Financial associations to enhance financial literacy, consumer empowerment, and protection in Cambodia’s communes

Cambodia Investment Review

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) jointly launched the “Strengthening Safe Finance in Community” project on 24 February 2023, aimed at promoting financial literacy, consumer empowerment, and protection at the community level in Cambodia.

The project’s primary objective is to enhance the safe and secure use of formal financial services in communes and increase access to these services in alignment with the Safe Commune-Village policy of the Royal Government. The project will be piloted in Kampong Thom, Kampong Speu, Svay Rieng, and Battambang provinces in 2023 and expanded in the following years.

Continued investment in financial literacy

The project design is based on various research studies conducted in 2022 by JICA and CMA with support from Cerise+SPTF and ADA. The studies included a consultative workshop with local authorities all had similar findings on the importance of financial literacy leading to financial inclusion at the grassroots level. They 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 their livelihood.

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Implementation calls for the active participation and support of NBC, CMA, government agencies, authorities, national and international NGOs, development partners, and key stakeholders. The project steering committee, chaired by NBC and co-chaired by CMA, will oversee the project’s implementation and ensure its alignment with the National Strategy on Financial Inclusion 2019-2025 and the Financial Sector Development Strategy 2016-2025.

Leading stakeholders for the “Strengthening Safe Finance in Community” project.

The project will also contribute to the improvement of living standards and development in the pilot areas and across Cambodia in the long-term goal via the existing mechanism of commune councils. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and mobilize 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 formal finance is crucial

“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 H.E. Rath Sovannorak, Assistant Governor and Director General of Banking Supervision of NBC.

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CMA Chairman Mr. Sok Voeun also stated, “The project’s implementation requires close coordination and collaboration among stakeholders, including citizens and local authorities. We will work together to ensure effective implementation of the project, and we are confident that 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 Safe Commune-Village policy of the government and responsible financial inclusion. The project is a significant step towards promoting financial inclusion and ensuring consumer protection and empowerment in Cambodia. The project’s successful implementation will improve access to formal financial services, contribute to poverty reduction, and enhance economic growth and development in the country.

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