World / Asia-Pacific

APEC ministers advocate financial literacy education

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-08-31 13:27

MOSCOW - Finance ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have agreed to promote financial literacy education in the region.

In a policy statement issued after their gathering here on Thursday, the ministers said they decided to implement an educational program for that purpose with the help of a Russian trust fund.

With the development of social, economic and financial systems and the growing complexity of financial products, financial literacy has become an essential life skill for every economy to build a sound, efficient and transparent financial mechanism, said the ministers.

Previous surveys conducted worldwide and in APEC economies showed that a large amount of the population has insufficient knowledge to understand basic financial products, thus underestimating their risks and often failing to make optimal decisions when managing their finances.

Financial education for effective consumer protection cannot by itself prevent possible problems, but it can lessen the risk of crises by "enabling individuals to effectively use financial products and services," said the ministers.

In addition, financial literacy will also help common people effectively participate in economic activities and thus promote recovery and economic growth, they said.

"We encourage the implementation of economy-wide strategies for financial education by APEC economies and the monitoring of relevant developments," said the officials, adding that all members should also continue working with international institutions to promote programs of financial inclusion and consumer rights protection.

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