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Maldives has reached milestone in financial inclusion: Governor of MMA

Ahmed Aiham
17 November 2018, MVT 10:50
Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
17 November 2018, MVT 10:50

Governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority, Ahmed Naseer, has stated that Maldives, with its nationwide telecommunication coverage, has reached a milestone of financial inclusion, in the fields of telecommunication and mobile finance payment services.

During the final day of the 35th Asian Bankers Association (ABA)'s General Meeting and Conference hosted by Bank of Maldives (BML) held at Kurumba Maldives, the Governor noted that the improvements in innovations in regards to cryptocurrency, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) have taken the traditional banking industry to a "whole new level."

Adding that "It has allowed financial institutions to be connected to customers, anywhere, anytime through digital channels"

"In a few years from now, it is highly like that millennials and future generations will not see a need to step inside a bank"

Ahmed highlighted an importance to utilize upcoming technologies to break geographical barriers and to address the underserved populations, adding that 33 percent of adult Maldivians are yet to open a bank account.

"in spite of these hurdles, we [MMA] do have a very ambitious plan to upgrade and modernize our financial system" which includes the development of a safe and robust payment infrastructure, to embrace and implement FinTech (Finance Technology) solutions and to strengthen institutional capacity as it acts as a "key ingredient in catalyzing the benefits of the supporting infrastructure"

The governor stated that in a global context, many countries are struggling to keep up with the ever-adapting financial system and to adopt FinTech in the financial channel, adding that certain issues relating to the implementation of FinTech require "a major overhaul in the current regulations" as these issues exist outside the current regulatory standards.

Furthermore, Ahmed said that much of the ongoing narrative on the emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchains amount to a growing lack of trust in the financial system.

"The financial sector requires as a whole to be more vigilant to the potential risks along with the technological advancements.

ABA's General Meeting and Conference focused on the year's theme 'Banking in Asia: The Next Frontier', where participants discussed banking developments in Asia, in particular, the importance of the financial sector’s continued stability and integrity in the face of rapid technological advancement.

During a press conference held on Friday, CEO and Managing Director of BML, Andrew Healy revealed that the conference is attended by over 150 delegates from 25 countries.

ABA's Chairman, Daniel Wu, stated that the ABA, which was organized in October 1981, has been a useful platform to effectively share ideas, meet, network and exchange views on the current trends in the development of regional and global markets.

The 37-year-old organization's conference hosts keynote speeches on globalization, information technology, financial inclusion and various other topics. The annual conference has been held at multiple host countries such as Tokyo, Japan, Melbourne, Australia, most of the South East Asian regions, Muscat, Oman and many more.

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