Launched at the 12th AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF) in Jordan, in September 2022, SARFII aims to build on the important strides made by South Asian member institutions over the past decade by acting as a catalyst to accelerate financial inclusion with an objective to improve lives and make financial security and inclusion a reality for across South Asia.
*AFI South Asian member countries are culturally and economically diverse but share common concerns about financial inclusion in terms of access, usage and quality. South Asian members have taken the mandate of financial inclusion very seriously over the last decade, implementing various policies to continue providing access to the unbanked and the underbanked. According to the global Findex data, financial inclusion levels for adults have increased from 23% (2011) to 40% (2021). Despite the pandemic’s devastation, regulators have embraced digital transformation and digital financial inclusion as a critical solution to fostering a resilient, inclusive and a sustainable recovery.
However, there are still significant opportunities to address the current challenges faced by AFI members in the region. There are still over 160 million adults who lack access to formal financial institutions. The gender gap in access to finance continues to remain higher in South Asia and the region gets disproportionately impacted because of the adverse effects of climate change.
Member regulators from South Asia continue to develop policies across broad range of financial inclusion thematic areas including Digital Financial Services (DFS), MSME finance, Inclusive Green Finance, Gender Inclusive Finance, Consumer protection and Financial education & literacy and have also been championing in many of these policy areas in the network. SARFII will facilitate peer learning and development of practical policies amongst member institutions within the region through deeper regional collaboration.
*AFI South Asian member countries comprise of Central bank and policy makers from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Maldives Monetary Authority
Nepal Rastra Bank
Digital Financial Services
Consumer empowerment and market conduct
Inclusive Green Finance
Financial Inclusion Data
Cross cutting theme: Addressing inclusion of vulnerable population: women, youth, elderly and remote, rural population
The South Asia Regional Initiative Structure could comprise of the following:-
AFI MANAGEMENT UNIT’s role will be to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the regional initiative, as well as to bring global and regional experiences from the AFI network to the region with an aim to advance the goals and objectives set by the leaders on financial inclusion policies in the region.