World Bank Group helps Tajikistan to improve access to financial services

DUSHANBE (TCA) — The World Bank Group is helping Tajikistan develop a national strategy that will make it easier for individuals and smaller businesses to access financial services, part of a larger effort to create jobs and stoke economic growth in the country, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) said.

Over the course of the next year, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide technical assistance to the National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT), helping it carry out an extensive, evidence-based consultation process that will result in a national financial inclusion strategy. The process will include discussions with the National Bank, ministries, governmental bodies, businesses, academics, and civil society organizations. In Tajikistan, where just 47 percent of adults have an account at a formal financial institution, expanding access to credit, savings accounts, and other financial services is considered key.

“You cannot have economic development without a sound, inclusive financial system,” said Jamshed Nurmahmadzoda, Chairman of the National Bank of Tajikistan. “By developing a national financial inclusion strategy, we can improve the access to quality and innovative financial services that meets the specific needs of residents and businesses. In the long run this will help create economic opportunities and support growth.”

The consultation process, officially launched on October 1 during a ceremony in Dushanbe, is part of a larger push by IFC to support the development of the private sector in Tajikistan.

“Limited financial inclusion is a constraint for any country to achieve its economic objectives,” said Sakshi Varma, IFC Senior Financial Sector Specialist. “A financial inclusion strategy allows a country to focus on these constraints, not only addressing access but also concentrating on usage and quality. This enables users to become part of the mainstream economy.”

Tajikistan is one of 60 countries that have either launched or are developing a national strategy for financial inclusion. IFC’s Central Asia Financial Inclusion Project will be supporting the strategy in partnership with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO).

“People’s increased access and use of financial services is key to economic and social development,” said Corrine Demenge, Deputy Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Tajikistan. “At the same time, the process of financial inclusion must go hand in hand with a strong and sound financial sector. Therefore, the Central Asia Financial Inclusion Program will support the dialogue between all concerned stakeholders to define the objectives and priorities of the new National Financial Inclusion Strategy.”

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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