Photo: An Afghan refugee sitting by his bike on the street near Kerman Grand Bazaar, Afghanistan.
2019-06-20

AFI rolls out project to advance inclusion of forcibly displaced

AFI is rolling out a project to promote policies that enable more forcibly displaced persons (FDPs) to access formal financial services, driving in-country implementation efforts that the network has been developing since its FDP workstream began in 2017.

The two-year project, “Advancing the Financial Inclusion of FDPs: Putting Policy Recommendations to Practice”, is being carried out in collaboration with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

National Bank of Rwanda, Da Afghanistan Bank and Central Bank of Mauritania will pilot the project within their jurisdictions. Using identified regulatory barriers, the central banks will take policy actions to enhance financial inclusion of FDPs by integrating them into National Financial Inclusion Strategies, amending know your customer (KYC) regulations to ease account opening for FDPs and conducting multi-stakeholder workshops to raise awareness of relevant policies and regulations.

Afghanistan has one of the largest displaced populations worldwide at 5.1 million. This figure is much smaller for Rwanda at just over 260,000, although the East African country also hosts more than 150,000 FDPs. Mauritania hosts more than 84,000 FDPs.

Due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations, FDP numbers have swelled in recent years. UNHCR puts the global figure at 70.8 million for 2018, up from 68.5 million a year ago and the highest level for 70 years.

In line with AFI’s efforts to increase access to quality financial services for all, the network is committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s pledge that “no one will be left behind” by ensuring FDPs are included in formal financial systems.

Policy recommendations from AFI’s special report on the Financial Inclusion of FDPs: Perspectives of Financial Regulators, the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) Policy Paper on the Financial Inclusion of FDPs and the Roadmap on Sustainable and Responsible Financial Inclusion, of which the last two saw contributions from AFI, will provide the basis of the in-country implementation efforts. Additional input will come from the commitments outlined in the AFI Sochi Accord on FinTech for Financial Inclusion.

Other initiatives undertaken by AFI to address the issue include co-hosting a High-Level Forum on the Financial Inclusion of FDPs in collaboration with the GPFI under the German 2017 G20 Presidency, and organizing sessions at AFI Global Policy Forums since 2017.

AFI members have shown leadership in leveraging financial inclusion as a practical, long-term solution to what is traditionally viewed as a humanitarian challenge by transforming policies to ensure that FDPs are no longer financially excluded.

Steps taken include enabling digital cash transfer programs in refugee camps, lowering KYC requirements and developing tailored products. These actions enable FDPs have access to keep their funds safe, make savings, receive and make payments, conduct everyday transactions, secure employment and insure themselves against risks.

AFI members comprise the largest year-on-year funding contribution to the programs and activities in the network. AFI’s Financial Inclusion of Forcibly Displaced Persons program is financed by BMZ.

For additional information on AFI’s FDP work, click here.