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Central bank rolls out key financial literacy campaign

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National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) deputy governor Ouk Maly speaks at Friday’s seminar. NBC

Central bank rolls out key financial literacy campaign

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) on December 3 rolled out a new campaign that is widely expected to raise financial literacy among Cambodians as well as reduce bad debt.

The “Let’s talk Money: Little by Little” was launched during an in-person and virtual seminar on the implementation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2019-2025.

NBC deputy governor Ouk Maly noted that the campaign was part of the seven-year strategy, which she said creates the framework on national policy geared towards enhancing financial inclusion in Cambodia.

“This campaign is also an important tool to support the implementation of the Financial Sector Development Strategy 2016-2025, which aims to ensure the stability of macroeconomic policies, and maintain sustainable economic growth,” she said.

She said the national strategy sets out the vision and direction for greater financial inclusion, increased access to quality, timely, affordable and legitimate financial services.

She cited some of the document’s more notable objectives as: to lower the number of unbanked women, improve social welfare, increase incomes, alleviate poverty and contribute to overall socio-economic development.

“Financial literacy is recognised as an important catalyst that can boost financial inclusion and reduce over-indebtedness.

“Through this national strategy, it is possible to increase access to quality official financial services, reduce the rate of unbanked women in half, from 27 per cent to 13 per cent, and expand the use of official financial services from 59 per cent to 70 per cent by 2025, and improve family well-being and support economic growth,” Maly said.

She said the new drive follows 2016’s “Let’s Talk Money” campaign, and was designed with a major focus on the importance of the effective analysis and management of financial products and services, and the preparation of action plans to help consumers better understand the rights, responsibilities and roles of all parties involved in financial decisions.

Rath Sovannarak, director-general of the NBC’s Banking Supervision Department, noted that raising financial literacy would require a large amount of stakeholder involvement entailing, inter alia, formal education for students and “expert trainees”.

On the other hand, the campaign will raise public awareness of relevant issues, with a special focus on people in rural areas that may have access to bona-fide financial services, but limited access to the pertinent information, he said.

Shane Nichols, president of Good Return, said the Australian NGO is committed to supporting Cambodian families through financial literacy programmes, helping small businesses, and advocating for ethical practices in the financial sector.

“We are pleased to be working with the National Bank of Cambodia to launch the important ‘Let’s talk Money: Little by Little’ campaign,” he said.

UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap) deputy executive secretary Kaveh Zahedi said the UN agency was “proud” to support the central bank’s latest campaign.

He underscored that the initiative includes short videos that embody a wide range of important messages on financial responsibility, gender equality and entrepreneurship ideas, all of which he said are key to achieving an inclusive and sustainable economy.

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