AFI welcomed its first Gender Inclusion Ambassadors at the 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF), recognizing the members who are fulfilling their Denarau Action Plan commitments and striving to support greater diversity within their institutions and close the financial inclusion gender gap.
During a high-level ceremony on September 13, senior representatives from 11 AFI member institutions took to the main stage at the Kigali Convention Center to receive their certificates. All met at least four of the seven criteria stipulated to become an ambassador including having a gender-specific Maya Declaration commitment; a national financial inclusion strategy with a gender component; collected sex-disaggregated data; and a female governor or deputy governor.
Among the recipients was Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, who in her capacity as head of AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance Committee also delivered a speech to her fellow gender ambassadors that underscored the importance of recognizing past achievements as a means of encouraging future gender inclusive actions.
“This certification is just the beginning,” she said. “It is not an end in itself but rather a commitment to ensure that the achievements so far are sustained and built upon.”
It is important, she said, to encourage others to advocate gender inclusive finance at the national and global levels — including through policy change and in-country implementation — but added that such measures must include both men and women.
“We acknowledge that global power still resides in men, therefore, men have a very great role to play if we are going to move the needle,” Dr. Tukiya said.
In his introductory remarks, AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig congratulated the new gender ambassadors and hailed them for “leading the activities in closing the gender gap and supporting women’s leadership within their own institutions.”
In their new roles, the gender ambassadors will, among other things, prioritize the gender financial inclusion agenda, take steps to support gender equality and diversity, act as a national, regional and global ambassador for AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance workstream, support the delivery of the Denarau Action Plan and provide thought gender leadership through blogs and videos.
Demonstrating the increasing importance of gender inclusivity to AFI member institutions, earlier in the day more than half of the AFI members who announced new Maya Declaration commitments also included specific targets for women and gender. Among them were pledges to conduct a gender financial inclusion roadmap (Ministry of Finance Eswatini & Central Bank of Eswatini), commit to increasing the number of bank accounts for women through agent banking (Bangladesh Bank), collect sex-disaggregated data (Banque de la Republique d’Haiti) and incorporate women into a national financial literacy strategy (Reserve Bank of Malawi).
AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance workstream is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and other partners.
After handing out the ambassador certificates, a plenary session was held that saw panelists discuss concrete actions to advance gender inclusion in their respective jurisdictions.
Below is a list of the Gender Inclusion Ambassadors:
Bank of Tanzania
Bank of Zambia
Bank of Ghana
Banque de la République d’Haiti
Central Bank of Egypt
Central Bank of Lesotho
Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV)
National bank of Cambodia
National Bank of Rwanda
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe