Swaziland NFIS to reduce financially excluded to 15 percent by 2022 with support of the Centre for Financial Inclusion
An active member country of the AFI network, Swaziland launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) today. In addition, His Majesty’s Government of Swaziland has transformed the Micro Finance Unit (MFU) under the Ministry of Finance to become the Centre for Financial Inclusion (CFI) for the country.
“We are grateful to AFI for their support towards the country fusing existing evidence to come up with a relevant national strategy with international performance indicators,” said Prime Minister Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini when launching the NFIS on 18 January, 2018.
A key commitment under the Maya Declaration, the vision of Swaziland’s NFIS, is to improve the quality of financial inclusion through the use of mobile money and remittance, extended bank reach, availability of risk management products and access to alternative channels for serving the poor — specifically focused on:
- growing the percentage of adults with access to two or more formal financial products from 43 percent in 2015 to 75 percent in 2022
- reducing the financially excluded from 27 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2022
The Central Bank of Swaziland (CBS) and the Ministry of Finance of Swaziland — both member institutions of the AFI network — draw lessons learned in financial inclusion strategies through AFI’s capacity building programs and learning exchange visits that focus on areas such as SME finance, digital financial services, consumer protection and market conduct, and mobile and agent banking services. In addition, AFI has provided support in a peer-to-peer learning review of the country’s local NFIS, undertaken in 2016.
"Overall, during the past 11 years of our work, 260 financial inclusion policy improvements have been implemented by member institutions with support that they have credited to their engagement in AFI. Over 300 million poor people around the world are estimated to have benefited from these policies," mentioned Mr. Norbert Mumba, AFI Deputy Executive Director during his keynote address.
“The [NFIS] also signifies the steps the country is making towards the fulfilment of targets under the Maya Declaration as well as the achievement of SDG number nine of building a resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation,” said Mr. Wellington Motsa, the representative of the Governor Majozi Sithole of CBS.
To ensure the effective implementation of the NFIS and monitor the impact of financial inclusion on poverty alleviation, the new CFI will co-ordinate with all the key actors within the financial inclusion space to enhance reach to financial services for the key segments of the Swazi population. This will entail support for the development of an enabling environment for the financial sector, the balance between the financial inclusion & stability, utilization of the financial inclusion products and the monitoring of the impact to poverty alleviation. A National Financial Inclusion Council comprising the key actors within the space, will be established to provide policy guidance and monitor the impact of the implementation of the NFIS.
Moving forward with AFI’s support, Swaziland will fulfill its remaining targets under the Maya Declaration including establishing the National Financial Literacy Framework by 2018, and ensuring balance between equitable economic growth and financial stability.