|Wang Jun (1st R, Front), China's vice finance minister, addresses a news conference of the 19th APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting in Moscow, capital of Russia, on Aug. 30, 2012. (Xinhua/Zhao Danwen)
MOSCOW, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The finance ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members have agreed to promote financial literacy education in the region.
In a policy statement issued Thursday by the ministers after their gathering here, the top officials decided to promote this educational program with the help of a Russian trust fund.
With the ongoing development of social, economic and financial system and the growing complexity of financial products, financial literacy has become a essential life skill for every economy to build up sound, efficient and transparent financial mechanism, said the ministers.
Previous surveys conducted worldwide and in APEC economies showed that large amount of the population have insufficient knowledge to understand basic financial products, underestimate their risks and often fail to make optimal decisions on managing their finances.
Financial education by 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 in the wake of financial challenges, said the agreements.
"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 works with international institutions to promote programs of financial inclusion and consumer rights protections.