Part #1 – Learning from Peers to Better Protect DFS Consumers
Blog #1 – Bridging borders: the power of peer learning and exchanges
The UNCDF teams from Tanzania and Ethiopia recently organized a peer learning visit with the Bank of Tanzania (BOT) and the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in the Philippines.
This two-part blog series, highlights some of the learnings. A visit to BSP offered a valuable opportunity for knowledge exchange and collaboration on financial consumer protection, market conduct supervision and the use of supervisory technology (suptech). The National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shared similar interests in a peer learning visit to BSP, demonstrating a shared desire to enhance their market conduct supervision capabilities, despite having already initiated such practices. The alignment of interests led to a combined learning visit by BOT, NBE, and NBR, even though CBN ultimately couldn’t participate. The visit by BOT was supported by the European Union under the Digital for Tanzania (D4T) project and NBE’s participation was under the DFS for Resilience project supported by the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.
The primary objectives of this peer learning visit were threefold. Firstly, participants aimed to gain insights into digital transformation in financial oversight, with a particular focus on BSP and NBR, which serve as exemplary models for leveraging technology for supervisory purposes. Their use of Application Programming Interface (API) systems for regulatory reporting and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based complaint handling systems are solid models for countries like Tanzania and Ethiopia. While BOT is in the process of implementing supervisory technology (suptech) projects and NBE is considering the adoption of suptech initiatives, the experiences and insights shared by BSP and NBR proved immensely valuable, especially in dealing with nuanced situations.
Secondly, the participants aimed to share their experiences regarding market conduct supervisory techniques suitable for the evolving financial landscape. While NBE has taken initial steps towards financial consumer protection by issuing directives, BOT is making strides in market conduct and financial literacy with a dedicated team that is in the process of developing a market conduct framework. Learning from peers, such as the BSP, which is also developing its market conduct framework, proved highly beneficial. Additionally, all participants gained insights into market conduct supervision approaches and perspectives through a presentation from CGAP, which collaborated with UNCDF to share experiences from other countries, highlight best practices, and introduce participants to market monitoring tools for financial consumer protection.
Lastly, the interactions during the visit went beyond exchanging tools and practices; they also provided a unique opportunity to delve into the legal and regulatory structures underpinning financial consumer protection and market conduct. These aspects were central to the overarching theme of the study visit, emphasizing the importance of understanding the legal framework that supports these critical areas.
A key takeaway from the visit was the cascading impact of shared knowledge. For instance, NBR’s presentation on their transparent pricing web comparator tool, GERERANYA, suggested a strategy that could benefit not only the Philippines but also Tanzania and Ethiopia as they advance their financial consumer protection initiatives. Similarly, BSP’s push for a more digital Philippines, especially with their standardized QR payment system, QRPh, could offer a blueprint for countries like Tanzania, particularly with the introduction of the Tanzania QR Code (TANQR) Standard.
Moreover, this peer learning approach extended beyond formal discussions. Shared meals, cultural experiences, and casual interactions were pivotal in building a sense of community among the participants. The daily recaps and the final action plans emerged as essential mutual accountability tools, ensuring that the committed actions would be implemented. Participants also found reassurance in the knowledge that they have a supportive community to rely on whenever they face challenges while putting into action the ideas they have acquired. This emerging network offers encouragement and support, motivating each other to pursue established goals with confidence.
Reflecting on this experience, the power of capacity building through peer learning becomes evident. It transcends mere knowledge transfer; it is about forging partnerships, gaining insight into varied viewpoints, and working toward a common goal. Challenges that were successfully addressed by one country can provide valuable solutions for another, resulting in resource and time savings. Despite their unique contexts, these countries share common aspirations, specifically, enhancing financial inclusion in an environment where customers feel protected and trust using various financial products and services for their financial well-being.
The peer learning visit went far beyond a simple exchange of ideas; it marked the beginning of collaborative growth and effective problem-solving. It left participants with a strong sense of hope and appreciation. The shared experiences from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Philippines underscore the transformative potential of peer learning. Therefore, as countries grapple with the complexities of financial supervision, such peer learning and exchanges remind us that, although challenges are inevitable, collaborative efforts can ease the journey. The visit to BSP in the Philippines serves as a compelling testament to the efficacy of peer learning.
Read Blog#2 – Suptech, consumer protection, and data: central banks shaping the future