Delegates from Central Bank of Nigeria attend the Decision Tree for Digital Financial Inclusion Workshop in Mexico City, October 2019.

Members attend CGD-AFI workshop on DFS decision tree in Mexico

Eighteen participants from eight AFI member institutions came together last week in Mexico City for a policy workshop on digital financial inclusion, the first of its kind to be co-organized by the global network and the Center for Global Development (CGD).

The “Decision Tree for Digital Financial Inclusion” workshop reflects AFI’s increasing engagements with leading research organizations to measure the impact of financial inclusion policies and identify challenges to successful implementation.

CGD and Bank for International Settlements developed a decision tree tool that provides policymakers with a systematic way to identify bottlenecks in implementing national financial inclusion strategies (NFIS), as well as guide policy focus and resources.

The tool aims to discover which factors will likely lead to significant increases in access to digital financial services, and set priorities between their policy, regulatory and infrastructure interventions. Furthermore, it will help financial inclusion policymakers assess whether an intervention that was successfully implementing in one country can be replicated elsewhere.

More than 50 countries in the AFI network are currently implementing NFIS, many of which joined the event to provide input, refine and further develop the tool by testing its application in their respective country contexts.

Among them was Bank of Ghana, which used the tool to examine supply-side constraints arising from limited digital infrastructure. Meanwhile, Central Bank of Egypt focused on demand-side barriers, particularly low financial and digital literacy levels as well as entrenched cultural preferences for cash payments.

Other AFI member institutions that attended the workshop included Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Central Bank of Jordan, Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV) Mexico, Central Bank of Nigeria, State Bank of Pakistan and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Policymakers from AFI’s network welcomed the tool.

“The digital financial inclusion decision tree is a powerful tool for analyzing the constraints ... within the AFI network each member needs to understand the binding constraints in their own country,” said Settor Amediku, Bank of Ghana’s head of payment systems.

The tool will be further tested through applied in-depth case studies before being finalized in early 2020.