Project Aims to Strengthen Safe Finance in Communities

A project aimed at promoting financial literature and consumer empowerment in communes is being piloted in five provinces before being rolled out nationwide
Launch of the “Strengthening Safe Finance in Community” project. Kiripost/supplied
Launch of the “Strengthening Safe Finance in Community” project. Kiripost/supplied

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) have rolled out a pilot campaign to promote financial literature, consumer empowerment and protection in Cambodian communities.

On February 24, the two organisations launched the “Strengthening Safe Finance in Community” project, aimed at enhancing the secure use of formal financial services in communes and increasing access to these services in line with the government’s Safe Commune-Village policy.

The project will be piloted in Kampong Thom, Kampong Speu, Svay Rieng, and Battambang provinces this year before expanding in the following years.

The project follows a series of studies by JICA and CMA, with support from Cerise+SPTF and ADA, that were carried out in 2022. As part of this, consultative workshops with local authorities were held and all yielded similar findings on the importance of financial literacy leading to financial inclusion at the grassroots level.

The workshops also highlighted the important role of citizens and local authorities in helping to promote and mainstream financial literacy for access to formal and safe financial services to improve livelihoods.

The project aims to see NBC, CMA, government agencies, authorities, national and international NGOs, development partners and key stakeholders work together. A steering committee, chaired by NBC and co-chaired by CMA, will oversee the project's implementation and ensure it is in alignment with the National Strategy on Financial Inclusion 2019-2025 and the Financial Sector Development Strategy 2016-2025.

The overarching aim of the project is to elevate living standards and development countrywide in the long-term through the existing mechanism of commune councils. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and mobilise resources to enhance the quality of implementation, document evidence, and apply best practices to expand the project's scope in the future.

“Public confidence in the formal financial sector is crucial that NBC and stakeholders have been putting great efforts in strengthening financial literacy and consumer protection to maintain the stability of the whole banking system and increase financial inclusion in Cambodia,” said Rath Sovannorak, Assistant Governor and Director General of Banking Supervision of NBC.

CMA Chairman, Sok Voeun, added, “The project's implementation requires close coordination and collaboration among stakeholders, including citizens and local authorities. We will work together to ensure an effective implementation of the project, and it will contribute significantly to enhancing financial literacy, consumer empowerment, and protection in Cambodia.”

The "Strengthening Safe Finance in Community" is a crucial initiative that integrates the government’s Safe

Commune-Village policy and responsible financial inclusion. It is seen as a significant step towards promoting financial inclusion and ensuring consumer protection and empowerment in Cambodia.