THE Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL) and its development partners are keen to equip more people in the country with knowledge about financial literacy as part of efforts to empower them with key economic skills.
BOL, as a supervisor of the financial sector in Laos, has included financial literacy and customer protection measures in its 10-year strategy and the roadmap for financial inclusion. It has also included financial literacy in the process of establishing a financial education strategy.
To ensure that financial literacy is widely promoted in society, the bank organised a meeting in Vientiane on Tuesday to seek ways for promoting the implementation of activities that will enhance understanding of the subject in Laos.
Financial literacy is the possession of a set of skills and knowledge that allows individuals to make informed and effective decisions regarding all of their financial resources.
In his opening remarks while chairing the meeting, the Deputy Director General of the Financial Institution Supervision Department under BOL, Phanthaboun Xayaphet, said the concerned parties will take this opportunity to seek best practices for promoting and developing financial literacy in Laos.
“We are also set to work together for outlining a plan to promote the implementation of basic financial skills to ensure the action plan is on the same direction and the right track,” he said.
Phanthaboun said financial literacy is internationally recognised as one of the most important priorities that will enable people to access financial services.
“Gaining better insights and understanding about the financial institution system, services, financial products or financial management could lead to brighter livelihoods in future,” he said.
BOL has been working in collaboration with all involved sectors to create a roadmap for promoting basic knowledge of finance since 2014. In 2018, the roadmap and framework was approved by the Board of Management of BOL.
Late last year, BOL cooperated with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and its International Network on Financial Education (OECD/INFE) and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) to organise a meeting with the theme “Role of Financial Education and Consumer Protection in Supporting Financial Inclusion”.
Last year, OECD/INFE and ADBI conducted a survey about financial literacy in Laos, which found the country’s financial literacy rate was a little higher than Cambodia but a little lower than Vietnam.
At Tuesday’s meeting, representatives of the international organisations, commercial banks and financial institutions in Laos contributed their recommendations for the future promotion of financial education and financial literacy in Laos.
The meeting was organised by BOL in collaboration with GIZ Access to Finance for the Poor (GIZ-AFP). VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK