He opened the Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI) meeting at the Gazelle International Hotel in Kokopo, East New Britain, yesterday.
The meeting is being attended by the Governor of the Solomon Islands Central Bank and PIRI chairman Denton Rarawa, deputy executive director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion Nobert Mumba, Bank of PNG governor Loi Bakani and heads of financial institutions in the Pacific.
Sir Rabbie said in the past decade, digital finance had revolutionised banking and payments services in many parts of the world.
“It is estimated that globally two billion people are financially excluded but the World Bank Group aims to reduce it to 50 per cent by 2020,” he said.
Sir Rabbie said consistent with the global trend, digital financial services in the Pacific Islands countries had also picked up quite dramatically.
“In 2013, the World Bank conducted the financial services sector assessment in PNG and found that 85 per cent of the population surveyed had access to mobile phones,” he said.
He said the survey also revealed that 25 per cent of the population had subscribed to mobile banking.
The survey also revealed that almost 80 per cent of the total population had no access to any form of financial services. The BPNG’s membership to the Alliance for Financial Inclusion enabled it to commit to the Maya Declaration in 2013 and its first National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2014-2015 with the aim to bank one million of PNG’s unbanked population. The National