Speaking at the launch event held to release the results of the inaugural Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey, the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Timothy N.J. Antoine, said the ECCB commissioned the survey because financial inclusion is a strategic priority for the Central Bank.
Financial inclusion refers to access to a range of financial services including banking, credit and insurance whereas financial literacy refers to the ability to understand certain financial issues and use financial skills for personal financial management such as budgeting and investing.
“In a region which boasts high levels of adult literacy (high 90 per cent), financial literacy is lamentably low and lugubrious,” the Governor said.
Governor Antoine added:“Armed with the results of this Survey and seized with a sense of urgency, I issue a clarion call for a coalition of partners and champions (institutionally and individually) to join the ECCB as we craft and implement a strategy to scale up financial literacy and inclusion in the ECCU.”
ECCB Governor Timothy N.J. Antoine noted that such a scaling up can be achieved through strong collective commitment. For instance, he said that in order for every high school graduate in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) to be financially literate, it would necessitate a collaboration between the ECCU’s Ministries of Education and the Caribbean Examinations Council to make this outcome a high priority.
Governor Antoine also said that if every workplace—starting with governments, which are the largest employers—offered financial wellness programmes, that would be a new day and a giant stride in our big push for financial resilience and wealth creation.
“This is a cause worth pursuing,” the ECCB Governor said, noting it would mean “huge potential dividends.”
He continued: “As a region, we cannot change our history nor can we change our geography, but collectively we can elevate our development trajectory through innovation and collective action.”
Governor Antoine said the ECCB’s Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey itself was made possible through partnerships, namely with the OECS Commission (through its Project Management Unit) and the World Bank funded Caribbean Digital Transformation Project.
The ECCB Governor also said that, over the past 21 years, the Central Bank has sought to raise the level of financial literacy through its savings and investment courses, its annual Financial Information Month, and in the past seven years through its weekly podcast ECCB Connects.
“For these efforts, I wish to acknowledge the work of past and present ECCB staff and partners. You have helped many, but many more still need to be helped. In short, we need to scale up,” said Governor Antoine.
SOURCE: ECCB News