EFFORTS to ensure more Solomon Islanders access banks and other financial services were boosted with the launch of the third National Financial Inclusive 2021 to 2025 strategy last week. The strategy aims to make sure all Solomon Islanders have access to a range of quality and affordable financial services and products. It was also designed to make sure people are competent to use the services to increase the resilience and improved livelihood within the growing digital economy. According to Central Bank governor Dr Luke Forau, financial inclusion is a key enabler to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity for the majority of Solomon Islanders. “Basically, financial Inclusion seeks to unlock economic opportunities for all by enabling Solomon Islanders – majority of whom live in rural villages – to access a broad range of suitable financial services/products,” Forau explained. “That said, it is important to note that Financial Inclusion is a journey, and it is not an end in itself, rather it’s a means to enhance and improve the socioeconomic status/livelihoods of all Solomon Islanders. “If we do it right, Financial Inclusion can also induce the progress in other sectors of the economy such as education, health, employment, gender, climate change, and so forth.” Forau said the strategy launched last Friday would provide a roadmap for the next five years on how they envisage progressing financial inclusion across the nation. The key priority areas include access to financial services, usage of financial services, financial literacy and consumer protection, formal credit, data, and measurement framework. While we still have a long way to go because our islands were so scattered, it’s an undertaking that must be carried out. And it’s pleasing to note the Central Bank is taking a leading role. That’s because, the Central Bank, according to Forau, believes that financial inclusion, combined with technological advancement in the digital financial space, will be a game-changer for the country. This is an effort worthy of supporting for the good of our nation and people.