2019-02-25

Sida and AFI advance women’s financial inclusion worldwide

The Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) is supporting the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) in advancing women’s financial inclusion, and improving the livelihoods of millions of women and girls in developing and emerging countries worldwide. Over the next four years, with the support of Sida, AFI members will be working to halve the gender gap in their respective jurisdictions. The current financial inclusion gender gap in developing countries remains at nine percent since 2011, according to the latest World Bank Findex Report.

Women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion are key to reducing poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “When gender inequalities are reduced, poverty is reduced for all,” said Sida’s Director General Carin Jämtin. 

“Gender equality is a priority in Swedish development cooperation, permeating all Sida’s interventions,” said Carin Jämtin.

Sida’s support to AFI is advancing women’s financial inclusion and contributing to overall gender equality and women’s empowerment through a true bottom-up and demand-driven development model, proven to deliver high policy outcomes.

“Bridging the gap in women’s financial inclusion is aligned with Sida’s principle that it is the responsibility of each recipient country to adopt its own strategy for economic development and combating poverty,” she explained.

The AFI Denarau Action Plan (DAP), adopted by AFI membership in 2016, aims to halve the financial inclusion gender gap across AFI member jurisdictions by 2021. The DAP also serves as an overarching framework for cooperation between Sida and AFI.

“A growing number of AFI members have articulate national financial inclusion policy commitments prioritizing women’s financial inclusion.  The partnership with Sida is allowing AFI to deliver comprehensive in-country policy implementation support services to our members that improve access, usage and quality of financial services for millions of women and girls,” explained AFI Executive Director, Dr. Alfred Hannig.

Gender equality is achieved when women and men, girls and boys, have equal rights, conditions, opportunities and power to shape their own lives and affect society. In Sweden, gender equality within development cooperation is a part of Sweden's Policy for Global Development — a thematic priority since 2007.

AFI members in 32 countries have already articulated national policy commitments on gender and women’s financial inclusion under the Maya Declaration. So far, 10 countries have implemented policy and regulatory improvements.

Maya Declaration represents the world’s first commitment platform that enables AFI member institutions to make concrete financial inclusion targets, implement in-country policy changes, and regularly share progress updates. A public commitment to the Maya Declaration is a means to champion financial inclusion, contributing to the range of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but specifically focusing on Goal 1 — No Poverty.

Sida’s support is further aligning AFI’s work with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 5. The partnership is strengthening four key strategies for the Alliance. AFI can proceed with improving its work on the empirical evidence on women’s financial inclusion and disseminate it across its membership of over 100 institutions and wide partnership network. The network is also helping policymakers in developing countries to design and apply policies that enhance women’s financial inclusion through peer learning, technical training, and other well-tested AFI services. AFI is promoting female leadership in AFI member institutions as greater gender diversity is an important driver in achieving women’s financial inclusion. Finally, the global policy leadership alliance is strengthening its advocacy for women’s financial inclusion at the global level.