Financial Inclusion Strategy
National Financial Inclusion Strategies are Now Seen as Essential by Many AFI Members
Growing evidence makes it abundantly clear that national financial inclusion strategies are now seen as essential by many AFI members in order to have a clear national vision, a widely accepted strategic framework and a robust organizational structure to facilitate the development and implementation of coordinated and sound policy reforms.
The Maya Declaration bolstered interest among AFI members in developing and implementing financial inclusion strategies with institutions from more than 20 countries making commitments to develop such strategies. The G20 and its Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) have further supported the development of financial inclusion strategies through the nine "G20 Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion" endorsed by G20 Leaders in 2010, and the establishment under the Mexican G20 Presidency in 2012 of the G20 Financial Inclusion Peer Learning Program with AFI as an Implementing Partner.
A national strategy with clear goals and targets can support coordination among public and private sector stakeholders and provide an organizing framework for financial inclusion policies and regulations to be implemented.
There is considerable variation in how countries have set about developing national strategies. However, generally, in the majority of cases there are at least four key stages:
- The diagnostic phase in which both supply-side and demand-side data are gathered and analyzed to obtain an accurate picture of the current status of financial inclusion;
- Strategy formulation in which common definition and vision may be reached through a process of consultation with both public and private sector stakeholders. The strategy usually would also include a time-bound action plan and targets;
- Strategy implementation; including the enactment of policy reforms identified in the strategy, the private sector response and usually the creation of a coordinating mechanism such as a National Taskforce or Council to oversee progress;
- Monitoring and evaluation; tracking of core indicators to determine if the strategy is on track, and the identification of any refinements or additional measures needed to achieve the strategy’s objectives.
AFI has provided grants to a number of its members for preparation of financial inclusion strategies or related activities such as demand-side surveys, diagnostic studies, knowledge exchanges, and national stakeholder workshops. Meanwhile, AFI’s Financial Inclusion Strategy (FIS) Peer Learning Group provides a platform for member countries to share experiences in the development and implementation of national strategies as well as to connect members to technical assistance providers, donors and the private sector.