6 March 2014
Financial Inclusion Taskforce wins Australian High Commissioner’s International Women’s Day Award
The Australian High Commissioner’s International Women’s Day award was presented to the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce yesterday for their achievements in improving access to financial services for women in Solomon Islands.
The annual Australian High Commissioner’s International Women’s Day Award recognises inspirational and pioneering Solomon Islands groups and individuals who show leadership, innovation and courage, and whose achievements have contributed to the empowerment of women in Solomon Islands.
“By recognising role models this way, we hope we can inspire others to support gender equity across the country,” said High Commissioner Byrne.
“This year, we’ve chosen to honour the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce – a group of men and women who have made a significant contribution to the economic empowerment of women right across Solomon Islands through increasing the participation of women in the financial sector.”
The National Financial Inclusion Taskforce has worked successfully with public, private and community sectors and donors over a number of years to promote the roll out of mobile and branchless banking services across the country.
The Taskforce have achieved their ambitious target of reaching 70,000 new bank customers two years ahead of schedule. Many of these new bank customers are women.
The group has also promoted workshops and specialised training to improve the financial literacy of women.
Receiving the award on behalf of the members of the Taskforce, the Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, Mr Denton Rarawa, said it was an honour to receive such an esteemed award.
“This award is recognition of our achievement. We have achieved a lot, over the space of four years. In 2011 we set ourselves the target of adding 70,000 new bank accounts by the end of 2015, but by the end of last year we opened 135,000 new bank accounts, half of them held by women,” said Mr Rarawa.
“I would like to thank the commercial banks – ANZ, BSP and Westpac – and Bemobile and Our Telekom telecommunication companies who have been involved in the hard work of rolling out financial services to the rural population. We would not have achieved this award without them.”
“The taskforce still has numerous challenges to overcome and I believe this award will reinforce our determination to continue to do our work to hopefully achieve what we set out to do and that is to ensure every child, every young person, every man and woman, have access to financial services.”