2020-09-03

Celebrating 10 years of working groups

By Maya Taylor, Web Content Writer, AFI Communications 

Congratulations to AFI’s pioneering working groups on turning 10 this year!

Digital Financial Services Working Group (DFSWG), Financial Inclusion Data Working Group (FIDWG) and Global Standards Proportionality Working Group (GSPWG) have worked tirelessly over the past decade to establish themselves as gamechangers in the exploration and promotion of innovative and successful financial inclusion policy solutions.

Since their launch in 2010, all three have witnessed various transformations in focus, size – and even name –, reflecting a constantly evolving financial inclusion policy landscape and more than 260 policy changes worldwide. Today, their strength as AFI’s technical backbone leverages traditional policy fields to deep dive into emerging and developing trends that support the Alliance’s ever-expanding network of financial inclusion champions across the world.

To mark their tenth anniversary of outstanding achievements, including 54 knowledge products, AFI is kicking off a campaign that spotlights their impact on financial inclusion at large by those who know them best. Working group members – give yourselves a round of applause as we spend the coming weeks down memory lane, taking snapshots of your important work and how it has deepened our understanding of key financial inclusion issues!

Digital financial services (DFS) have been spring boarding financial inclusion in countries struggling to reach the last mile, cementing the working group’s foremost standing in creating enabling policy and regulatory environments for transformational DFS at the national level.

In the fast-paced digital world, DFSWG (formerly Mobile Financial Services Working Group) is a cutting-edge platform that captures, tracks and shares information on innovative digital financial services, products, business models and appropriate new policy responses. With its scope ranging from mobile financial services to branchless banking, electronic money and digital payment solutions, it comes as no surprise that the working group has hosted some of the network’s most in-demand events and member training, and developed some of its most sought after knowledge products. Its framework on financial technology for financial inclusion, jointly developed with GSPWG, for example, is AFI’s most-viewed publication with over 4,250 views and 93 shares.

The network’s largest working group was launched in Cape Town, South Africa and brings together 69 likeminded member institutions from 64 countries to address regulatory issues, develop policy guidelines, conduct peer reviews and actively engage with stakeholders from across the DFS ecosystem. Currently co-chaired by Central Bank of Russia and Central Bank of Egypt, it has five subgroups and brought about 143 policy changes and 21 knowledge products.

Read more about DFSWG.

Recognizing the importance of evidence-based policymaking and the critical role data plays in the policymaking process, FIDWG was established in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to explore financial inclusion data and share expertise aimed at building the network’s knowledge and capacity on data methodologies and approaches. The working group is central to the creation and implementation of a common framework to measure financial inclusion at the international level.

FIDWG has come a long way since its first publication in February 2010 – a policy paper on financial inclusion measurements for regulators –, becoming one of AFI’s most prolific working groups with a catalogue of 21 knowledge products so far. Most notably is its groundbreaking core set policy model, which help policymakers measure financial inclusion while also advancing and promoting data collection.

With four subgroups and 59 member institutions from 57 countries, the working group is chaired by Central Bank of Egypt, and co-chairs Bank of Uganda and Reserve Bank of Fiji. Its ability to stay relevant in echoed in the growing number of new financial inclusion data targets announced by members as part of their Maya Commitments, with 111 as of 2019.

Read more about FIDWG

 

Launched in Bali, Indonesia, GSPWG (formerly Financial Integrity Working Group) and its members tackle challenges policymakers and regulators face to ensure that financial inclusion is pursued in tandem with safe and sound financial systems. With growing numbers of countries developing national financial inclusion strategies, the working group has become pivotal as regulators seek guidance on the proportionate implementation of global standards set by global standard-setting bodies.

Chaired by Reserve Bank of Fiji, and co-chaired by Da Afghanistan Bank and Central Bank of Egypt, GSPWG has been instrumental in developing technical content and advancing thought leadership on practical solutions to challenges posed by de-risking and proportionate regulatory frameworks.

Through its four subgroups, members use this key platform to share expertise on Basel standards, deposit insurance, non-banking financial institutions and regulatory technology, the latter being a joint effort with several other working groups.

Comprised of 51 AFI member institutions in 50 countries, GSPWG’s actions have led to 42 policy changes and the publication of 12 knowledge products, most recently an inclusive financial integrity toolkit that supports policymakers implement financial inclusion while complying with anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism standards for sustainable development.

Read more about GSPWG.