The project will support the Central Banks of Jordan and Morocco in the development of regulations aiming to expand access to financial services across the population in the Mediterranean region through the development of innovative retail payment solutions such as mobile financial services.
Access to quality financial services — including means of payments, savings, credit, insurance and money transfer systems — is crucial for households to smooth consumption, manage risks, invest productively and respond to financial shocks. Financial inclusion can also support the social inclusion of most vulnerable sectors of the population, thus leading to more social stability. There is also ample evidence of how financial inclusion projects of different types can, if properly designed and implemented, enhance women’s economic empowerment. Financial inclusion projects can therefore help to achieve objectives on both gender equality and poverty reduction, while promoting inclusive development and job creation.
In this context, the project “Promoting Financial Inclusion via Mobile Financial Services in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries”, which will be implemented by the European Investment Bank, will support expanded access to financial services across the population in Jordan and Morocco through the development of innovative retail payment solutions such as mobile financial services.
By extending the availability of reliable payment services, users (often low-income individuals) without access to traditional financial services can be encouraged to join the financial system. This can directly improve the lives of these people by offering them options beyond a cash-only system. This will also contribute to the development of the economy by increasing the amount of transactions carried out through formal channels and also by providing opportunities for innovative new products to develop. The project will thus enhance competitiveness and integration, facilitating trade and private sector development.
This objective will be achieved through a comprehensive package of technical assistance and capacity building actions, adapted to the specificities of each country. In support of the regional dimension of the project, the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, acting as a dialogue platform, will organise workshops involving stakeholders and consumer protection organisations with the aim to promote the development of regional partnerships and to share best practices among the countries participating in this programme.
About the promoter and partner institutions
The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) is the regulator and supervisor of financial institutions in Jordan. The responsibilities of the CBJ also include establishing and monitoring the credit bureau and ensuring the security of payment systems. The CBJ began looking at the issue of mobile payments in 2010 and mobile payments are now a priority in the context of the development of a retail payment switch. As a result, the CBJ has embarked on a comprehensive reform process to enhance safety and efficiency of payment systems, increase access to financial services and to establish the oversight function over payments and securities settlement systems.
Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) is Morocco’s Central Bank and the prudential regulator and supervisor of financial institutions. Among the BAM’s responsibilities is the task of monitoring and ensuring the security of payment systems and related standards. The BAM also advises the government on financial issues. Both the Central Bank and the Moroccan Ministry of the Economy and Finance have identified financial inclusion as one of their primary policy goals, having set the objective for the Moroccan population’s access to banking at 66% by 2014.