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CARTAC launches 'financially fit' campaign

Published:Sunday | January 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) has launched a financial literacy website intended to develop a more financially literate populace across the region.

The new website, www.fianncialliteracycaribbean.com, aims to simplify high finance and complex macroeconomic terms and discussions for the consumption of the general public.

CARTAC also launched a public education programme, 'Financially Fit', at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Friday.

Minister of Finance and Planning Audley Shaw said that such initiatives were needed to help Jamaicans understand the crisis facing the recession-hit economy and what it takes to recover.

"There is a profound ignorance of basic economic facts among our citizens," he said.

"With a wide range of products and financial institutions to choose from, CARTAC must be commended for its timeliness. It is timely as we are seeking a fresh start to governance and economic reconstruction."

Barbados-based CARTAC provides technical assistance and training in core areas of economic and financial management at the request of participating countries.

The new website includes easy-to-read overviews of good financial practices, such as monitoring personal spending, establishing emergency funds, and how to shop around for financial services.

The site features financial-fitness quizzes and highlights issues, including Ponzi schemes and how to avoid them. It provides links to other sites for more information and a blog with individuals speaking about how they are taking control of their finances.

Regulatory protection

Rohan Barnett, executive director of the Financial Services Commission, said at the website launch that the financial literacy programme was an additional approach to regulatory protection.

"A financially literate society can contribute to the overall well-being of individuals and the overall economy," he said.

Brian Wynter, governor of the Bank of Jamaica, added that while the "human capacity for greed and folly" might always be with us, "we can improve the capacity of people to know what they are doing. We can empower savers and investors by giving them knowledge".

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com