On the 24th June I had the pleasure of attending the International Arab Banking Summit (IABS 2021) in Rome. The subject of the meeting was ‘Banking Recovering Strategies Post Crisis: Restoring Sustainable Development and Debt Sustainability’.
Specifically, we talked about:
– Promoting European-Arab trade cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era.
– Encouraging additional European investments in the Arab industries.
– Compliance challenges posed by the crisis
– Boosting SMEs financing through special schemes.
– Recovering sustainable development losses.
– The Sustainable Financing role of the banking sector.
– Action plan for financing the SDGS.
This was my speech during the summit:
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean is a body of parliamentary diplomacy in which parliamentarians from different countries gather to exchange views, legislative best practices and launch projects together.
It includes countries on the shores of our common sea, in addition to the Balkans and some GCC countries.
PAM is about geopolitics of course, but not the kind of geopolitics you read in books. It is mainly about people, their problems, their needs and their dreams.
PAM is about empathy.
Finance is about people as well, and should improve the lives of the citizens of our countries. Banking is the backbone of the financial system in Italy, as in most of countries of the region, and has a huge impact on our lives and economies.
During the pandemic we faced the erosion of corporate capital and of family savings. These are facts.
Without the intervention of banks, including central banks and monetary authorities, the situation would currently be much worse. This is another fact.
According to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, the moratorium on loan repayments reached 136 billion euros. The value of the requests filed to the warranty fund for SMEs was 177.5 billion, while the volume of loans guaranteed by Sace, a public participated company, was 24.5 billion.
Yesterday, at the Chamber of Deputies, Prime Minister Draghi mentioned that only the 4 largest EU country state warranties were activated at 450 billions euro. These resources were managed by banks.
In the EU, the ECB carried out the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program in order to provide liquidity to member states.
Social inequality increased during the pandemic, as did some conflict, and without the mentioned intervention the differences would have been more even significant increase.
It is therefore rather crystal clear the key role of banks in our economies and in our lives.
In fact, the issues banks can tackle include social inclusion, gender equality, the provision of services to remote areas, social stability and sustainability among others.
You may think these are not financial targets but they are actually targets finance can help reach thanks to fintech and new technologies. For example, services can be provided in remote areas and to all social classes reducing the gap between the ones who can make use of the financial system and the ones who cannot.
Excellencies, dear friends, Plutarkos use to say that:
“Towards wealth the man is wise in four ways: in making it, in preserving it, in increasing it, in using it wisely.”
We all have great challenges waiting for us. We all have great opportunities out there — let us not miss them.
If the pandemic has taught us anything it has allowed most of us have come to understand the importance of things we never truly valued before, such as human contact, social life and freedom of movement.
With this in mind we can build a better world together.
It is a plesasure for me to be with you today and I am sure Rome will treat you well.