The Council of Arab Central Banks and Monetary Authorities Governors is placing greater emphasis on promotion of access to digital financial services in the Arab countries, following the COVID-19 pandemic. This was stated by various speakers during the Arab Day for Financial Inclusion that was celebrated on April 27, 2021. Statistics reported by EgyptToday show that close to 85% of adults in the Arab region have a mobile phone, with 48% having both mobile phone and internet access but only 7 % have mobile money accounts. In 2020, only 33% had digital payment transactions compared to the global average of 44%. The Council views this low uptake of digital financial services as an opportunity for increased financial inclusion in the region.
The Council highlighted initiatives such as the Arab Monetary Fund’s Financial Inclusion for the Arab Region Initiative (FIARI) which are focussed on digital financial services for young people, women, and MSMEs to financial services.