The SAARCFINANCE was established in 1998 as a regional network of the SAARC Central Bank Governors and Finance Secretaries. Historically, its meetings take place twice a year, concurrently with the IMF/WB Annual and Spring Meetings. However, during 23rd Meeting of the Network, held in Washington D.C, U.S.A., on 25th September 2011, it was decided that the SAARCFINANCE Group Meeting used to be held at the time of Spring Meetings of IMF/WB shall now be held in the SAARC region. Further, in the 24th SAARCFINANCE Group meeting held at Pokhara, Nepal, on 16th May, 2012, it was decided that the SAARCFINANCE member country holding the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) chair will also host the regional Group Meeting and SAARCFINANCE Governors’ Symposium back-to-back with the ACU Board of Directors’ Meeting. Accordingly, State Bank of Pakistan hosted the 26th SAARCFINANCE Group Meeting and SAARCFINANCE Governors’ Symposium back-to-back with 42nd Asian Clearing Union (ACU) Board of Directors’ Meeting at Islamabad during June 17-19, 2013. Since its inception, the SAARCFINANCE Network has held thirty-five Group Meetings.

The Terms of Reference (TOR) of the SAARCFINANCE explain the objective of the network. According to the TOR, the primary function of the Network is to conduct a dialogue on macro-economic policies of the region and share experiences and ideas of the member countries.

The TOR were approved at the 11th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu in January 2002. The Summit also accorded approval to the SAARCFINANCE as a formal SAARC body. The TOR were amended from time to time to reflect the changing ground realities in the region and hence in the mandate of the network. The 26th SAARCFINANCE Group meeting held at Islamabad on 18th June, 2013, proposed an amendment in Clause A(5) of the TOR, which was approved by the Thirty-fifth Session of SAARC Council of Ministers held at Maldives on 20th February, 2014. Similarly, the 28th SAARCFINANCE Group Meeting, held at Colombo on 24th July, 2014, proposed an amendment in Clause A(4) which was approved by the Thirty-sixth Session of SAARC Council of Ministers held at Kathmandu on 25th November, 2014.

The organizational structure of SAARCFINANCE consists of two broader layers:

  1. The SAARCFINANCE Group and
  2. SAARCFINANCE Coordinators

The SAARCFINANCE Group is forum at the top comprising of Governors of the member central banks or monitory authorities and Secretaries of Ministries of Finance. The SAARFINANCE Group is the highest level of decision making within the SAARCFIANCNE network. As mentioned above, the Group Meets twice in a year, first; on the sideline of the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings and , second; in the region alongside the Asian Clearing Union Board Meeting held in a SAARC country. The Group Meeting is chaired by the governor of a SAARC member central bank that holds the chairmanship of the network. However, unlike SAARC, SAARCFINANCE has no permanent secretariat, but it rotates among the SAARC member central banks every year on alphabetical order.

The decision to rotate the secretariat and hence the chairmanship to a member central banks as per alphabetic order, was made during the 27th SAARCFINANCE Group Meeting held in Washington D.C., USA on 9th October 2013. Prior to that, the rotation of the secretariat or shifting of the chairmanship of SAARCFINANCE was tied to the shifting of the SAARC Chair to a member country. The decision regarding shifting of SAARCFINANCE Chair is made during a SAARCFINANCE Group Meeting held on the sideline of the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings every year. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has chaired the SAARCFINANCE twice since its inception. First, during May 2004 to September, 2005 and then during October, 2014 to September, 2015.

Member Central Banks are also represented by their respective SAARCFINANCE Coordinators, who are responsible for dealing the day-to-day matters of the forum. The Coordinators also meet twice in a year, mainly to form the agenda for the upcoming Group Meeting. In State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department performs as the SAARCFINANCE Cell with Director Research Department as the SAARCFINACE Coordinators.

The 25th SAARCFINANCE Group Meeting held at Tokyo, Japan on 14th October, 2012 agreed to appoint an Alternate SAARCFINANCE Coordinator from each member Central Bank. Similarly, the 26th Group Meeting held at Islamabad on 18th June 2013 decided to appoint one SAARCFINANCE focal point from each Ministry of Finance of the member countries.

Following its objective, the forum performs various functions in addition to holding the SAARCFINANCE Group Meetings and Coordinators Meetings. Some of the important activities include the following:

As already mentioned the primary objective of the forum is conducting a dialogue on various macroeconomic issues in the region and learning from each other experiences and ideas. To this end, the SAARCFINANCE serves as an important platform to bring together staff of the member central banks and experts through seminars, workshops, governor symposiums, joint research and staff visits.

Studies, Seminars and Governors’ Symposiums are the critical activities the member central banks organize in pursuit of the objectives of SAARCFINANCE. Making commitments for hosting an event – seminar, workshop, symposium - by the members is a permanent agenda item on the agenda of every Group Meeting. Thus, different central banks announce hosting or organizing event on a certain topical issues in the region.

The State Bank of Pakistan has conducted several seminars besides undertaking a study on “Financial Sector Assessment” in 2002 and a survey based study on “Monetary Policy Framework for SAARC Region. Further, SBP has recently completed a study in collaboration with Reserve Bank of India on “Managing Capital and Remittance Flows in SAARC Region for Safeguarding Financial Stability”. To facilitate the collaborative researchers from SAARC Central Banks, SBP also organized the 1st meeting of collaborative researchers for the study at NIBAF, Islamabad during August 17-18, 2015.

The following table provides details of the activities, including Seminars and Governors Symposium organized by State Bank of Pakistan, under the aegis of SAARCFINANCE.



S. No.

 Financial Sector Assessment
October 24-25, 2002
 National Institute of Banking and  Finance (NIBAF), Islamabad,  Pakistan
 Conduct of Monetary Policy and the Management of Capital Flows
August 29-31, 2005
 SME (Small & Medium Enterprise)
November 20-22, 2006
 Basel II Implementation in South Asia
June 26-28, 2008
 Global Financial Crisis – Implications and
 Policy  responses of SARC Countries
June 10-12,2010
 Basel II Enhancements and Policy Response in SAARC Countries
April, 11-13, 2011
 Monetary Policy Framework in the SAARC Region
June 14-16, 2012
  Impact of EU Debt Crisis on south Asian Economies
June 18, 2013
Serena Hotel, Islamabad
1st Informal Discussion Forum
  Senior Central Banker’s from SAARC Member Countries
June 19, 2013
  Risk Management Framework in Banks
March 17-19, 2014
NIBAF, Islamabad
 Consumer Protection in Banks: The SAARC Perspective
January 19-21, 2015
NIBAF, Islamabad
 Internal Audit in Central Banks: Methodologies & Practices
November 16-18, 2015
NIBAF, Islamabad
 Payment Systems and Correspondent Banking in the SAARC Region
May 16-18, 2016
NIBAF, Islamabad
 Financial Stability
Mar 27-29, 2017
NIBAF, Islamabad

Sharing of information among the SAARCFINANCE institutions - one of the major objectives of the Network – is a regular feature of the mutual cooperation. In this regard, a large number of publications and other documents on various policy issues were exchanged among the member institutions.

Staff Exchange Program is an important segment of the overall activities of the forum functions of SAARCFINANCE relates with its. The Staff Exchanges covered a broad range of issues. Under this program, SAARC officials visit various institutions in the member countries with the objective of capacity building and experiences sharing. As regards Pakistan, it has facilitated the staff of the member central banks and its staff has also visited member banks under the staff Exchange Program.


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