South Asia Region
Financial Inclusion
Initiative (SARFII)

South Asia Region
Financial Inclusion
Initiative (SARFII)


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.


Why join AFI’s South Asia Region Financial Inclusion Initiative (SARFII)?

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.

Member Institutions
Member Countries
Maya Declaration Commitments
Knowledge Products



Maldives Monetary Authority


Nepal Rastra Bank

Digital Financial Services

  • Digital lending
  • Payments

Consumer empowerment and market conduct

  • Digital consumer protection
  • Financial education and literacy (including Digital Financial Literacy)


  • Digital consumer protection
  • Financial education and literacy (including Digital Financial Literacy)

Inclusive Green Finance

  • Green Finance taxonomy with IGF components
  • Sustainable finance solutions

Financial Inclusion Data

  • Review of the MSME definition in South Asia
  • Monitoring and Evaluation framework
  • Sex Disaggregated Data

Cross cutting theme: Addressing inclusion of vulnerable population: women, youth, elderly and remote, rural population


  • Implement and facilitate high-level discussions among Leaders to provide strategic guidance to address the financial inclusion challenges of the South Asia region
  • Foster opportunities to systematically build and exchange knowledge through practical peer learning, peer reviews of policies and knowledge products within the region
  • Reinforce the capacity building efforts of financial regulators through tailored programs within the region to ensure that they keep up with the rapidly changing financial inclusion landscape and mitigate underlying risks
  • Facilitate Cross regional cooperation and experience sharing with other regional initiatives and global working groups to effectively exchange regional and global best practices
  • Allow for systematic and focused dialogue with the private sector, developed country peers, development partners and other international stakeholders to enhance the mutual understanding and experience sharing on topics of convergence
  • Enhance and Facilitate In-Country Implementation technical support for financial inclusion policies in the region
  • Elevate the voice of the South Asia region on key financial inclusion policy issues


The South Asia Regional Initiative Structure could comprise of the following:-

  • Leaders’ Roundtable – Will aim to provide strategic guidance to the Expert Group on Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP) and approve the workplan to be implemented in the region to advance financial inclusion
  • Chair of Regional Initiative – The Leaders shall elect a Chair and a Vice-Chair on a rotational basis to serve for a fixed term amongst the principal members of the South Asia region. The role of the chair will be to facilitate discussions and oversee the implementation of the workplan approved by the leaders
  • Expert Group on Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP) – The EGFIP shall be the technical implementing committee of South Asia Regional Policy Initiative and shall report to the South Asia Region Policy Initiative Leaders’ Roundtable.

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.


  • Bangladesh Bank
  • Central Bank of Sri Lanka
  • Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority Bangladesh
  • Maldives Monetary Authority
  • Microcredit Regulatory Authority of Bangladesh
  • Nepal Rastra Bank
  • Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan
  • State Bank of Pakistan


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