Eswatini’s NFIS review gets a gender lens

With a special focus on gender inclusive finance and in collaboration with the Central Bank of Eswatini, the Ministry of Finance and the Center for Financial Inclusion, AFI conducted a mid-term review of the Kingdom of Eswatini’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS),  from March 4-6, 2020, in Mbabane, Eswatini.

The review process included an assessment of progress made in achieving a set of performance indicators and targets, identification of potential risks that may impede successful implementation of the NFIS, and ensuring that the objectives of the NFIS are met at the end of the full implementation period, which is in December 2022 (as per a revised action plan). The review and corresponding consultation sessions were also aimed at supporting Eswatini to develop actionable policy interventions to reduce their financial inclusion gender gap, in line with the network’s commitment to the Denarau Action Plan and their own Maya Declaration Platform commitment to improve access to finance for the women entrepreneurs.

Three gender-focused sessions were conducted during the consultation, which comprised of one technical knowledge session and two sessions on applying gender framing to ongoing discussions, action plans and future considerations. These allowed the participants to view the main actions of their work through a specific gender lens and supported them in developing a more holistic perspective to the review and future action planning.

Moving forward, participants at the consultation are developing a gender-sensitive draft report detailing the progress of the NFIS Action Plan and Monitoring and Evaluation framework, to be produced in collaboration with the Center for Financial Inclusion.

As a recipient of AFI’s In-Country Implementation Gender Grant, Eswatini is developing a diagnostic study on gender inclusive finance and the implementation of a roadmap to improve the quality of financial inclusion for women. The mission also took the opportunity to provide technical guidance and support for Eswatini’s mid-grant report.

The Gender Inclusive Finance workstream is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and other partners.