Dear Working Group Leaders,
it is once more my pleasure to welcome you to this virtual leadership meeting before we start with the different upcoming working group meetings for 2023. Permit me to begin by once again thanking each of you for your leadership and unwavering support of our technical working groups, a fundamental service in our network where guidance and the production of knowledge products on financial inclusion policies are essential to our network’s capacity to carry out more effective implementations.
The results of the most recent AFI Annual Policy and Regulatory Change Survey, which was conducted in January 2023 and to which you and the members of the working group kindly responded, are quite encouraging, as they indicate that an increasing number of member institutions are developing and implementing financial inclusion policies and regulations that incorporate multiple cross-cutting policy areas. Several responses highlight the use of AFI knowledge products in the development of their financial inclusion policies, such as the Policy Model of NFIS and the NFES Toolkit. Indeed, it is encouraging to observe how the working groups’ knowledge products are being applied. We would like to extend our gratitude to the members of the working group who submitted feedback through the questionnaires. The results will be shared in the following months.
Looking back 2022
The previous year was one of consolidation after the Covid-19 pandemic; not only did the seven working groups generated 21 new knowledge products, including new knowledge focusing on cross-cutting thematic areas, but there was also a new emphasis on the dissemination and adoption of these new knowledge products, as well as the implementation of policies related to these practical experiences. Various working group representatives enabled numerous peer-learning events and peer evaluations of crucial policies and regulations, highlighting the development of pertinent content and bolstering its dissemination and application.
The update of three of our flagship Network commitments, the Denarau Action Plan, the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Accord, and the Sochi Accord on Fintech, during the 2022 GPF in Jordan, highlights the importance of maintaining our policy focus on gender, inclusive green finance, financial innovation, and targeting vulnerable groups such as youth and internally displaced persons. Furthermore, growing efforts in financial consumer protection, financial literacy, and a strategic approach are necessary in the environment of economic insecurity and high financial volatility.
This year promises to be an interesting one, as we are almost out of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now confronted with new geopolitical and economic concerns that contribute to rising financial volatility and adverse economic pressures. As it did during the preceding global emergency, financial inclusion now keeps being a critical factor contributing to social and economic stability.
The AFI Working Groups are more crucial than ever to continue advancing knowledge and practical solutions to some of the difficulties we all face in the Network at the current moment.
The Management Unit will present an update on the achievements in terms of the different propositions shared to further enhance the Working Group strategy to increase accountability, responsiveness, engagement, as well as a strategic approach in the different cross-cutting thematic areas, based on the deliberations of the Working Group Leaders breakfast meeting last September.
In light of the need to increasingly focus in keeping the high quality of the content generation by the working groups under your stewardship, and the way to ensure this knowledge can be effectively used by the AFI Network, we would like to listen to your inputs on how the management should keep supporting you in the various actions suggested previously.
We urge your open feedback on how the Management Unit can better assist your work. We also welcome your suggestions on how we can better recognize the commitment and engagement of working group representatives and ensure that all working groups, cross-cutting areas, and regional initiatives stay focused on the most important global priorities for all our members avoiding working in silos or overlapping.
We all are looking forward to exchange today with you, thoughts and ideas, to ensure that the working groups continue to serve as the driving force behind AFI’s position as a Policy Leadership Alliance.