Samoa Launches Second National Financial Inclusion Strategy and Complementary Digital & Financial Literacy Survey Report to Strengthen Inclusive Economic Growth
Samoa takes a significant leap towards a financially and digitally inclusive future with the launch of its second National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS 2) and the first Digital & Financial Literacy Survey (DFLS) Report. The initiatives, unveiled by the Central Bank of Samoa in partnership with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), aim to strengthen financial inclusion, promote digital literacy, and empower citizens and businesses across the nation.
Samoa’s NFIS 2 outlines a comprehensive roadmap, with timelines, and targets to enhance financial inclusion across the country. The overarching goal of the strategy is to increase the number of adults, who were previously excluded, having access to, and using formal financial services by 40,000 by 2025/2026, with at least 50% targeted to be women.
In tandem, the Digital and Financial Literacy Survey Report sheds light on the current state of digital and financial literacy in Samoa to inform targeted interventions that will help improve digital financial competencies. This will ultimately accelerate financial inclusion and inclusive growth.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Samoa, Ms. Maiava Atalina Ainuu Enari, said: “The launch of NFIS 2 and the Digital & Financial Literacy Survey Report represents a significant milestone in Samoa’s journey towards inclusive economic growth and empowerment,”
Recognizing the potential benefits financial inclusion can have on Samoa’s people and economy, the Central Bank of Samoa has diligently championed this agenda. Our shared mission, embodied in the phrase ‘fostering a sound and vibrant financial system for Samoa’s economic development’ has propelled us to develop and refine strategies that align with the needs and aspirations of our nation.”
With a particular focus on vital sectors such as agriculture and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), remittances and digital financial services, the NFIS 2 will focus on activities that provide access to and promote usage of formal financial services by these sectors.
The NFIS 2 will also lay special emphasis on design of products that meet the unique needs of priority segments including women, youth, elderly, micro and small businesses and other vulnerable segments such as those affected by disasters caused by natural hazards, by using technology enabled delivery solutions, and at the same time building their financial competency.
The strategy was endorsed by the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce (NFIT) chaired by the Central Bank of Samoa Governor, Ms Maiava Atalina Ainuu-Enari and consists of representatives from both the public and private sector to drive the implementation of the Strategy. The NFIS is to be implemented by the Taskforce under the guidance of the National Financial Inclusion Council.
While launching the NFIS2 in Apia, the Minister of Finance, Hon Lautimuia Uelese Afoa Vaai, said: “As Samoa continues to thrive and diversify its economy, the need for responsive and responsible financial services becomes increasingly apparent. However, it is equally important for our citizens to embrace their roles as responsible economic actors,”
“I would like to commend the Central Bank of Samoa for their unwavering expertise in developing the NFIS 2, a comprehensive roadmap to achieving financial inclusion in the country and aligning with Samoa’s economic aspirations outline in the Pathway for the Development of Samoa 2021/2022-2025/26 as well as the Finance Sector Plan 2022/2023-2026/2027. I acknowledge and thank the UNCDF for their invaluable support, technical guidance, and partnership throughout this journey.”
The UNCDF Regional Coordinator for the Asia and Pacific Regions, Ms Maria Perdomo, said: ” The UN Capital Development Fund has been privileged to support Samoa in this journey, working hand-in-hand to create a more inclusive financial landscape and the launch of the Digital and Financial Literacy Survey report is yet another testament to our joint efforts,”
“UNCDF is committed to building inclusive digital economies in the Pacific that leave no one behind. This survey report highlights challenges and opportunities to improve digital financial competencies, paving the way for targeted solutions and a more empowered society in Samoa.”
Complementing the NFIS 2, the Digital & Financial Literacy Survey Report provides valuable insights into Samoa’s digital and financial literacy landscape. The survey reveals that while Samoans possess moderate levels of digital and financial literacy, there is substantial room for growth, especially in the uptake of digital financial services (DFS). The report highlights the need for comprehensive digital and financial literacy programs in Samoa, emphasizing the importance of education and awareness to support financial inclusion efforts and bridge the digital divide.
The Digital and Financial Literacy Survey in Samoa is one of seven baseline surveys that were conducted by the UN Capital Development Fund’s Pacific Digital Economy Programme (PDEP) and Digital Finance for Resilience Programme (DFS4Resilience). UNCDF partnered with Tebbutt Research to conduct Digital and Financial Literacy Survey in Samoa and six other Pacific Island countries; Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Timor-Leste; to assess the current state of digital and financial literacy within each country.
The Pacific Digital Economy Programme is jointly administered by the UNCDF, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and receives support from the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the European Union (EU).
UNCDF’s Digital Finance for Resilience Programme receives funding support from the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
OACPS’ Assistant Secretary General, Mr. Junior Lodge, said: “Samoa’s growing availability of digital financial services and emerging digital platforms have the potential to provide unique opportunities for accelerating financial inclusion and inclusive growth, particularly for the underserved. The launch of the NFIS 2 and the Digital and Financial Literacy Survey report are crucial steps towards enhancing financial literacy and digital empowerment, which OACPS proudly supports.”
Acting High Commissioner of Australia to Samoa, Mr. Greg Furness said: “As a proud development partner of Samoa and a strong supporter of UNCDF and the Pacific Digital Economy Programme, the launch of the digital and financial literacy survey in tandem with the second National Financial Inclusion Strategy will enhance Samoa’s state capabilities and to support vulnerable populations to access essential services, and to mitigate and recover from COVID-19’s economic impacts and enhance its resilience to future shocks. These are key priorities of Australia’s development partnership with Samoa.”
The New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency Trevor Matheson, said: “Given New Zealand’s rich ties with Samoa, we are fully committed to supporting Samoa’s development to cultivate an economically resilient, inclusive, and secure Samoa, based on a strong partnership. The two initiatives we celebrate today – through the collaboration between the Central Bank of Samoa and the UNCDF – align perfectly achieving these goals.”
The launch of NFIS 2 and the Digital & Financial Literacy Survey Report marks a pivotal moment in Samoa’s pursuit of inclusive economic growth, digital transformation, and financial empowerment.