Smart Campaign Reaches Milestone with 100 Certifications in Financial Consumer Protection

The certification of 100 financial service providers, collectively serving more than 42 million low-income clients worldwide, marks major achievement for financial inclusion.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Smart Campaign, the leading industry voice on financial consumer protection, housed at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, announced today that 100 financial service providers (FSPs) have attained Smart Certification, a landmark achievement in responsible financial inclusion.

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. (PRNewsFoto/Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign launched the certification program in 2013 as a way for FSPs to align their policies and practices with industry-accepted Client Protection Principles, which articulate standards for product design and delivery, prevention of over-indebtedness, transparency, responsible pricing, treatment of clients, data privacy, and complaint resolution. In just five years of offering Smart Certification, 100 FSPs have successfully undergone the rigorous certification process, resulting in greater protection for more than 42 million low-income clients globally.

“Reaching this milestone and seeing the continued interest for certification from a wide range of providers – including fintech startups – is very encouraging,” said Isabelle Barrès, Director of the Smart Campaign. “It demonstrates that protecting consumers and building trust maximizes benefits for both the client and the companies that serve them.”

The certified FSPs are spread throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The momentum for certification signals that the industry increasingly values client protection not only for the sake of clients, but also because certification streamlines the business practices of FSPs. In a recent survey of certified institutions, 96% of providers agreed that certification helped them better prioritize client protection and 93% noted a clearer alignment between the institution’s culture and its social mission. Another benefit called out by certified FSPs includes increased recognition from clients, regulators, and potential investors. Increasingly, consumer protection is rightfully seen as a business strategy.

The Smart Campaign. (PRNewsFoto/The Smart Campaign) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign will continue its standard-setting and certification efforts with philanthropic support from a wide range of partners. In addition to advancing certification, the Campaign will also work to elevate the client voice in an increasingly digital world, shed light on emerging client risks, and convene policymakers and other stakeholders to effect change at the national level in the countries in which it has certified organizations.

About The Smart Campaign

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. As the world’s first financial consumer protection standard, the Campaign maintains a rigorous certification program, elevates the client voice, and convenes partners to effect change at the national level. Over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 42 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Campaign’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards. More at www.smartcampaign.org.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

www.cfi-blog.org

@CFI_Accion

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Ghana Medical Association launches 60th anniversary celebration

Accra- Dr Frank Ankobea, the President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), on Wednesday, said the future was bright for the Organisation in spite of the numerous challenges that confronted its members and the health sector in general.

The Association, he said, would however take bold steps into the future, guided by the toil and sacrifices of its forerunners and inspired by the determination and zealous support of its current membership and partners.

He said the GMA envisaged a strategically positioned Association that would maintain its role as a leader in the health sector, which was very relevant to its membership in meeting both their needs and aspirations, and further, playing a vital role with social partners such as government, employers, the media and civil society organisations to achieve quality health care for Ghanaians.

Dr Ankobea said this in an address at the official launch at the GMA’s 60th Anniversary celebrations in Accra which was on the theme: The Role of GMA in Healthcare: 60 Years On

The launch attracted several dignitaries including; Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, a Former Minister for Defence, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Professor Agyeman-Badu Akosa, also a former Director-General of the GHS among other health professional Associations.

Dr Ankobea paid a glowing tribute to all the vision bearers and foundation members of the Association, past Presidents, Fellows, Executive Committee, present Council members, National and Divisional Executives as well as the general membership for their hard work which had sustained the GMA till date.

He said the GMA had paid its dues to national development as an advocate, partner and an important labour union, with its members making various sacrifices and continued to do same to improve the health of the country.

It has also remained relevant over the years, being guided by the philosophy rooted in the belief that the good health of the people of Ghana is the total wellbeing of the people and not the mere absence of disease, and continuously sought to ensure this through participation in the development and maintenance of the highest possible standards of healthcare delivery.

The Association has strived to maintain the honour, dignity and professionalism of the medical and dental professionals in Ghana through self-regulation of practitioners, while remaining committed to the welfare of its members and other health professionals to achieve optimal heath care delivery, he said.

Dr Frank Ankobea said the theme for the celebrations, therefore presented a key opportunity for deeper reflections, and stressed the need for strengthened collaboration to address present challenges and gaps in the health sector in order to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals.

He noted that 60 years in the life of an organisation was a significant milestone that was worthy of celebration, giving a brief history of the GMA as the first professional association to be formed in jubilant post independent Ghana, and recognised by government.

He said the GMA had occupied its rightful place on the international front fostering global health through strategic partnerships and membership of international organisations such as the British, Commonwealth, World and the African Medical Associations respectively.

And as labour Union, it played diverse roles to improve on the working environment of its members and other health personnel, creating a harmonious industrial relations climate to the benefit of both employer and employee.

The policy of the Association in industrial relations has always been one of dialogue and non- confrontational engagements, though in some instances the association had had to take painful decisions of withdrawal of services.

