Leaders from AFI’s working groups took part in the Alliance’s first-ever global web-based video conferencing event on 10 March, after the AFI Management Unit cancelled a series of upcoming events due to the spread of COVID-19.
AFI Deputy Executive Director Norbert Mumba opened the AFI Working Group Leaders 2020 Virtual Meeting by emphasizing the importance of harnessing new technologies to continue working group operations and deliverables amid efforts to enhance remote working.
“The AFI team has developed alternative modalities with action plans that we will be leveraging on, such as telecommunications technology, to ensure we are still able to attain our objectives in the most timely and efficient manner,” he said.
He added that while the health and safety of AFI members and staff was paramount, web-based activities would help ensure that working groups continue meeting their targets.
“Virtual working group meetings will be critical to ensure the continuation of our policy work. This will be the way forward to ensure that our deliverables are completed on time,” he said.
During the video conference, AFI Head of Policy Program and Regional Initiative Eliki Boletawa shared the contingency plans developed to drive forward the deliverables of the working groups and explained that the Alliance would optimize the use of webinars, e-newsletters, emails, surveys and other communication materials over the coming months to keep members updated on any latest developments.
In terms of next steps, he added that separate video conferencing events between AFI and the leaders of each working group and sub-group would be held within the week and provide a platform to follow-up on progress and address any member needs. In addition, bi-annual working group meetings typically held in physical locations would be replaced with virtual meetings that will be open to all members from each respective working group.
As the first official working group leaders meet of the year, the event also provided an opportunity for AFI’s monitoring and evaluation team to showcase the feedback received through its annual member surveys.
Working group leaders logged into the video conference from across the network and time zones, spanning from Latin America to the Pacific Island region.
AFI’s seven working groups are: Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct, Digital Financial Services, Financial Inclusion Data, Financial Inclusion Strategy, Global Standards Proportionality, Inclusive Green Finance, and Small and Medium Enterprise Finance. They play a vital role in the network by serving as a focal point for technical discussions on financial inclusion policy topics. Their work is linked to 537 financial inclusion policy changes among members.