global index of mainstream financial services also showed that about 40% of the total adult population in the world is not capable of obtaining official financial services,” said Barakat.
Last week, the UAB ended the International Banking Summit 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. This year, the summit had discussed financial inclusion, which means access to the banking sector for all citizens.
Barakat also confirmed that the Arab region needs to provide financial awareness to more young people and children. It also needs to help them participate in the financial system, and in the identification of the new economy, as these young people are the future of the region and the ones who will be responsible for strengthening the economy in a sustainable way.
He added that this cannot be achieved without the availability of financial education policies and financial inclusion for young people.
This year’s Banking Summit was attended by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; Hungarian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Economics; Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nihad Al-Mashnouq; President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in the Arab countries Adnan Kassar; Chairman of the International Union of Arab Bankers Joseph Tarabay; and the Secretary General of the Union of Arab Banks Wissam Hassan Fattouh.
More than 300 people participated in the summit, including ministers, arbiters of central banks, financial and banking leaders in Hungary, Europe, as well as Arab and international countries. Also, many decision makers and representatives of the public and private sectors from different continents, as well as most of the Arab ambassadors in Hungary and Europe attended the summit.
UAB chose “Financial Inclusion” as the name of this international summit, due to the international attention geared towards it over the past few years, said Barakat.
The main objectives of the Financial Inclusion Summit 2015 are providing, at a reasonable cost, some financial services to all families and companies, including savings, short and long-term loans, leasing, mortgages, insurance, salaries, payment, as well as local and international remittances.