He said Association played key roles in the negotiations for the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP), the first ever Codified Conditions of Service document and the launch of the Strategic document to guide activities of the Association, and also spearheaded the establishment of the various Medical Schools and institutions including the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The College, he said currently provided higher professional education to members, leading to a reduction in the brain drain of doctors and other health professionals to Europe and the USA for such academic advancements.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr Ebenezer Ewusi-Emmim, the Chairman of Anniversary Planning Committee, said as part of the launch, there would be an anniversary lecture by Prof. Akosa, on the achievements of the GMA over the past 60 years, and a public lecture in July 2018 as well as divisional and national outreach programmes.

He said Eastern Division would host the 60th Anniversary Annual General Conference in Koforidua from November 7 to 11, 2018, and thanked all the Committee members for their dedication to the task of planning.

Mr Agyeman-Manu, on his part congratulated the Association for its numerous achievements, partnerships, role in national policy development, and commitment of members to quality health care delivery.

He however said called for further investment in the quest to attain UHC, saying that key facilities such as the Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds were already in place to ensure primary health care delivery, existing district and regional health facilities must be re-tooled for effective service delivery.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana Medical Association launches 60th anniversary celebration

Accra- Dr Frank Ankobea, the President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), on Wednesday, said the future was bright for the Organisation in spite of the numerous challenges that confronted its members and the health sector in general.

The Association, he said, would however take bold steps into the future, guided by the toil and sacrifices of its forerunners and inspired by the determination and zealous support of its current membership and partners.

He said the GMA envisaged a strategically positioned Association that would maintain its role as a leader in the health sector, which was very relevant to its membership in meeting both their needs and aspirations, and further, playing a vital role with social partners such as government, employers, the media and civil society organisations to achieve quality health care for Ghanaians.

Dr Ankobea said this in an address at the official launch at the GMA’s 60th Anniversary celebrations in Accra which was on the theme: The Role of GMA in Healthcare: 60 Years On

The launch attracted several dignitaries including; Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, a Former Minister for Defence, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Professor Agyeman-Badu Akosa, also a former Director-General of the GHS among other health professional Associations.

Dr Ankobea paid a glowing tribute to all the vision bearers and foundation members of the Association, past Presidents, Fellows, Executive Committee, present Council members, National and Divisional Executives as well as the general membership for their hard work which had sustained the GMA till date.

He said the GMA had paid its dues to national development as an advocate, partner and an important labour union, with its members making various sacrifices and continued to do same to improve the health of the country.

It has also remained relevant over the years, being guided by the philosophy rooted in the belief that the good health of the people of Ghana is the total wellbeing of the people and not the mere absence of disease, and continuously sought to ensure this through participation in the development and maintenance of the highest possible standards of healthcare delivery.

The Association has strived to maintain the honour, dignity and professionalism of the medical and dental professionals in Ghana through self-regulation of practitioners, while remaining committed to the welfare of its members and other health professionals to achieve optimal heath care delivery, he said.

Dr Frank Ankobea said the theme for the celebrations, therefore presented a key opportunity for deeper reflections, and stressed the need for strengthened collaboration to address present challenges and gaps in the health sector in order to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals.

He noted that 60 years in the life of an organisation was a significant milestone that was worthy of celebration, giving a brief history of the GMA as the first professional association to be formed in jubilant post independent Ghana, and recognised by government.

He said the GMA had occupied its rightful place on the international front fostering global health through strategic partnerships and membership of international organisations such as the British, Commonwealth, World and the African Medical Associations respectively.

And as labour Union, it played diverse roles to improve on the working environment of its members and other health personnel, creating a harmonious industrial relations climate to the benefit of both employer and employee.

The policy of the Association in industrial relations has always been one of dialogue and non- confrontational engagements, though in some instances the association had had to take painful decisions of withdrawal of services.

He said Association played key roles in the negotiations for the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP), the first ever Codified Conditions of Service document and the launch of the Strategic document to guide activities of the Association, and also spearheaded the establishment of the various Medical Schools and institutions including the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The College, he said currently provided higher professional education to members, leading to a reduction in the brain drain of doctors and other health professionals to Europe and the USA for such academic advancements.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr Ebenezer Ewusi-Emmim, the Chairman of Anniversary Planning Committee, said as part of the launch, there would be an anniversary lecture by Prof. Akosa, on the achievements of the GMA over the past 60 years, and a public lecture in July 2018 as well as divisional and national outreach programmes.

He said Eastern Division would host the 60th Anniversary Annual General Conference in Koforidua from November 7 to 11, 2018, and thanked all the Committee members for their dedication to the task of planning.

Mr Agyeman-Manu, on his part congratulated the Association for its numerous achievements, partnerships, role in national policy development, and commitment of members to quality health care delivery.

He however said called for further investment in the quest to attain UHC, saying that key facilities such as the Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds were already in place to ensure primary health care delivery, existing district and regional health facilities must be re-tooled for effective service delivery.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Rights Groups Seek Prosecution of Gambian Ex-leader in Ghana

A survivor, families of the disappeared and human rights organizations are seeking the extradition and prosecution in Ghana of Gambia’s former leader Yahya Jammeh for alleged direct involvement in the killing of more than 50 West African migrants in 2005.

Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International on Wednesday called on Ghana’s government to investigate new evidence they say ties Jammeh to the killings of Ghanaians and others.

The groups conducted interviews with 30 former Gambian officials, including 11 officers linked to the deaths. Witnesses identified the Junglers, a notorious unit that took orders directly from Jammeh, as those who carried out the killings as the migrants tried to make their way toward Europe.

Several officials told the rights groups that the migrants may have been mistaken for mercenaries, who reportedly were planning a coup.

“The West African migrants weren’t murdered by rogue elements but by a paramilitary death squad taking orders from President Jammeh,” said Reed Brody, counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Jammeh’s subordinates then destroyed key evidence to prevent international investigators from learning the truth.”

Some 44 Ghanaians and several Nigerians, including two women, left from neighboring Senegal in a motorized canoe in hopes of catching a boat that eventually would take them to Europe, the rights groups said. They couldn’t make contact with the boat and landed in Barra, Gambia on July 22, which was the country’s Revolution Day marking Jammeh’s 1994 coup.

“They lined us up, pointing guns at us, and marched us to the Barra police,” said the sole known survivor of the killings, Martin Kyere, said in the report.

The rights groups confirmed that the migrants were detained in the presence of the inspector general of police, National Intelligence Agency director and chief of the defense staff, among others, and at least two of those present were in telephone contact with Jammeh.

The group of migrants was divided and handed over to the Junglers.

“We were in the back of a pickup truck,” Kyere said. “As the truck went deeper into the forest I was able to get my hands free. I jumped out from the pickup and started to run into the forest.”

The other migrants were executed near the capital, Banjul, and along the Senegal-Gambia border near Jammeh’s hometown of Kanilai, the rights groups said.

Ghanaian authorities worked with Kyere to identify many of the dead, in an investigation that ultimately led to reparations by Gambia for victims’ families and the return to Ghana of six bodies.

No arrests have been made in the killings, the rights groups said. Instead, “rogue elements” in Gambia’s security services were blamed and Gambia’s government was not “directly or indirectly complicit,” according to a report by the United Nations and the ECOWAS regional bloc, the groups said.

The rights groups now argue that the new evidence shows clearly that the Junglers were responsible.

Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International are part of an international campaign launched in Gambia to prosecute Jammeh for the abuses alleged under his 22-year rule.

Jammeh fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 after losing elections. It is not clear if Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang would agree to an extradition process.

Source: Voice of America

Rights Groups Seek Prosecution of Gambian Ex-leader in Ghana

A survivor, families of the disappeared and human rights organizations are seeking the extradition and prosecution in Ghana of Gambia’s former leader Yahya Jammeh for alleged direct involvement in the killing of more than 50 West African migrants in 2005.

Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International on Wednesday called on Ghana’s government to investigate new evidence they say ties Jammeh to the killings of Ghanaians and others.

The groups conducted interviews with 30 former Gambian officials, including 11 officers linked to the deaths. Witnesses identified the Junglers, a notorious unit that took orders directly from Jammeh, as those who carried out the killings as the migrants tried to make their way toward Europe.

Several officials told the rights groups that the migrants may have been mistaken for mercenaries, who reportedly were planning a coup.

“The West African migrants weren’t murdered by rogue elements but by a paramilitary death squad taking orders from President Jammeh,” said Reed Brody, counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Jammeh’s subordinates then destroyed key evidence to prevent international investigators from learning the truth.”

Some 44 Ghanaians and several Nigerians, including two women, left from neighboring Senegal in a motorized canoe in hopes of catching a boat that eventually would take them to Europe, the rights groups said. They couldn’t make contact with the boat and landed in Barra, Gambia on July 22, which was the country’s Revolution Day marking Jammeh’s 1994 coup.

“They lined us up, pointing guns at us, and marched us to the Barra police,” said the sole known survivor of the killings, Martin Kyere, said in the report.

The rights groups confirmed that the migrants were detained in the presence of the inspector general of police, National Intelligence Agency director and chief of the defense staff, among others, and at least two of those present were in telephone contact with Jammeh.

The group of migrants was divided and handed over to the Junglers.

“We were in the back of a pickup truck,” Kyere said. “As the truck went deeper into the forest I was able to get my hands free. I jumped out from the pickup and started to run into the forest.”

The other migrants were executed near the capital, Banjul, and along the Senegal-Gambia border near Jammeh’s hometown of Kanilai, the rights groups said.

Ghanaian authorities worked with Kyere to identify many of the dead, in an investigation that ultimately led to reparations by Gambia for victims’ families and the return to Ghana of six bodies.

No arrests have been made in the killings, the rights groups said. Instead, “rogue elements” in Gambia’s security services were blamed and Gambia’s government was not “directly or indirectly complicit,” according to a report by the United Nations and the ECOWAS regional bloc, the groups said.

The rights groups now argue that the new evidence shows clearly that the Junglers were responsible.

Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International are part of an international campaign launched in Gambia to prosecute Jammeh for the abuses alleged under his 22-year rule.

Jammeh fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 after losing elections. It is not clear if Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang would agree to an extradition process.

Source: Voice of America