On June 29, 2018, the forum on “Empowering Financial Education through Financial Inclusion” was held. This activity was organized by the Albanian Association of Banks (AAB) in cooperation with the Bank of Albania and with the support of the Albanian Securities Exchange (ALSE), Albanian Securities Trading Association (ASTA) and the Albanian Micro-finance Association (AMA). Among other participants, this forum was attended by numerous representatives from the Bank of Albania, the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, other public institutions, various associations, non-profit organizations, academic networks in the country, representatives of the banking and financial sector, media representatives, etc.
During the works of this forum, the ceremony of the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation was held, between the Albanian Association of Banks, Albanian Insurers Association, Albanian Micro-finance Association, Life Insurers, Pensions and Investment Funds Association, Albanian Securities Trading Association, Albanian Securities Exchange ALSE, Junior Achievement Albania, Partners Albania for Change and Development and the National Youth Service.
This Memorandum of Understanding aims at establishing the Albanian Financial Education Network and increasing the inter-institutional co-operation and coordination as regards financial education.
Organised in two sessions, the welcoming speeches of the forum were held by Mr. Silvio Pedrazzi, Chairman of AAB, Mr. Ervin Demo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, and Ms. Natasha Ahmetaj, Second Deputy Governor, Bank of Albania.
During his speech, Mr. Pedrazzi highlighted that promoting financial inclusion implies undertaking concrete actions, which lead towards improved access to services provided by the financial sector. This responsibility lies on all stakeholders: political parties, government, the private sector and society. Each of us has a role to play! Mr. Pedrazzi also added that the strengthening financial inclusion should be achieved through financial education.
The first session addressed several issues related to the progress, challenges and opportunities in terms of financial inclusion. The panellists of this session ware Mrs. Mimoza Kaçi, Deputy Director of Financial Supervisory Authority, Ms. Oya Pinar Ardic, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank, Mr. Brian J. Williams, UN Resident Coordinator, Mrs. Giovanna Paladino, Director and curator of Museo del Risparmio of Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy, and Mr. Altin Tanku, Director of the Research Department at the Bank of Albania. During this session, inter alia, special emphasis was given to the importance of national strategies to promote and coordinate all the efforts related to financial inclusion. This session was moderated by Mr. Spiro Brumbulli, Secretary General of AAB.
During the second session, designed under the moderation of Ms. Suela Bala, General Director of Junior Achievement Albania, the participants and panellists had the opportunity to discuss the role and contribution of the institutions and society in financial education.
Ms. Beatriz Morilla, Head of CSR of the Spanish Banking Association, during her presentation introduced the international experience in addressing the issues in question.
The discussion panel, composed of Ms. Ledia Bregu, Director of the Payments System, Accounting & Finance Department at the Bank of Albania, Ms. Zana Konini, Albanian Microfinance Association, Ms. Junida Tafaj, Operations Officer at AAB, and Ms. Lauresha Basha, Head of Marketing Department at Credins Bank, discussed the experience of their institutions in the field of financial education.
As a conclusion of the works of the forum, it was strongly highlighted that financial education is a fundamental component for empowering consumers and investors. The responsibility for acquiring all the necessary financial knowledge to take well-informed decisions is a common responsibility among numerous stakeholders: individuals, households, government, education sector, financial services sector, employers, and labour organizations.
The goal of the Financial Education Network is to establish a forum where its members bring together all their efforts to realize a responsible financial education in Albania – with the ultimate goal – to improve knowledge of financial education among almost every age group of our society, as well as for entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises and big-size companies (corporations).