Hannig: About My Reflections

AFI computers new website
Computers display the new website of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.

About My Reflections

By Alfred Hannig

When the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) began with a strong vision and a small but enthusiastic group of members, we knew that bringing financial services to the world’s unbanked would be an invaluable tool in the quest to reduce poverty—and we had real examples of great success. What we needed was to effectively communicate our ideas, to other potential members and to the international community. Today, over eight years later, the AFI network and its members are respected contributors in the international development community, and financial inclusion is recognized as a fundamental pillar for the reduction of poverty. 

Our network has grown to cover more regions and more subject areas, and at the same time we have built partnerships beyond the network, with private sector leaders, research institutions and international organizations. The reach and complexity of our work has never been greater, and so, as we look toward 2017 and beyond, the need to communicate the goals and the impact of our work has never been stronger.

Through these Reflections—a personal blog—I will share with you periodically my thoughts on AFI’s internal development, how our network continues to change the financial inclusion landscape, and highlight some of the impacts we are making on national levels in changing lives for the better. I will also examine some of upcoming financial inclusion trends, which could impact the direction of the AFI network.

I look forward to engaging and sharing these ideas with our members and partners through our events and activities. And I look forward to feedback from our members on this blog in the AFI Member Zone.

A New Look for AFI on the Web

2016 is the year of AFI’s independence. On 27 January this year AFI was registered as an International Organization under Malaysian Law, hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in Sasana Kijang, Kuala Lumpur. We felt that this major step in the transition from a project to a member-owned organization would also be the best point in time to renew AFI’s public appearance through the website. Therefore, it will not come as a surprise that I am dedicating my first Reflections post to the introduction of the new web site.

I am sure that many of you had a preview in the past weeks when the new site went online and I know you will be eager to explore it further at the 2016 Global Policy Forum (GPF) in Fiji. But let me first provide you with a short tour of some of the most important changes and why those changes have been made.

We wanted the website to be as flexible and as forward looking as the members of our network. More and more viewers are using mobile devices to access the web and so our new site resizes to fit the device you are using automatically and seamlessly, while still looking impressive on the largest screens. It will now be easier to access and to read no matter where you are or whatever device you have in front of you.

I invite you to visit our beautifully redesigned Members page and world map.  This more user-friendly design gives you a snapshot of AFI’s global reach with details of our membership by country.

AFI’s publication library has expanded dramatically over the last years. We have taken this opportunity reorganize while making searching easier. A single search box will bring you all material related to whatever term you are seeking. In addition, each publication now has its own preview text with a simple download link. Over the next 12 months we be converting key publications into full online formats, allowing users to read and share the content of publications without having to download large pdf files.  

We have seen how much the use of social media has grown by our members and partners. This is increasingly the gateway to information on the web and the first stop for finding and sharing information. The new site incorporates social media sharing links in every story and every blog to make it easier for you to let others know about AFI content. Of course we have not forgotten about the MZ as a means to share. Along with the most common social media links we will also have a MZ sharing icon.

A dedicated section on the front page now highlights keynote speeches from across the membership and ensures that the AFI website remains an amplifier for your voice. We encourage members to take advantage of this section by continuing to share and provide AFI with high level speeches on your work in financial inclusion.

Finally, AFI’s blog posts have been some of the most popular content over the last year. In recognition of this interest we have merged the blog into the main AFI website and given it more prominence. The blog contains fascinating insights on financial inclusion topics from our members, our partners and AFI staff. As with our stories and other information we have incorporated social media links and member links to encourage further discussion. 

These are just a few of the many changes to our site and we encourage you to visit and explore all that the AFI site has to offer. Our thanks for all the input that we have had from you both directly and through the member surveys that AFI regularly conducts. We welcome your feedback on the new site, and rest assured that AFI’s home on the web will continue to progress and evolve as a leading platform for promoting the benefits of smart financial inclusion policy.

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