BSP, French agency ink ₱41.3M grant to spur financial inclusion

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas secured fresh funding from a French agency for its efforts to further boost financial inclusion in the country, it announced Thursday.

In a statement, the BSP confirmed it signed a grant facility deal worth €700,000 (around ₱41.3 million) with Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

The agreement hopes to support its efforts “to increase capacities for financial inclusion, especially among rural and women-owned enterprises,” it noted.

The central bank added the grant will finance a technical assistance program supporting efforts to maximize technology for “effective” digital finance regulation and contribute to public policy dialogue on agricultural insurance.

The grant also complements the Inclusive Finance Development Program, which the AFD has been supporting starting 2019 along with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), through a sovereign policy-based loan to the country worth €100 million.

“We welcome this maiden technical assistance program of the AFD for the BSP. This endeavor demonstrates our organizations' shared commitment to advance financial inclusion in the country through responsible digital innovations,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Diokno added he is looking forward to a “fruitful collaboration” with the French agency with the program’s implementation in the five years ahead.

AFD country director Laurent Klein, meanwhile, cited their “strategic” objectives of supporting financial systems and combatting social and economic inequalities.

French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz also reaffirmed her country’s support to the national government through AFD by means of “strategic reforms towards digital transformation and inclusion.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to challenging situations, but also opportunities to leverage on digital technologies to improve financial sector services that would ultimately benefit Filipinos from all walks of life,” said Boccoz.