From 30 October to 2 November, AFI network members from 18 countries gathered in Kampala to explore how to advance the financial inclusion of forcibly displaced persons (FDPs), during a training session co-hosted with Bank of Uganda.
“FDPs face numerous challenges, including homelessness, food insecurity, loss of property and livelihoods, and access to health care,“ explained Ivan James Ssettimba, Head of AFI’s Africa Regional Office. “Access to financial services creates conditions for FDPs to establish coping mechanisms, build resilience, apply their skills, and earn a livelihood.”
Uganda currently hosts over 1.5 million FDPs, primarily from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi. Bank of Uganda has made their financial inclusion a policy priority.
“We’ve been able to share what Uganda is doing regarding financial inclusion for FDPs, as well as to build the capacity of our local partners on how to include refugees financially,” said Alex Ochan, Head of the Financial inclusion Division at Bank of Uganda. “The discussions have also been highly relevant for partners and stakeholders from other countries.”
The training session builds on AFI’s recently published Policy Framework for the Financial Inclusion of FDPs. “Financial policy makers and regulators have a key role to play in advancing the financial inclusion of FDPs,” said AFI Policy Specialist, Mariam Zahari. “This could be through collecting sex and age designated data, integrating FDPs into their national strategies, policies and initiatives, or facilitating multi-stakeholder coordination.”
The training featured expert insight from AFI members Bank of Zambia, National Bank of Rwanda, SEPS Ecuador and Central Bank of Mauritania. Attendees also visited four refugee micro-enterprises, to learn about their challenges in accessing financial services and growing their businesses.