The variable of financial inclusion
“Africa is and will always be the mirror of the Europe” is the input of the Minister of Interior Marco Minniti’s speech during “Financial Inclusion of Migrants” conference at the European Parliament on 4th December, 2017. The expression want to enlighten how fragile and important is the bond between EU and Africa for the simple fact that what we are expecting for the next century and so the health of Europe is deeply linked to the African path.
How many people are going to be born within 2050? How significant will be the flows in the EU? There will be enough services able to respond to many demands such as education, healthcare, financial assistance, social inclusion? These question marks should represent the starting point of more accurate strategic plans and in the same time a deeper political awareness like Piero Fassino said in the conference inaugural speech.
Furthermore, given the fact that Africa certainly is going to experiment a steady increase on the birth rate with approximately 2,5 billion of people within 2050, given also the fact that African population will be in average the youngest on the world and that the African territory is still plenty of resources, new approaches must be considered to identify and reach mutual interests, enhancing then a long-term cooperation. Therefore, it is on behalf of the EU and Africa that the Joint Africa-EU strategy is today implemented on the areas of migration and employment, democracy, energy, digital, climate change, human rights and development goals. But, what it is expected to make a significant difference is a profound commitment of single Member States of the EU. To do so, a Mediterranean region, where a great amount of migration flows is directed, like Italy, should implement strategic planscharacterized by two complementary dimensions: on one side “the development of Africa” through a political strategy and on the other side “governing flows” through key phases like hosting and integrating. To achieve this last result is necessary to review not just the way of looking at the migration phenomenon, but also our way to address such a problem which is not anymore, an emergency circumstance but instead, a structural fact like General of DEVCO, Stefano Manservisi, explained.
Addressing that, means recognize the fragile situation experienced by migrants who hardly find a way to be included at social level as well as financial level. For reaching those goals, long-term actions and organizing mobility should be implemented, creating for instance jobs in the African area, reconnect people with society through services, founding start-up as a result of access to microcredit. However, the management of mobility has known various obstacles because of the absence of a political consensus. Despite losing a lot of opportunities, active policies have started, for example “Erasmus for apprentices” for designing new jobs opportunities in both countries, or the investments in the private sector to establish a Euro-African pact developing then a 2 billion-consumers market. In order to get this idea into a productive market, it is crucial to refer to three core elements such as 1) financial pillar which allow to invest public and private resources on infrastructures, 2) technical assistance, namely the capacity to create solid projects and good a capacity-respond by the administration and lastly 3) an assurance which is able to guarantee an income of a business plan over a long period to compensate the political risk. Moreover, referring to those key points seems mandatory, in this specific moment, precisely to cope migration flows, finding at least a general agreement on minimum legal basis that put first the integration principle.
This could give to migrants the possibility to be part of a community that should become more and more inclusive over time for the simple reason that migration is a “structural phenomenon, especially in Italy, due to both dimension and impact on the social and economic fabric of the country” like Dr. Daniele Frigeri – Director of CeSPI pointed out during the conference. In this case, we must remember that an economic citizenship is one of the pillar of social inclusion of migrants and one way of being actively involved in all the aspects of the arrival country’s life. Such a conclusion comes from the idea that a “positive relationship with financial intermediaries, [like the banking system, Banco Posta, the consumer credit system and the assurance], is essential for integrating people in the labor market, access to credit, buying a house, creating savings protection, reduction of vulnerability and the eventual start-up of business”.
The National Observatory for the Financial Inclusion of Migrants, established in Italy in 2011, is profound committed on monitoring the financial inclusion process for migrants. This can be done considering for instance: researches about the migrants’ saving capacity, the difficult to access to microcredit, the “bankarization” index through historical series which has shown that most of the migration population is now “bancarized” (73%), still the process requires a major stabilization, reinforcement and a greater integration of economic operators with adequate regulatory and policy tools. Moreover, the Observatory mission is also to influence European practices in order to “export” these types of analysis in other countries from an operative and policies view, also to create debates with the intermediaries and migrants themselves, to reinforce the migrant entrepreneurship experience and to realize programs for financial education.
These are “mandatory” steps for a Region which wants to respond with “inclusion”, accomplishing higher results due to a multicultural experience which could add more value to entrepreneurial models and financial systems.